From farmer to teacher… a mother’s touch
The inequalities of this world discriminates such that even the innocent are affected. Education is a basic need to a productive life but even that is denied to a few who are born in settings away from school. This is the life of children of farmworkers whose parents can barely make ends meet and are therefore not able to send them to pre-school.
This is the life of Judie Wiese who turned from full time farming to an educator – making sure the young ones whose parents cannot afford preschool at least gets the basics.
After 34 years of marriage today, Judie Wiese is mother of three sons, one of which had died in a car crash. However she has two other sons, one studying medicine and the other helping out in their farm. Their farm is mainly for the rearing of cattle Simmentaler/Brahman crossbreed
Brought up in Gobabis, Judie completed high school at Wennie du Plessis. She graduated with her B.Sc Degree from the University of Pretoria with Mathematics and Zoology as her main subjects.
For a few years she taught Mathematics at different schools like Academia Secondary School, Windhoek Afrikaanse Privaatskool (WAP) and Wennie du Plessis. After getting married she had a boer goat stud for 20 years. In 2009 she sold her stud to focus on breeding Arabian horses. During those years, as a couple they won numerous trophies in Namibia and South Africa during shows. She also served on the Boer goat breeders association for many years.
“One of my most special moments in endurance riding was in 2000 when I won the South African National Championship over 210 km at Fauressmith, SA. I will treasure those special times that allowed me as a mother to participate in a sport with her boys.” said Judie.
For a while now, Judie is involved with an organization called Amos Meerkat Schools with the logo “Living and farming God’s way.” The organization is a Christian based organization that strives to bring every person in Namibia into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and to equip them with the knowledge and skills to live and farm according to Biblical principles.
“We visited a lot of farms and realized that there are a lot of preschool children on farms that do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool” said Judie as she describes how they became part of the life-changing organization.
This reality brought about the birth of the Amos Meerkat Schools (AMS) in 2011. The projects started off with Hollard Insurance as the main sponsor and funding its operations.
Because of the need to accommodate more children, Amos grew quickly and parallel to that, more sponsors came on board.
Unlike her children who seem to have been directed towards the right path, Judie believes raising children on a farm is coupled with a lot of challenges of which many are centered around the mother.
While the cost factor is inevitable, Judie believes ignorance and the illiteracy of mothers themselves play a big role. “Because of that they lack to see the need for stimulations from birth and for education. Some of our AMS teachers fetch the children from their parents and teach them for free – only so that the children can benefit. Therefore, in rural communities the teachers really struggle to get the parents involved with the school and to pay a school fee, even if it is as little as N$30 per month.
Asked about the model they deploy to teach the boy and girl child, Judie cites Proverbs 15 verse 1 as she describes a girls upbringing, which values soft characteristics as an advantage.
‘ The Bible teach us that a soft and gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger”. She adds, “Vision, ambition and determination come from within yourself and in AMS we teach the characteristics that are necessary for integrity”. She went on to say that without respect fairness, caring, citizenship, responsibility and trustworthiness one cannot be successful in any career.
There are no limitations…
Unlike other women who face gender roadblocks on their roads to success, Judie begs to differ saying there were no gender limitations that she has to overcome while pursuing any job career. “As a women I believe that you need to know your field if you want to participate or compete in a field with men. I believe that men show respect and acknowledge women if you know your subject.” said Judie.
While at the need for women to stand know themselves and stand their ground by their dreams, Judie added that ambition without vision, determination and hard work mean nothing. “I believe that women in general have as much ambition as their male counterparts and a lot more determination and willingness for hard work.”
She went on to say that to put a dream in a little child’s mind is the beginning of ambition therefore there is an importance of pre-school for every child in Namibia.
Reflecting on her 4 year involvement in the project, Judie says it has been a blessing and every project has reaped the intended results. She calls on to women in Namibia to believe in the dream that God has given them. “He will also provide the means so stand up and make a difference in your community, your town and ultimately in your country.”