“Please don’t close the soup kitchen”

Publié: 19 avril 2016 12:32 CET

By Thea Rabe / Norwegian Red Cross

Every day, Nangura Mathias Aune comes to the soup kitchen to receive a meal. She is one of 1,200 people being supported by the Namibian Red Cross Society with drought relief. “Please, don’t close the kitchen,” Nangura says.

Nangura is 29 years old, living with her two sisters - one of whom is disabled - and their children. All together eight people live in the household. The drought that has affected the Kavango region in northern Namibia is making life tough for the Aune family, even though they don’t have their own land.

“We don’t have a crop field, but we rely on people having food to give us in return for work we do,” she says. “Now, that most people have little food, they don’t have much to spare for us.”

In the Kavango region, the Namibia Red Cross has opened two soup kitchens.  Each one supports 300 people, serving food once a day from Monday to Saturday. The Namibia Red Cross also has two other soup kitchens in the region of Kunene, in the northwest part of the country. In total, 1,200 people are being supported by the Red Cross.

Today, Red Cross volunteers are serving beans and porridge made of pearl millet, locally known as mahangu. Nangura is hoping to bring food back home to her disabled sister, and her own daughter.

“It is too far for them to walk all the way here every day. But what I do is that I wait around until everyone here has got one portion of food. Then I ask the volunteers if I can bring some food home for my family. I usually get something to bring,” she explains.

For Nangura, the meal she gets at the soup kitchen is her main meal, and she relies on the Red Cross. But to continue with distributing food in the Kavango region, the Namibian Red Cross will need more funding.

An Emergency Appeal of 954,827 Swiss francs, aimed at meeting the food security needs of 11,500 people affected by the drought in Namibia, was launched in December 2015 by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). The Appeal runs through 30 April, but has been severely underfunded, only reaching 15 per cent of what is needed.  The Namibia Red Cross Society has also launched a three month campaign. Entitled  “Namibian Helping Namibians”, the campaign aims to raise funds from citizens as well as the private sector to support drought-related activities.

For Nangura, the lack of funding would mean that the soup kitchen would soon close and this worries her.

“If I don’t get food from this kitchen I don’t know what to do. Please don’t close the kitchen, we really need it.”