katatura-01Goreangab is an impoverished black community in Katutura, Windhoek, Namibia, Africa. The people live in shantytown homes with few of the amenities that we take for granted. There is no running water, no electricity, and no toilets. As well as living with hunger, the residents of this area face the major health challenges of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria.

The Home of Good Hope is a not-for-profit organization registered both in Victoria and Namibia. The organization was established in 2007 to educate and feed children from Goreangab. Monica Imanga and I were motivated to found this organization when Monica’s beautiful 16 year old daughter, Maria, tragically died of AIDs, and health education might have prevented that death. In Maria’s memory, the organization currently provides health education and assessments as well as nutritious meals to 535 local children (18 months to 15 years) with six staff. Currently, we have a tiny structure on borrowed land but basically squat on the roadside. The surrounding area is completely impoverished. It is difficult for Monica to cook sufficient food in her tiny poorly equipped kitchen and then transport it by local taxi to the site where we feed the children. An important goal is to establish our organization on land of its own in a permanent building with a large kitchen. We should have the land in two months and will immediately begin land preparation and construction of the new premises.

Governance and funding

We have set up a non-profit company under Section 21 of the Namibian Companies Act, which has strict guidelines and ensures transparency and accountability. To accomplish this, we benefited from the expertise of Mr. Usieb, a Namibian businessman who has been advising us. This new status as a non-profit company is important because of the questions about exploitation by some NGOs that make some donors reluctant to contribute.

The board will manage and oversee the company, the purchase of the land and building construction, and the day-to-day running of the organization, whereas I will continue to direct the accountants on how monies are spent. Another crucial part of my job is to keep all donors informed of our progress by making regular reports.

Without Monica’s vision and strength, there would be no Home of Good Hope. She is consistently positive, and she knows and cares for each child in the community. Monica will continue to manage the new Home of Good Hope and her family will live there with her. For the longevity and success of this project, we are creating clear criteria for continuing good management of the organization. 

Home of Good Hope is Part of the Community

I am hoping that when we have a large kitchen, members of the community will volunteer to help in a Community Garden as well as the day to day food preparation. I anticipate that cooking students from the culinary institute at the local Polytechnic will use the Home of Good Hope as a field school, working with community members to understand nutrition creating a ripple effect in the community.

As our name Home of Good Hope implies, we have instilled “good hope” in many children and teenagers over the last seven years and are proud of how we have helped to build their confidence. We have a girl’s netball team and a football team. The football team is winning many games, and some of the children are so good they could eventually make the national team, which is very exciting. We have also influenced high school students as they study for university entrance and will support select children to attend university through our scholarship program. Education will help to lift this community out of poverty, and our work has been instrumental in achieving this goal.

We had a heart warning experience with the children in May when I brought 11 University of Victoria nursing students with me to Namibia. As well as helping out at the soup kitchen, they had a picnic for 50 children in a downtown park. Even though the soup kitchen is just 15 minutes from town, it was the first time many of the children had felt grass under their feet or eaten pizza. They treasured their “goody bags,” some reluctant to open them as they wanted to take them home to share with their brothers and sisters. This is the nature of Namibians—generous of spirit, loving, and community minded.

Connections to Medical Communities

Our links with medical communities are proliferating and growing stronger. We are now an HIV/AIDS organization registered with the government of Namibia – an important step as priority is given to these organizations. We liaise with the medical school at the University of Namibia, and all international nursing students do placements at the Home of Good Hope. The Katatura Hospital has offered us use of their dental facilities if we can get volunteer dentists. A UBC medical professor and pediatrician who taught at the Katatura Hospital, is considering coming back with me next May to act as our pediatrician. Another Canadian physician, who has worked with Doctors without Borders for many years, believes that the Home of Good Hope is one of the best run organizations he has seen in an impoverished country. I hope this physician’s enthusiasm translates into a group of medical personnel from Doctors without Borders coming to share their expertise at the Home of Good Hope.

International Links

The Home of Good Hope has strong International links with the Netherlands, Sweden, and Germany. They offer a great deal of backing to this project and we work closely to ensure that their strong support is ongoing.

Finally, Sid Dickens, a world-renowned artist, has offered to design a memory block for the Home of Good Hope. His memory blocks are beautiful tiles, and this creation will raise international awareness of the Home of Good Hope.

It is a privilege for me to work with Monica and my African counterparts, and very humbling to see the joy that they can create with so little.

We are currently in the process of starting our own non-profit company The Home of Good Hope Namibia Foundation. I have the privilege of having Rob McAdams, Peter Gustavson, Barb Assar and Carol Forester as Directors. We should be in a position to offer tax receipts as soon as the documents are processed.

Thank you for your donation. It is your support that makes this wonderful initiative a reality.

Eileen Greene RN BScN MEd, Adjunct Professor
School of Nursing, University of Victoria
2065 Avondale Rd. Victoria B.C. V8P-1V5
Cell 250-360-6712

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