City of angels
One citizen is hoping for the kindness of strangers to help her set up a safe haven for vulnerable children.
18 August 2019 | Society
“More and more kids in Namibia are being orphaned daily and fewer people are taking care of them,” says Bettie Hoakhaos (52) of Place of Angels Orphanage in the capital.
At the moment Hoakhaos is looking after 28 orphans and vulnerable children in Otjomuise after making a promise to God to do so when she was cured of cancer. “In 2002, I was diagnosed with lung cancer. I lost my left lung but was healed three years after the diagnosis,” she says.
Shortly after going into remission, Hoakhaos came across a young woman in Katutura with a baby boy of around 18 months old. “The poor mom looked desperate and discouraged. She told me she had no home, food or clothes for her child and didn’t know what to do. Then and there I offered to raise the child as my own and the idea of creating an orphanage began.
“Today Johnny is 13 years old and I am currently in the process of adopting him. I have never registered him for the government benefits because he is like my own son. He is also the first child I could help.”
Hoakhaos established a soup kitchen out of her own pocket eight years ago.
She registered Place of Angels as a charity and since then, provides the 28 orphans with food.
“They come to my house every Saturday, then I give them a cooked meal. They also get tinned and dried food that they can cook for themselves during the week.”
“Unfortunately, I can't give them a roof over their heads at the moment and so they have to go to their guardians, but I am in touch with them all the time and make sure they are taken care of,” she says.
Hoakhaos applied for an erf at the Windhoek municipality so that she could erect an orphanage and in September last year the good news came that they had a property for sale in Khomasdal.
“Now I have to pay N$677 380 to the municipality before 19 August or I lose the erf. I know it sounds like a lot of money, but if everyone around the country can give just a few dollars, it will be paid off quickly. I humbly ask all Namibians to make a small payment directly to the municipality so that I can get the erf. I know people are sometimes scammers in the name of orphans and commit fraud, but I’ve never asked before. I’m not doing it for money, so I don’t want cash either. Those who want to help can pay the municipality directly,” she said.
Hoakhaos also wants to establish a garden so that children can be fed out of the garden and sell excess vegetables and fruits to the community. “The plan is also to erect a few apartments so that the orphanage is sustainable and that we don’t have to rely on sponsors,” she said.