SunshineUP Kids is a European nonprofit association created to provide education for children from disadvantaged backgrounds in Namibia. A group of women from Spain, Germany and Namibia are working together to give the children an opportunity of a better future. Developing their self-confidence and gaining their trust is key to helping these children, many of whom have had difficult childhoods and come from challenging conditions. Founder Elena Schumacher Mora tells MumAbroad Life more about the project and introduces us to the women who are crucial to its success.
“With education you can change the world” -Nelson Mandela
“Coming from a background like mine, getting an education was almost impossible. Elizabeth took me out of the township school and brought me to a better one. Now I am 18 and I am studying environmental biology at the University of Namibia. This has been my dream, I feel like if I have hit the jackpot” Koviao Mbaha
Koviao is just one of the children whose life has been changed by the SunshineUp project. Hers is a very touching story of success and how to overcome poverty through education. She is currently studying environmental biology at the University of Namibia.
Extreme poverty, unemployment, frustration, alcohol abuse, violence and abandonment… this is what many children in poor townships grow up with. Public schools in poverty-stricken neighbourhoods cannot guarantee quality education to any child, given the large number of children per class. In severe cases, the lack of parental guidance, family support or stimulation results in youths leaving high school early – particularly the girls.
Teenage pregnancies are very common and young children take on the responsibility of caring for their siblings, meaning the end of any opportunity for an education or the perspective of a better future. In those neighbourhoods women have no chance to access education, and very few jobs are available. They must fight the daily fight for shelter and food for their children.
We help those girls to socialise and integrate in a normal environment, assist in the search for the right school, and apply for scholarships. We also help young mothers to find a day care for their children, so they can search for jobs or we provide them ingredients and materials for their handcrafts.
“I hereby encourage you to participate with me on this life-changing path. Share your knowledge, your creativity and psychology on a hands-on project and see the fruits of your contribution. These kids are hungry to experience environmental outings, camping, baking, and just to be taken care of. You are more than welcome to stay for as long as you like to assist us. In Africa we teach our children the importance of the elders and their wisdom, and respect as well as a warm, humble and friendly home is guaranteed in return. It is a highly satisfactory experience for both, those who give and those who receive.” Elizabeth de Beer
Elizabeth, a Namibian woman who elevated herself from poverty, is the “mother” to 8 children in the home and cares for the kids every day in all they needs. It is extremely difficult for a woman alone in an African country to bring to fruition a project like this, helping children like we do, with so many organisational, administrative and financial difficulties.
“For me to be part of this incredible project it is incredibly rewarding that focuses on driving change and helping to improve the lives of others. I also find that working with children provides you with the opportunity to develop a new purpose each day. Nothing is going to come easy, but there is nothing more gratifying than breaking through to a child and seeing them have that “ah ha” moment that you’ve both been striving towards. The other thing that I value most is education and exposing children to the world of knowledge through school and proper education and good role models. Education serves everyone, young and adult, and it helps to eradicate various social evils that prevail in our society – like poverty – and gives women better future chances.” Selma Simanenka Benjameni
Selma is the camp manager for a private Namibian touristic company, has broken through traditional Owambo social structure and promotes education for women.
“In the last 12 years I’ve travelled to diverse African countries and I always end up visiting Namibia. This country fascinates me, not only because of the incredible landscapes and wildlife, but especially their people. Thanks to my video production hobby I could get in deeper touch with endangered ethnic groups like the San or the Himba and I have produced small documentary films about them and showed them in my exhibitions and conferences. Along the years I have made good friends in Namibia and I have learned about their social challenges, remnants of the Apartheid system. In one of my visits I met Elizabeth by chance (or not?), and that was the start of it all.
Her selfless dedication to taking care of and educating 8 children in her home, coming from poverty herself, not only impressed me but showed me that I had found a way to help effectively in the important goal of education. As a mother of two students, I also value education highly. This is why I created this aid initiative, to give others the possibility, in a direct, legal and transparent way, to support those children, elevate them out of poverty and violence, and give them the chance of an education and a better future. This task is a big challenge, but also a source of gratitude and joy.” Elena Schumacher Mora
EMBRACE children from disadvantaged backgrounds in the home, providing them the care and medical attention they need. Due to the extreme poverty rate and social problems in the country, public health contributions are limited; in the case of those children and families there is no way they can afford a health insurance. Therefore, we also provide the medical aid they need as the children all suffer developmental delay, gastrointestinal diseases and respiratory problems, as well as motor retardation.
HELP them trust and feel secure again after hard childhood experiences.
ASSIST women with small children in need, providing them with ingredients and materials to do their handcrafts, which they sell to survive, or helping them build better homes.
EDUCATE and help the children integrate into a normal social environment and provide the necessary teaching to prepare them well for school.
SUPPORT day care centres in poor neighbourhoods, supplying diapers, food, clothes and toys.
ORGANISE volunteer opportunities for anyone wishing to collaborate in the home! We encourage you to visit SunshineUP and bring your help!
As you can imagine, we need to continue donating: the most important contribution we can make is to ensure continuity, so the children can confidently continue with their education, receive a warm meal every day and be cared for. Elizabeth needs our support to grant all this to the 8 children she has embraced in SunshineUP!
Regular donations enable security and planning. We do not wish to associate them to a specific child as the food, medical, and clothing needs are variable. We consider it more effective to allocate donations according to the different needs and projects of the home, so that all can be covered equally and fairly. Therefore, each week we reach an agreement with Elizabeth regarding the destination of the funds and together we review the progress of the various projects. The Association administrates and controls the finances. Each euro or dollar that reaches regularly SunshineUP ensures the lives of those children and their future.
Donations go in their entirety to covering the expenses of the Home and to the projects detailed above. Through the Association’s PayPal account, donations are transferred directly to where they are needed, to pay school fees, food and medicines for the children, electricity and water. Whenever possible, contributions will also help women in need and daycare centres. Based on daily communication between the directors of the Association and Elizabeth, we guarantee the effective and transparent destination of all donations.
You can easily make a secure donation, even if you do not have your own PayPal account. There are two ways to do it:
1. A one-time donation in any amount, using your credit card or your PayPal account.
2. If you decide to give a regular donation, which would be the best to support the children, you have different options. Choose the one which suits you best! If you don’t have a PayPal account, you can set up a regular donation through the Association’s bank account. It is as secure as shopping online! Banking details are protected at all times. Contact Elena by email to make a bank transfer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Help us give those children the chance of a better life through education.
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