By Confidente Reporter
THE Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), held the San Friendly competition for children aged 6-14 years through the San Matter Project, with the financial support from the Finnish Embassy.
OYO a Namibian trust promotes cultural preservation, social rights awareness and self-worth among young people through the use of artistic expression such as writing, dance, theatre and music. The OYO San Matter Project has the primary purpose of using creative arts to engage with and empower San students.
The competition was launched at the beginning of this year and it took place in the Omaheke and Ohangwena regions respectively with the aim of highlighting the importance of education to San parents and children, and to encourage San children to continue attending school.
‘’If the educational outcomes for the San children are improved, it can lead significantly to the reduction of poverty and raise the quality of life within the San communities in Namibia,” said Dr. Talavera the Director of Ombetja Yehinga Organisation Trust.
According to the OSISA Group report on Rethinking Indigenous Education only 67 percent of San children in the country enroll in school with only one percent of those children completing secondary school. Many factors contribute to this, one of them being cultural discrimination. In some schools, San children face discrimination from fellow learners and at some point from the teachers this is why the San Matter projects aims to promote cultural tolerance in schools.
The San Friendly competition is intended at encouraging schools to promote tolerance for all cultures, including the San culture. The competition is designed with three components; the board competition, dance competition and the evaluation of the school environment. The board competition; each schools was given two boards, and they were requested to paint strong messages about friendship and respect of the San culture. Secondly the dance competition saw the teaching of San traditional dance to the non-San learners by the San learners. This encouraged non–San children to learn more about the San culture. The final component of the competition was an evaluation of the school environment by San children themselves whereby the San children were asked to evaluate their own school, and in particular assess if bullying and discrimination towards them really happens at their schools.
At the end of the competition, three schools rose to be victorious within the Omaheke and Ohangwena regions. In the Omaheke Region, Vergenog Primary School scooped first place and Helena Primary School, and Dr. Fisher Primary School took second and third place respectively. In the Ohangwena Region Wangushu Combined School won first place, the runner up was Malangu Primary School and Omukukutu Combined School won third place.
An official prize giving ceremony took place on Tuesday this week for Vergenog Primary School, and the official prize giving ceremony for Wangushu Combined School is on today. The winning schools will each get a computer and trophy and will be encouraged to share their experience with other schools. “Cultural diversity is a reality in our schools and learning to respect all cultures, including from minority groups, is of particular importance,” said Talavera.
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