By McHenry Venaani
THE struggle for single mothers in Namibia is real. Judging from recent statistics published by the media, more and more fathers are absconding from their responsibilities to contribute to the upbringing of their children.
In the words of mother Theresa, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty.”
This trickles into the cycle of poverty, where children are left to the mercy of meagre grants or have to depend on the extended family to survive and ultimately thrive.
The Maintenance Act 9 of 2003, emphasizes that a child’s parents are jointly responsible for the child’s maintenance. Parents must support all of their children, regardless of the order of birth and regardless of whether a child was born inside or outside marriage.
To date, out of 31 104 active maintenance cases before 33 Namibian courts, 15 097 are default cases, with 8 290 default cases before the maintenance courts, and a total of 11 479 active cases are in Windhoek alone.
The Kavango region, A Poverty mapping report launched in 2015 by the National Planning Commission (NPC) showed that the Kavango Region which has since been divided into two regions, is the poorest region in the country with a poverty head-count of 53.2% which is 21% of the 568 418 estimated poor people.
Kavango is then followed by Ohangwena and Oshikoto regions, which have 15% and 14% (respectively) of their population classified as poor. The majority of Namibian people classified as poor are drawn from dysfunctional families.
These parents have double the share of difficulties in raising families, yet their issues have been placed on the sidelines of public discourse, as they lack the general privilege of having households headed by both a father and a mother.
Single mothers are, in fact, not just those who are not married but have children. They take on different faces. But their struggles, for sure, are of the same kind.
The South African Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) called for support in the proposal to amend Republic Act (RA) 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, which grants discounts and benefits to solo parents and their children.
The role of single parent is a challenging one especially when the family is headed by a woman. The problem of single mothers are closely woven together with the upbringing of their children and subsequently their future in life.
Until the time these children grow up and get married and or get jobs they are solely dependent on the single parent, which in many cases has proved to be difficult but in some lucky cases after that the problems are considerably reduced.
Studies on the challenges faced by single mothers such as social, emotional and economic, where a sample of 50 single mothers were selected by a snowball sampling technique, reveal that they were mainly financial for the majority of them.
It also showed that the emotional life of the single mother was also affected by their single status as most of them reported that they felt lonely, helpless, and hopeless, lacked identity and confidence.
In the social sphere, the majority of single mothers tried to avoid attending social gatherings and had changed their dressing style due to depression they had develop poor food and eating habits.
They said they found it hard to maintain discipline among the children due to absence of male members, which in turn pushed them to have traumatic depressions, they found it difficult to handle the responsibility of childcare and to establish a routine for their children.
As envisaged by our Movement 2014 Election Manifesto, there is a need to bring legislation that creates an economic access to loans with financial sector in which commercial banks and micro finance institutions provide women effective access to a range of financial services and products tailored for their need.
Soon I shall table a motion to discuss the lot single parents who earns less than N$2000 with more than one child of whosefather makes no contribution to receive subsidy on electricity and water as a start.
It is not easy raising children on your own. And if you are a single mother caring for a child with a disability, it comes with even more challenges, in terms of school and assistances on a daily basis.
Namibia, we should put our heads together and look for a feasible solution to alleviate these challenges as we are one nation. We should look at these women’s challenges as a challenges to our future since these women are entrusted with the role to mold our future leaders in such challenging circumstances.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015