The gift of being able to give back

Eileen van der Schyff

The Strand Hotel Swakopmund, owned by O&L Leisure started a new initiative whereby employees within different business units at the Hotel have a say on how social responsibility funds are spent. Themed: “Social Responsibility – Giving back to the Community”, each department can choose what they want to do in this regard. Ocean Cellar Restaurant chose to donate to Hanganeni Primary School.

After looking around for opportunities, we identified Hanganeni Primary School because of the challenges the school experiences. The fact that children are affected by these challenges made it even more of a viable option of how we wanted to approach this, restaurant manager at Ocean Cellar of Strand Hotel, Mervin Kamuesee, explained to Namib Times in an interview.
Hanganeni Primary School has an estimated 1 300 learners. A couple of children were identified who did not have a school uniform. There were children lacking school shoes, jerseys, stationary etc. Then Mr Kamuesee learnt that the school is also battling a shortage of classroom space. “They do not have enough classrooms for all the learners and therefor some children have afternoon classes”, explained Kamuesee.
This project first gained momentum in October of 2017 when Ocean Cellar started a soup kitchen for the children. They supplied cocktail bread rolls for the learners during break. Most learners were sent to school with empty stomachs.
Some students do not even have anything to eat at home. “Some parents can simply not afford to send their children to school with food, “Mr Kamuesee further explained.
Ocean Cellar Restaurant raised N$9 295 through fundraising and monthly contributions. The money was put to good use. “We used this money to buy a tent and have jerseys knitted for the learners.
The total donated items are as follows: soup kitchen with cocktail bread rolls every second month; 60 jerseys, 21 reams of copy paper, 15 pairs of school shoes, 20 school trousers and shirts, a tent to use as an extra class-room, 3 school bags filled with stationary for the three runners up of Hanganeni Primary School 2018.”
Kamuesee ended by saying: “We are now saying farewell to this school. We believe we completed our mission with this school for now and it is time to move on to the next school, doing what we love: giving back to the community to create happiness and enhancing quality of life.”

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