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Naukluft Foundation: Helping the primary school ǂNabasib in the southern centre of Namibia to help itself

Imagine turning on the tap and nothing comes out. This is what pupils and teachers at ǂNabasib Primary School experienced in November 2020. What to do? Call BüllsPort Lodge & Farm! Just 15 km away, BüllsPort has been supporting the school for decades. With help and advice. And financially, through the Naukluft Foundation, which BüllsPort founded together with the Ababis guest farm in April 2005.

Of course, the state is actually responsible, as ǂNabasib is a government school. But the state cannot react so quickly, especially not to schools in remote areas. BüllsPort farmer Ernst Sauber, on the other hand, was on site immediately. His diagnosis: after a long drought, the water level in the borehole had dropped, the pump had run dry and burnt out.

Quick interim solution: A new (small) pump was installed, a few metres lower than the previous pump. When the government supplied a more powerful pump, it was put into storage for emergencies. However, in view of future droughts and climate change, a new water vein had to be found and a new borehole drilled. The costs, totalling 84,000 Namibia dollars, were borne by the Naukluft Foundation.

Borehole Rotarians Rotary Club Büdingen Naukluft Foundation ǂNabasib BüllsPort Lodge & Farm Namibia
Mobile drilling rig to drill a new borehole, financed by the Naukluft Foundation with donations from the Rotary Club Büdingen. Photo (March 2022): Ernst Sauber, BüllsPort Lodge & Farm

The Rotary Club Büdingen in Germany collected the money for this project. A partner that had already financed the building and equipment for the kindergarten in 2009. And in subsequent years, a water tank, a large shaded roof with a podium in the courtyard, a laptop with a projector and support during the coronavirus crisis. The driving force was (and still is) Georg Erk as (former) Club President and member of the Southern Africa Committee of the Rotarians in Germany.

Long-standing partners of the Naukluft Foundation in Germany

One of the first partners was the Heinrich Hertz School in Hamburg. In the ‘Weltweit mit Her(t)z AG’ (project group), founded and led for many years by teacher Wolfgang Thiel, pupils are actively involved in projects supporting the school – including work visits on site. ǂNabasib owes now a number of facilities and benefits to this partnership, including a solar system, extensive renovations to the school and dormitory, two large vegetable gardens with shade nets, 300 metres of water pipes laid in the rock-hard ground, a traffic course and a several sponsorships for its pupils.

Renovation Painting Worldwide with Her(t)z Heinrich Hertz School Hamburg Naukluft Foundation ǂNabasib BüllsPort Lodge & Farm Namibia
Colourful, fresh exterior paint: The ‘Weltweit mit Her(t)z AG’ (project group) of the Heinrich Hertz School in Hamburg after the work is done. Its founder Wolfgang Thiel on the far right. Photo (September 2023): ‘Worldwide with Her(t)z AG’

Retired employees of the Henkel company, Beate and Fred Schambil, who were guests at BüllsPort and visited the school, established contact with the Fritz Henkel Foundation. Over the years, the foundation has financed two photocopiers, a loudspeaker system for events, mattresses, uniforms and trips to the NaDEET eco-training centre. Not forgetting the first sets of the THRASS system (Teaching Handwriting Reading & Spelling Skills) for English lessons.

Fritz Henkel Foundation English lessons THRASS Naukluft Foundation ǂNabasib BüllsPort Lodge & Farm Namibia
Valuable help from the Fritz Henkel Foundation for teaching English at primary school ǂNabasib: THRASS concept and material. Photo (2013): Naukluft Foundation

There are also many private donors, friends and guests of BüllsPort. Such as Udo Kübli and Clärin Bohn, who ask for donations instead of gifts on birthdays and other anniversaries. The total value of support via the Naukluft Foundation, as at January 2023: Over 1.1 million Namibia Dollar.

A considerable amount. And yet not enough to bring ǂNabasib anywhere near the level of European primary schools and school hostels. Attending state schools in Namibia has been free of charge for years, while the home stay is heavily subsidised. The budget for education is always one of the largest items in the budget (see, for example, the UNICEF report), but can only cover the bare essentials.

The ǂNabasib school’s own fundraising initiatives

ǂNabasib also helps itself. With occasional charity events at which Ababis and BüllsPort donate meat from the regulation of the oryx and zebra populations.

And with a guided tour of the school (‘Give & Take Excursion’ School ǂNabasib), as a money-making activity for tourists. It goes without saying that BüllsPort and Ababis recommend a trip to ǂNabasib to their guests.

School ǂNabasib Traditional dance Owambo BüllsPort Lodge & Farm Namibia
A worthwhile experience for holidaymakers in Namibia: after a teacher has taken the visitors on a tour through the ǂNabasib primary school, pupils perform traditional dances from their ethnic group – in this case a Nama dance. Photo: Sven-Eric Stender

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