Standard Bank empowers Berseba residents

While most privileged people would see a house as nothing more than bricks and mortar, it is a symbol of hope and the promise to free themselves from the shackles of poverty for Berseba residents and countless others who find themselves living in shacks.

These sentiments were echoed as Standard Bank handed-over 20 homes to members of the Shack Dweller Federation of Namibia (SDNF) at the sleepy town of Berseba over the weekend. The homes were built using funds raised through the Buy-a-Brick initiatives second leg last year.

A total of 28 homes were officially handed over, however 8 of those homes were built with financing by the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development. Through the pioneering Buy-a-Brick initiative, the Bank is aiding in the provision of affordable housing to low or no income households in Namibia, in collaboration with SDFN.

“We believe that adequate housing for the disadvantaged is an inherent basic right that will ignite great opportunities in the lives of those people, to not only become proud home owners, but also gives them the dignity to break out of poverty and live a dignified life with a proper roof over the heads,” Standard Bank’s Head of Marketing, Communication and CSI, Magreth Mengo, said during the handover.

She added that the handover was irrefutable proof that the housing shortage among the low or no income households in Namibia is a challenge that can be overcome.

In attendance was Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare, Zephania Kameeta and Deputy Minister of Urban and Rural Development Derek Klazen, who officiated over the event and officially handed-over the homes to their elated owners.

“Although we have had a long relationship with the Shack Dwellers Federation, in 2015, we at Standard Bank challenged ourselves to fully manifest our company’s purpose for existing, having been in Namibia for 103 years. Our purpose for existing is encompassed in our motto which states that “Namibia is our home; we drive her growth”. Part of driving the growth in our home is by addressing the challenges which we face. Housing is one of the biggest challenges we face in Namibia, and that is how the Buy-a-Brick initiative was born,” Mengo stressed.

This year the Bank handed over N$3.7 million to the Federation through this remarkable initiative. Mengo pointed out that the Buy-a-Brick initiative has become a truly Namibian initiative because Blue Bankers, communities and fellow responsible corporate citizens are taking ownership of it by giving to the initiative selflessly.

Of the homes built with the N$2 million raised during the second leg of the Buy-a-Brick initiative, 16 homes were already official handed over in Otjinene on 18 May. The remaining 14 homes are being built in Windhoek.

Delivering the Keynote address, Deputy Minister Klazen, said that the government has been going the extra mile to ensure that every Namibian has a roof over their head.

He commended the Namibian house for rallying together to ensure that their counterparts had a decent place they could call home, which would give them dignity and the ability to remove themselves out of the dark abyss of poverty.

Stressing that efforts such as the Buy-a-Brick initiative are an important commitment, regardless of the economic conditions, he commended Standard Bank for its efforts and urged other corporate who have not yet joined the fight to do so as it requires a collective effort.

The delegation also used the opportunity to break ground for the construction of more homes in the town.