Youth foundation shares inspiration at gala dinner

Beneficiaries of the One Economy Foundation shared their inspiring stories of becoming agents of change during the eighth annual One Economy gala dinner held at the Windhoek Country Club and Resort on Friday.

BeFree ambassador and foundation beneficiary Joyce Waandja described her first encounter with first lady Monica Geingos when she was in Grade 8 at Hochland High School as a defining moment.

“#BeFree has been grooming us to make the right choices and decisions to shape a brighter future for ourselves. It also provides us with various opportunities our parents did not have.

“Opportunities such as the recent hackathon at the BeFree Youth Campus really sparked my interest as a computer science student,” she said.

Waandja said the youth has the potential to develop technological solutions that address Namibia’s social challenges through such opportunities.

Another #BeFree ambassador and foundation beneficiary, Lesley Shetukana, who also joined the foundation in Grade 8, described the initiative as an incredible experience.

“This incredible experience has not only given me a platform, but also a safe space to express myself authentically. It has taught me how to tap into professional spaces and the significance of personal branding,” she said.

National debater and Okahandja Secondary School student Thompson Mwandingi highlighted the significance of youth development through his involvement in the school’s debate organisation.

“Due to an opportunity that was presented to me through debate, I was able to prove my worth and demonstrate that a blooming flower can emerge even from a small town.

“Youth development can address various aspects, such as youth unemployment, mental health, and many more,” he said.

The event, themed ‘Partnering on Our Next’, has raised over N$4 million, surpassing its target, with the aim of celebrating the foundation’s growth over the past year and highlighting future projects.

In her opening remarks, One Economy Foundation chief executive Uajorokisa Akwenye emphasised the crucial role stakeholders play in the foundation’s three pillars – YO!, BreakFree, and #BeFree.

Representatives from each pillar shared their success stories throughout the evening.

One Economy Foundation chairperson Monica Geingos underscored the importance of collaboration with other service providers and the support system for young people to effectively coordinate initiatives.

“The recently built BeFree Youth Campus is focused on multiple issues, because young people barely experience single-issue problems. #BeFree Youth Campus is an incredible public-private partnership,” she said.

Geingos said the campus’ functionality is made possible through collaboration with various stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health and Social Services, which donated land which has since been developed into a facility valued at N$15 million.

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