OFTEN times when we consider the biggest issues in Namibia like hunger, poverty and homelessness, there are perceptions that these issues are so big that it is perhaps impossible to make a noticeable difference on a singular level.
However, Roswitha Anmire Arie aged 27 is the perfect proof that one small act of kindness can do an incredible amount of good. Ironically, she considers herself an ordinary person.
Arie hails from Dordabis, a village some 80 kilometres east of the capital with approximately 1 500 inhabitants. The village is riddled with alcoholism, unemployment and violence and as a result, society’s most vulnerable, the children suffer and often go hungry. When the soft spoken mother of one noticed some hungry children after completing her matric in 2009, she set up a feeding programme with the financial help of her retired teacher parents. Because of her one small act of kindness to feed a few hungry children back then, she now feeds close to 300 orphans and vulnerable children who come from impoverished backgrounds from her backyard.
The nutritious meals are prepared by her and two volunteers and are served two days a week to children from the ages of 6 months to 16 years. Her community praises her deeds labelling them as noble because a majority of the beneficiaries are either homeless, isolated or value the friendship of others or need support through difficult circumstances they find themselves in.
In an interview with Confidente recently, Roswitha says that her only challenges are lack of funds and a shelter to be able to provide a permanent home to abused children.
Give us a snapshot of who you are?
Roswitha Anmire Arie is a farm girl born in Mariental but originated from Dordabis. I am the third born of the late honourable Frederick Arie and Christina Arie. I am an ambitious young entrepreneur aged 27. I am an honest and caring individual and a mother of one lovely prince.
Briefly tell us about your upbringing?
I was raised by two caring and humble individuals, who themselves came from a needy background. My parents who were teachers were so much involved in community services such as feeding the elderly using their salaries and this inspired me so much to do more for my community as well. I grew up in a house were my parents taught us that sharing is caring and although I lived amongst a lot of other children that were also staying with us, my parents showed us love and cared for each and every one of us. My parents’ soup kitchen taught me that there is more to life, more to share and to care for.
Tell us about the soup kitchen you run, when did it start and why?
My soup kitchen started back in 2009 when I completed my grade 12. The establishment of my soup kitchen was purely based on the fact that most school going children at our primary school come from impoverished backgrounds. Their parents cannot afford decent meals. Besides that, the only meal they might have is that from the school feeding scheme programme in the morning and then they have to wait the next day.
How many children benefit from the feeding programme?
A majority of the children in Dordabis benefit from this kitchen. I have registered orphans and vulnerable children and they amount to more or less 300 but there are always new faces on feeding days that we can’t send away so we register them. Most of the backgrounds of these children are unbearable, some are molested and some stay with their grandparents who are also old and need care.
What are challenges facing you in running the feeding project successfully?
Definitely lack of funds and less interest from the business community are the major challenges I face. However we get through with the help of my parents’ small contribution which realises my dream of helping the helpless. Another challenge is the lack of a shelter or centre where the children that are abused or molested can stay. I want to develop the initiative into a day care centre where I would assist the children to shape their lives in the area of education and social welfare. Most of the time learners that are part of my feeding programme perform poorly in their academics and their social well-being not because they are intellectually challenged but because of their backgrounds and other contributing factors such as lack of sleep, lack of parental involvement in their education, lack of proper place to rest etc.
If you could get assistance, what would you ask for?
If I could be assisted I would ask for a shelter to accommodate and feed the children as a long term plan. But for now I would need assistance in the feeding programme with whatever means to make this initiative a success because lives matter.
What positive changes have you seen in the lives of children that benefit from the feeding project?
The beneficiaries appreciate the care they get and this is evident in the way they open up about social problems they face in the community and in their households, which is easier for me to assist them. They start believing in themselves and are more aware that there is more to life than living in poverty.
What don’t people know about you?
Besides being brave and talkative, I am a soft and caring individual and I put the needs of others first rather than my own.
Just what do you do for a little fun?
I am an adventurous person and free spirited so I enjoy camping and spending quality time with my family. I am a talented netball player so one is sure to find me on the netball court; after all I have a winning attitude.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015