Lebensschule, (translates to School of Life) was founded by retired nurse Kathy Hampe, born in Rehoboth and currently resides in Windhoek, Namibia. Children with disabilities are frowned upon and it is considered a curse in the culture. While working with families during her nursing career, Kathy came across many disabled children in the homes she visited. She decided that something needed to be done to include these children in the community. She founded Lebensschule to try to provide an opportunity for the children to gain an education and also provide much needed physical, occupational, and speech therapy. Kathy is always there to offer emotional support to both the children and their families.
Lebensschule has had many short term locations throughout the years, the last being shared with an undertaker, with coffins in one room and Kathy and the children in an adjoining room. The Namibian Government eventually donated a piece of land in Rehoboth to Kathy, her volunteers, and the children. With the help of the community and donations, a concrete building was erected and is now home to Lebensschule.
Kathy leaves her home in Windhoek every Monday morning to catch a bus or a ride to Rehoboth (about one to two hours drive), to work at Lebensschule along with her three volunteers. She stays the week in Rehoboth (with family or rents a room), and returns to Windhoek and her own family on Friday evening after school ends. An old minivan was donated to the school, which is how she travels around the community to pick up her children and drop them off home again each day. In addition to the care received at Lebensschule, the children are provided a meal which may consist of rice, vegetable or pasta, depending on what has been donated. Twenty eight children are enrolled in the school with many of them attending daily, while others attend every other day. With only four ladies working in Lebensschule (two of which have disabled children themselves), the schedule is determined for each child on an individual basis according to their needs.
Lebensschule has several options for recreational activities including a horse rink, small therapy pool, and a large greenhouse, however they can rarely benefit from them due to lack of funds and manpower. Not only would the horse and aqua therapy help the children immensely, the greenhouse would provide a great source of food and nourishment for both the children and the staff of Lebensschule. The surplus produced in the greenhouse could be sold to provide a much needed source of income, but would only be possible if maintenance assistance was available.
As word has spread about Lebensschule and the extraordinary work Kathy and her lady volunteers are carrying out with the children with disabilities, public schools have now started to refer children to her. This has made it difficult for Kathy, as Lebensschule is run on donations alone. They are working towards acquiring Government assistance for the care and running of Lebensschule, but to no avail at this time. For now, Lebensschule continues to rely solely on donations and the work of volunteers to ensure that the school remains open. Kathy will continue her work to promote the growth and acceptance of Lebensschule and schools alike, until they are accessible to any Namibian child in need. Every little bit of support and encouragement goes a long way!
Kickin’ Back has committed support to the maintenance and upkeep of Lebensschule on a monthly basis. This has been made possible by donations from local children who have chosen to participate in the “Sponsor A Month” program.
Anyone can participate in the "Sponsor A Month" program. Organize a fundraiser to raise $200 to sponsor a month of maintenance costs to run Lebensschule. Members of the local community built the school but they need your help to maintain it. Every dollar that you collect will go directly to helping the school.
How do we begin
Pick a month to sponsor starting August 2015
Choose an activity to raise money - collect cans, run a bake sale, sell hand-made items, run a car wash - the choices are unlimited – get creative and work together as a team.
Collect the funds and share with us how you did it.
LSC Crooked Rooster
LSC Dutchess Red Doors