Wonderful moment: Telecom MD Frans Ndoroma handing over food parcels to senior citizens at Otavi during the company’s 20th anniversary party at the town.
By Oiva Angula
17 March 2013
Telecom Namibia on Friday distributed food parcels to all senior citizens at Otavi at a party organised for them as part of the company’s year-long 20th anniversary celebration which was launched in August last year.
At the local hall decorated for the occasion, about 350 elderly people were served with a meal, sponsored by Telecom Namibia and supported by the Ada Ma/Hao Senior Citizens Committee at this town of 12 000 inhabitants in the Otjozondjupa Region.
Others in attendance were the chairperson of the Management Committee of the Otavi Town Council, Joan Basson, two local authority councillors, town officials, church elders, police and army officers, members of the business community, and the media.
Managing Director of Telecom Namibia, Frans Ndoroma, said the event was not only part of the ongoing celebrations of the company’s 20th anniversary but was also about bringing the elderly in the community together to socialize and get to know one another as well as mingle and fellowship.
“As a company, it is part of our mandate to give back to society through our corporate social responsibility programmes. We are committed to fulfill this social contract to remain true to our statutory obligation as a true corporate citizen of this country,” Ndoroma said.
The party and donation were made possible by a financial contribution of N$15 050 made during the Telecom Namibia Charity Golf Day held in Windhoek last year. Each dollar pledged at the charity event was matched by Telecom Namibia with N$5.60 to make the event possible.
Participating companies at the golf charity event included Nashua, Nedbank Namibia, Standard Bank Namibia, Africa Online, and private individuals who fully embrace the spirit of giving to help those less fortunate in society and put a decent meal on the table for them – at least for a day.
Each food bag had maize meal, flour, cooking oil, canned foods, macaroni, tea, coffee, sugar, juice, and many more items.
Councillor Basson expressed thanks to Telecom Namibia for the generous donation, which will help feed some of the most vulnerable people in the community – the elderly.
Amongst the elders who received the food bags were Eryka Dinga (89), Vilho Shimbashike (88), Paulus Gumba (82), Martha Naikep Tsaes (96), Claudia Goraes (77), Susanna Kheimses (88), Eveline Khaibes (97) and Noso Domnikus (92).
Maria da Conceicao Lourence, patron of the Ada Ma/Hao Senior Citizens Committee, also heaped praise on Telecom Namibia’s corporate social activities, adding that elders in Namibia like in all of Africa remain marginalised and denied the right to a dignified life. She said that the provision of social protection for older people is a subject of great importance that needs to be addressed.
“We are always grateful for any donations to help the needy of Otavi and everything that is donated to the Ada Ma/Hao Senior Citizens Committee goes directly to deserving people,” Da Conceicao Lourence said, in reference to her committee that strives to promote better living conditions of the elderly in Otavi through home-based care and soup kitchen to its members, including the disabled and bedridden.
Ndoroma said that Telecom Namibia was working to contribute to the task of lifting the underprivileged and the poor out of poverty, through the provision of a modern telecommunication infrastructure in rural, semi-urban and other under-serviced areas of the country.
“The telecommunication infrastructure, throughout the world, serves as the engine that facilitates better communication, boosts local economies, and enhances the delivery of social services like health, education and other essential services,” he said.
He said that the company has provided Otavi with a modern infrastructure since the beginning of 1997 when the town made an historic break with manual exchanges (“Nommer Asseblief!”) and moved straight into the digital era, bypassing the electro-mechanical stage.
“Otavi today is linked to the national fibre optic backbone and is provided with a digital exchange, which are the latest words in modern telecommunications. Today we have close to 600 customers enjoying our services in this town and its immediate surroundings,” the Telecom MD pointed out.
“These are some of the achievements that Telecom Namibia wants to celebrate with the residents of Otavi with dancing and laughter, specifically with our senior citizens today. This is a demonstration of great community spirit on the part of Telecom Namibia.”
Ndoroma also thanked the elderly for their past contribution to the development of telecommunications in the country. “Some of you present here today had a grandmother and father, mom or dad, uncle and aunt, niece or cousin, brother or sister, son or daughter, who have worked at one or the other time in the telecommunication sector of our country since the telegraph line was extended for the first time between Usakos and Otavi as well as from Otavi to Grootfontein in 1906,” he said.
The elderly were deeply touched by the gesture of Telecom Namibia and its partners in the charity drive. The beneficiaries were united in their collective appreciation of Telecom Namibia’s care and concern for their welfare and well-being, some shedding tears of gratefulness.
"I have nothing to eat today, absolutely nothing. I am really happy for Telecom Namibia,” said Abraham Tjirongo (77).
“It is my first great party since I became a pensioner. We appreciate it from the bottom of our hearts. My wife and I will have a good meal at least for two months,” added Berhard Mushosho (67).
“I think this party was a good idea, especially with regards to the senior citizens in our town just giving them something different to enjoy, especially the gift of the food bag. Food is a basic necessity,” said Ananias Howaeb (75).
“This was a fantastic cause. I am delighted that we were able to bring cheer to hundreds of senior citizens in Otavi. This gesture was not only part of our corporate social responsibility, but also a reflection of our duty as an institution to give back to society through tangible and effective charity initiatives. Indeed, the concept of charity-giving is well-entrenched in our corporate culture as is exemplified by the numerous occasions on which Telecom Namibia has made significant donations to a number of recognised associations within the country,” said Franscisco Fortuin, Telecom Namibia’s manager for network operations, who joined the event from Tsumeb, some 60km north of Otavi.