According to 2019 UNAIDS estimates, there are between 190,000 and 220,000 adults and children in Namibia living with HIV. As part of its outreach programme, and its ongoing commitment to uplifting the children of Namibia, the Lithon Foundation has teamed with two incredible organisations supporting AIDS orphans in the country.
“Little by little, bit by bit, family by family, so much good can be done on so many levels.” — Elinor Ostrom
In 2003, Jos and Sylvia Holtzhausen stepped down from long-term positions at Youth for Christ Namibia to confront the devastating reality of HIV and AIDS, and reach out to those left to grow up without the love and support of their parents.
To ensure that the children they cared for were able to remain within a family environment, either with a relative or foster family, the Holtzhausens adopted a Ministry CarePoint model at Christ’s Hope International (CHI). Today, these CarePoint centres, which are strategically located within highly affected communities in seven countries across Africa, provide physical, academic, emotional, spiritual, and social support to over 1,500 orphaned and vulnerable children. Children like Rose and Ivan. And Enock, a young man who Marsia Reed, CEO of the Lithon Foundation, met in Okahandja in 2016.
“Enock was 18 and looking after three younger siblings when I met him,” she recalls. “With the help of CHI, who he turned to when he lost his parents, he learned to cook, clean and do the washing. CHI also equipped him with study skills, provided emotional support and advice, and introduced him to a sponsor family in America, all of which gave him the confidence to hope for bigger things in life. By the end of 2021, Enock will be a qualified teacher, ready to make a difference in the world – he’s already volunteering at the local school. CHI has played a critical role in supporting Enock and his siblings over the years and in helping him to understand his value and purpose. I honestly couldn’t be prouder of this wonderful, upstanding young man!”
How is the Lithon Foundation supporting CHI? Lithon founder, Adriaan Grobler, met Jos and Sylvia during the organisation’s early years and was immediately drawn to their authenticity and integrity and inspired by their vision. Over the years, the Foundation has supported CHI by providing free engineering inputs for a variety of projects. When CHI decided to develop a new Ministry Centre to support the Oshikuku community impacted by HIV/AIDS, Lithon did everything we could to make this a reality. We helped secure the land from the Oshikuku Town Council, did all the designs for the new facilities and assisted with the project’s project management and contract administration for free. This ensured the development of a high quality and sound facility through which CHI now serves the community and impacts many people’s lives. To offer further assistance, we host volunteers from the Netherlands that regularly visit Namibia to support CHI’s work.
If you’d like to find out more about CHI and how you can get involved, please visit christshope.org.
Another organisation impacting the lives of AIDS orphans in Namibia is the Oshakati Life Change Centre (OLCC). Rebekka Shilongo is the heart and hands of this incredible charity and, being HIV-positive herself, understands some of the devastating effects of the illness (if untreated) first-hand. She is supported by a number of churches, the local community, and a team of volunteers who work to offer over 200 orphans and vulnerable children love, protection, counselling, spiritual support and meals, school clothes and stationery.
How is the Lithon Foundation supporting the OLCC? The Foundation has partnered with Rebekka since 2005, when the charity opened its doors to the community. It supported Rebekka’s work financially up until three years ago, when Build it Oshakati assumed financial responsibility for providing food for the children.
Lithon’s Adriaan Grobler and Gert Maritz, together with their families, have also provided administrative help – applying for land to build a centre as well as securing sponsors and the required documentation. As directors of the OLCC, Gert and his wife, Elmarine, also offer practical advice and guidance, ensuring that the centre is able to move forward.
To find out more about OLCC and how you can support them, please visit Rebecca Shikongo: +264 81 295 3015; firstname.lastname@example.org in Oshakati or Gert Maritz, Chairperson and Director: Cell:+264 81 275 6263 or email@example.com.
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