CHILDREN at Kuisebmond at Walvis Bay flock to Barbra Kavita’s house, dubbed the ‘Pap Mansion’ by locals, each Saturday for the meal they have been looking forward to the whole week.
The children, some as young as two years old, are from households which cannot provide them with food every day.
Kavita, Kuisebmond Secondary School’s secretary, started feeding about 10 children in 2004, but this number has grown rapidly since.
She says she is happy to see the children going home after a good meal, but can no longer afford to feed them all.
“Feeding depends on what we get from good Samaritans. Some young people donate here and there, and that is what my friends and I prepare for the children. It is hard though, to see them at my doorstep on Saturdays when there is nothing, asking me why I don’t have anything for them,” she says.
Kavita, who also takes care of her son and three foster children, believes it is her duty to make sure no child goes hungry, but appeals to young, working adults to help her feed their community.
Apart from providing meals on Saturdays, Kavita also collects clothes and stationery from friends for the children she feeds, as well as their parents.
“Adults have also started knocking on my door, and unfortunately you cannot turn them away if they don’t have children. If someone is hungry, it gives you sleepless nights, whether they are young or old,” she says.
Meanwhile, two young people at the town have decided to support the Pap Mansion.
“She has been helping everyone since I was in high school in 2005. Although our parents took care of us, there were gaps to fill, and she was there. She always helped us with textbooks, food and a place to study. Her house was open to all of us,” says Matthew Sambiliye, who owns a transport company.
Salaz Iilonga says: “I have been going to that same soup kitchen since 2008. I am giving back to the community through taking care of the house. It touches my heart to see she managed to go on for years after we left.
“Do not just raise your standard of living when you start earning money, but also raise your standard of giving, and see how God will bless you too.”
Sambiliye and Iilonga are appealing to other young people in the community to support the Pap Mansion.