I am an Italian student who visited Namibia for university on-field research matters and I want to share this story with you because I truly believe it deserves some attention and especially SUPPORT. 

During my stay in Namibia (1 month), along with my research commitments, I also volunteered for Happydu Onlus where I had the great pleasure to meet and get to know Erwin, a 32 years old Namibian teacher. After some time, I discovered that Erwin wasn't only working for Happydu, but that he also had built and started another project on his own in the middle of Katutura, the shantytown near Windhoek, the capital. I went and visited his school, Little Vikings, and I found myself completely astonished with the incredible feat that this young man had been carrying out.

The area where nowadays the school is located is extremely impoverished. People live in metal sheet houses with no electricity or running water. Kids are left playing on the dirt roads on their own because parents have to walk kilometers trying to make some money for the bread every day. 

In 2010, Erwin took the challenging decision of quitting his private school teaching job in order to be closer to his community. He decided to convert his shack, where he was living, into a pre-school, for the kids of the township that did not have any access to regular schools due to distance and poor transportation system. 

Today, 10 years later, Little Vikings Preprimary-School has become the home to 124 community children aged 3-6 years old. Erwin, together with other four teachers, is constantly fighting against poverty and the current economic gap in order to preserve this safe “shelter spot” for the children that, otherwise, would be left behind, assuring them education, food and care.

Although the daily challenges, Little Vikings Pre School was able to keep on going with the support of the less vulnerable parents and some small associations until now, however, with the new threat of COVID-19, today the whole project is put at risk.

On the 6th of July, the Namibian government re-opened schools, but there are new challenges and struggles for Erwin and Little Vikings. The informal settlement where the school is located lacks basic services, such as electricity and running water, which makes it even harder for Erwin and his team to maintain the required level of hygiene to preserve the children from Covid-19.

Children cannot afford to have regular masks, and often need to use wool gloves and pieces of plastic found on the street to cover up to prevent the virus

COVID -19 changed the lives of many, but in this particular case could mean the complete shutdown of the amazing project that Erwin and his team are fighting for day by day. All the resources they could possibly autonomously take from have been exhausted.

This is a call for help. We need a hand from each and every one of you so that we can support Little Vikings Preschool to continue its work. Without Little Vikings Pre School, most kids will be forced to give up early education since the nearest school to the area is 3 km away, with no public transportation. 

Little Vikings it’s not just a regular school, it is a sparkle of hope:  it’s the home of 124 children.


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Shirin Reza 
Bellaria, Italy

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