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Learners of Ombili Primary School at Otjiwarongo are no longer being taught in tents, thanks to B2Gold Namibia, which has built them into a fully-fledged school.

Every year, the education sector faces numerous challenges, especially related to the placement of learners in the primary grades and a lack of proper structure.

At Ombili, where the project school started in 2019, 138 learners who could not find placement were taught in tents.

"Learners were released early, as rivers would run under their chairs, and when it's windy, dusty clouds fill the tents. Teachers and learners were not able to see each other. There were no proper chalkboards; we survived on improvising to ensure that teaching and learning took place," said school principal Irya Iipinge.

The situation has now changed, thanks to B2Gold Namibia, which constructed six new blocks, including two classrooms, at the school.

The school now boasts functional accommodation facilities, a staff room, fully furnished classrooms, and a feeding scheme for the learners.

Learner numbers have grown to more than one thousand, with 28 teachers and more community volunteers who assist with meal preparations.

Otjozondjupa Governor James Uerikua says B2Gold Namibia is an important stakeholder in education in the region, with remarkable contributions made to date.

"We are delighted and grateful that the footprint that you are leaving behind is a permanent footprint because you have invested in education. The N$7.2 million that you put in Ombili was just in that impoverished community, but you came in and injected that amount, not to mention all the other investment projects that you have here."

Since the inception of the school, the mine has spent more than N$4.8 million on the school, and construction is still underway for two more blocks of classrooms.

"We firmly believe that investing in education is an investment in the future of our nation and a testament to our dedication to the wellbeing of the communities in which we operate. As you see today, this is a show of peace for the work that we do in the Otjozondjupa Region. The area where we operate is the area where we socially impact the lives of people as we continue with our operations in the future," said B2Gold Namibia Manager John Roos.

B2Gold Namibia says Ombili Primary School is a project they have taken on in multiple phases, with their full contribution to be completed by the year 2025.

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Eveline Paulus