Based in the heart of Katutura’s Damara location in Windhoek, behind the four walls of a grey, seemingly unnoticeable house not much different from its surroundings, is Lidar Community Foundation – a place dedicated to empowering the girls, women, and mothers of our society. As the meaning of the name suggests, amongst a lot of brokenness, this is a haven for women to grow and be nurtured in a safe space.
In the home of Serley Khaxas, the founder of the organisation, a space has been established for primary school- and teenaged girls, as well as young mothers. Here they are educated, empowered and their passions are nurtured. One such individual is Rebekka, who joined Lidar from Grade 9 and is currently studying towards a BA Law at the University of Namibia (UNAM).
Born in Koës, a little town in Southern Namibia, Rebekka moved to Windhoek to start schooling here. Her parents passed away when she was very young, leaving her grandmother and a few others to raise her, by means of a monthly social grant. She recalls that on many days they had to go without food because there was simply no money available. For her to attend school, meant walking multiple kilometres every day.
Rebekka van der Byl is one of the students at Lidar Community Foundation,
who are now completing their tertiary studies. Photo: Serley Khaxas
When her grandmother heard about Lidar, a new world of opportunity was opened to Rebekka. Not only did this include regular, warm meals and a comfortable place to stay, but it also meant she could complete High School and receive after-school assistance to improve her grades tremendously.
Now, five years later, Rebekka has graduated from High School successfully. Her passion for reading, as well as wanting to care for those in need and advocating for their human rights, have led her to enrol in Law school and she aspires to one day, form a part of the legislative team of the country at a parliamentary level.
Beyond this, she dreams of changing the lives of young girls in Namibia’s society in a way that Lidar changed her life; by means of becoming a role model and empowering those, whose light has been dimmed due to their inhibiting circumstances. Most importantly, she wants to remind others of the freedom that exists when one simply believes that everything is possible.
Rebekka is not the only one at Lidar Community Foundation who has risen beyond her challenging circumstances. Currently, six young women from Lidar are enrolled in tertiary institutions, including Eveline Tjomombura (3rd year Bachelor of Nursing at UNAM), Felicity Garises (4th year Bachelor in Chartered Accounting at UNAM), Loide Shiningayamwe (4th year Bachelor in Economics at NUST), Cosima Rieth (3rd year Bachelor of Accounting at NUST) and Florence Khaxas (1st year -Diploma in Media and Television Production at KCAC).
Loide, Rebekka, Serley, Cosima and Florence in front of Lidar Community Foundation located in Katutura’s Damara Location.
Eveline and Felicity were currently busy studying for their exams when this photo was taken. Photo: Serley Khaxas