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On Friday, the 28th of October, Old Mutual did the unthinkable thing – they gave toiletries to 150 school boys instead of giving to the girls.

The event that took place at Eino Haitembu Combined School, at Omahahi village in Oshikunde Constituency, was uncommon, although Ohangwena’s director of education referred to it as something corresponding with “the concept of inclusivity in education”.

“All over our country, Africa and the world, people talk about the girl child,” Mr Isak Hamatwi, Ohangwena regional director of education said, “properly so because for centuries the girl child was disadvantaged, for centuries the girl child was discouraged and was receiving the short end of the stick.

“So all progress is geared to rectify the situation.

“But we forget that the girl child has a brother. A brother who is not benefiting. As a result you find that at institutions of higher learning more than 60% are girls. That tells you we are over-concentrating on the girl child and forgetting the boy child.

“For that reason, Old Mutual chose to think differently. Old Mutual chose to swim against the tide and decided that today the boy child must benefit.

“Thank you Old Mutual for thinking in that unique way. Out of all corporate companies, you have stood out that you can think differently,” Hamatwi said.

Old Mutual Finance’s managing director Mr Otto Makemba said that at Old Mutual they believe in inclusivity and youth empowerment.

“Our focus is to support boys,” Makemba emphasised, “for them to take their rightful place in society we need to empower them.”

“I have to give special thanks to Old Mutual for this idea of giving support to boys,” Ohangwena Governor Walde Ndevashiya said.

“In my time so far as governor, there has been a lot of initiatives by individuals and institutions to support the girls of our region, especially with sanitary pads. But boys get nothing. And here is Old Mutual saying they want to support boys.”

Apart from the Eino Haitembu combined school, four other schools in the remote areas such as Oshamukweni combined school, Ondjabayonghalu combined, and Shatipamba combined school also had some of their boys receive the toiletries.

Each of the identified boys received a face cloth, toothbrush & toothpaste, bath soap bar, Vaseline (toddler boys), body lotion (Older boys), roll on (Older boys) and washing powder/bar soap.

Seeing the dire need in which most of the boys at Eino Haitembu were, Makemba stated that he was going to add another 50 boys to the list of beneficiaries.

Eino Haitembu school, situated some 85 km from Eenhana, but 35 km from the tarred road, at a place where only 4×4 wheeled vehicles can go, is a school with pupils most of whom go to school in worn out uniforms.

Both the school principal Mr Fridrich Kuumbwa and Mr Jairus Hanyanya, the school board chairperson, thanked Old Mutual “for this wonderful gesture of reaching out to us”.

In the photo: Some of the boys receiving bags of toiletries.