A GROUP of 15 students living with disabilities will leave for Botswana in September this year to further their studies.
Their conditions range from being visually challenged to being wheelchair-bound as well as limping, among others.
The students are part of a special initiative by the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) to identify students with disabilities and send them for studies as a group.
NSFAF granted each student N$100 000 per year to further their studies at the university.
Another group of 12 students will leave next year for Botswana as well, while a third group that will study at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) in Malaysia will also leave at the same time.
Their field of studies include Communication and Media, Design and Innovation, Architecture and Interiors, Information Technology and Business Management.
Speaking at the handing over of grants, deputy minister in the vice president’s office, Alexia Manombe-Ncube, said there is no better way of empowering a person than enabling him or her to get education.
“For too long, Namibians living with disabilities have been looked down upon and often denied access to opportunities on assumption that they cannot do anything. This kind of attitude or perception does not only affect the esteem and confidence of one, but also robs the country the opportunity to benefit from the talents, abilities and services of the citizens living with disabilities,” she said.
The special initiative came as a result of the recent joint visit by minister of higher education Itah Kandji-Murangi and NSFAF board members to Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) in Malaysia.
During the said visit, a discovery was made that Limkokwing offers various programmes premised on innovation, technology and creativity and has facilities towards people with special needs.
Manombe-Ncube commended NSFAF for the historic gesture, which seeks to emancipate Namibians living with disabilities through sponsorship towards tertiary education and training.
The deputy minister urged the beneficiaries to use the opportunity wisely and do Namibia proud. “This is a good intention and inclusive approach by the government, through the deeds of NSFAF. Go and fly our flag high and come back to contribute to the country’s development process,” Manombe-Ncube said. According to the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia, there were about 105 000 people living with disabilities in Namibia, of which a very small percentage are formally employed.