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DRC container school gets facelift

Written by on June 10, 2024

Children at Swakopmund’s Democratic Resettlement Community (DRC) will soon be able to study at a state-of-the-art education centre.

As the DRC School Project and Community Centre celebrates 20 years of existence this year, the Werner Erkes Foundation in Germany is helping it to set up new infrastructure.

The centre is currently operating as a colourful container school, which is becoming too small for the community’s children.

It will be transformed into a school complex of two floors, including a kindergarten, preschool, eight classrooms, a library, hall, gallery, kitchen, workshop, sport field, playground and reception area.

The centre, which was opened in 2004 by Mike and Ivanna Kriner, has served the community with basic education programmes and health information.

It has been operating under the umbrella of ‘Tangeni Shilongo Namibia’, a non-profit organisation, since 2022.

The centre is one of the few places at the community with running water, connected sanitation and electricity.

It offers daily support to up to 200 children and young people, founder and director Volkan Sazli says.

It supports children through kindergarten education, homework supervision and infrastructure for research tasks for older children, as there are children in the township with no table, writing materials or light at home, he says.

It is also a haven for those who do not secure space at government schools.

Sazli says the centre has over the years kept children off the streets and away from social evils.

The construction of the new buildings would cost about N$30 million and will start this month, he says.

“The children will, however be catered for while the building is in process. We sadly have to vacate the premises and remove the containers. The centre will open again in January 2026.

“The children from the morning programme will be accommodated at our new school, the Open Doors Education Centre, which is not far from the current centre,” he says.

Maria Elago, who has attended the DRC School Project and Community Centre since 2011, has successfully completed her studies in finance and accounting.

Elago was raised at the settlement without running water and electricity and found a home at the centre when she was 13 years old.

“I had a place to go after school, where I had my own workspace and all the materials at my disposal. There was always someone she could ask for help.

“I became the first Open Doors scholarship holder of the centre in 2018 after graduating from high school. Many may see the project as a place of charity or a place where kids just play and have fun.

“We have fun, but in my experience, the DRC School Project and Community Centre is a place where I can go when I need help. It is a place I can call my second home,” she says.

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