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RECENT ARTICLES ON THE HELMUT BLEKS FOUNDATION IN "NAMIBIA TODAY"

By Matthias Bleks
The above matter refers. We wish to take the opportunity on this occasion of your reporting on the recent events at the Helmut Bleks Foundation to rectify a few facts and put some of the allegations made public by your newspaper in the right perspective.

Firstly, the correct name of our institution is HELMUT BLEKS FOUNDATION and not Herman Bleks Foundation as reported in your publication from 14 October 2011.

With reference to your article from 7 October 2011 kindly ask you to note our statements and comments with regard to the students' allegations and complaints as follow:

The question if and how the Helmut Bleks Foundation is registered and/or accredited is clearly pointed out in the training contract, and had been thoroughly explained to the students by members of the Board of Trustees and the management Committee on several occasions;

Working at Eagles Rock Business Lodge is: Compulsory Part of the vocational training as offered by the Institute for Home Science;

Expressively described as such in the training contract; Each and every hour worked at the lodge - notwithstanding whether during training periods or community work - is being remunerated by the lodge management directly to the Foundation;

Such remuneration is undertaken exclusively by Eagles Rock Business Lodge Said remuneration are aimed at giving the students the satisfaction that they docontribute to the financing of their OWN vocational training, which in turn is entirely gratuitous;

The Helmut Bleks Foundation had not been established several years ago, but as early as 1973 and as the first private educational institution given children as well as adolescents the opportunity to study and visit school during the apartheid era;

The courses have a duration of two years each; first and second year courses are running parallel and with the departure of the second year students after their final examination there is a new intake of students; Working at the lodge is vital part of the internship and aimed at improving practical skills; all students signed the training contract, in which working at the lodge as a training context is unmistakably described;

It is absolutely clear who is a member of the management and who is a member of the Board of Trustees.

Apart from this having been explained to the students' body it should also have become clear by means of correspondence, the contract and memoranda. Without the help of the German volunteers classes in their current quality could never have been offered, as the Foundation has been searching for years to find qualified Namibian teachers;

The students in the framework of the training contract new exactly which activities they would have to follow at the lodge; insinuations of cheap labour and/or exploitation of the students are entirely unsubstantiated. Besides, anonymous charges laid with the Ministry Labour have been met with a complete lack of understanding, since working at the lodge is not "unpaid labour" but part of a practical Stage or internship that even contributes to the financing of the vocational training for the female youth.

All presented allegations are by and large unsubstantiated if they are contemplated on grounds of existing valid contracts and the day-to-day experiences of the vocational training. The sometimes denunciatory accusations are strongly rejected.

Finally, all representatives of the Helmut Bleks Foundation will gladly provide further information with proof if so requested. It would be much appreciated if at least you would publish an errata message, thus correcting the name of our institution as initially mentioned.

Trust that you will find all of the above in good order and remain.

With kind regards

Matthias Bleks
Trustee of the Helmut Bleks Foundation
Member of the Management Committee






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