It is rare to come across an organisation that has an impact on its community as strong as Mondesa Youth Opportunities. MYO is a non-profit trust that offers intensive education intervention for students from underprivileged households who show ability and promise. Situated in the township of Mondesa in Swakopmund, MYO is a beacon of hope for students who would otherwise fall through the cracks of Namibia’s struggling public education system. 

It is 14:00 on a Tuesday as we enter the grounds of MYO. The children are neatly standing in their class rows, after starting the afternoon at MYO with a nutritious meal. A whole day at school can get long for these learners (they only leave at 17:00) and one can’t think properly on an empty stomach. For some of these students this is their biggest and sometimes only meal for the day. 

“Welcome visitors,” they enthusiastically greet us in a chorus. After short announcements, they depart to their respective classes for a 30-minute homework period before lessons begin. MYO offers education subsidies to select Grade 4 – 8 students who show promise. Each class is grouped according to grade and made up of only 24 learners. MYO students receive extra training in maths, reading, English, life skills, computer science, music (recorder or marimba) and sports. This additional training is invaluable as the overcrowded classrooms of public schools are not conducive to proper learning. 

Anke Husemeyer, who has been managing the project since 2019, shows us around the grounds and tells us about MYO’s humble beginnings and what it has grown into. The MYO program was initiated by its founder, Robert Myres, with the aim of getting children off the streets. As a passionate tennis player, he came up with the idea of starting with tennis lessons. The program was conceptualised in 2003 and officially launched in 2004, coinciding with the start of the new school year. Further expansion led to the establishment of the MYO organisation in 2005. The organisation has grown considerably since then and it still offers sport and music programs, but its primary focus is on providing academic support to underprivileged students. 

The MYO program provides a strong foundation over the course of five years to prepare students for high school. This

foundation not only focuses on academic subjects but also on the development of the whole young person, including the teaching of life skills. “We want to ensure that our students have the confidence and values necessary to navigate life’s challenges. By working in small groups and creating a familial environment, we are better able to achieve this goal. Our students have gone on to excel in their studies. All former MYO learners passed their AS levels last year, a remarkable accomplishment that fills us with pride,” Anke beams. 

Also remarkable about MYO is the fact that there is no cost for the student’s family, but attendance is mandatory. MYO maintains discipline in the classroom and encourages its learners to develop leadership skills in addition to academic excellence. They come from the various underprivileged schools from the surrounding townships. MYO selects the learners at the end of their grade 3 year on the criteria of English comprehension, reading and maths ability. Another criterion is that these learners’ parents cannot afford to support the quality of schooling their children need. Each class goes on two field trips per year so that the joys and lessons of wider life outside of their immediate environments are experienced. 

An exceptional quality in the various classrooms is how energetic the students are. When a question is asked almost everyone raises a hand. It is self-evident that each student not only wants to be here but enjoys being a part of MYO. 

Due to the increasing study load at their respective high schools, learners leave MYO when they have completed grade 8. However, MYO encourages its alumni to remain in touch. It offers all MYO alumni free use of its library and dedicates computers for them to use for their homework and research. In addition, MYO has started a formal alumni program where former MYO students are invited once a month to participate in workshops conducted by a life skills coach. Within this program, guidance and mentoring on self-improvement, increasing self-assurance and motivation, communication skills, career opportunities, study tips and future planning are provided. 

We asked two alumni what MYO meant to them. “MYO was like a home away from home and I didn’t want to leave. The classes helped so much to understand school work better as it was a recap of what we did in class. Now I can come back as an alumnus and use the computers to do my homework and research,” says Maria Mushimba. Selma Sevanyenga adds, “I would put MYO above school. It was such a great opportunity and valuable experience.” 

MYO is a non-profit, registered Namibian Trust that operates entirely on donations. Donations are used to fund salaries for the teachers and support staff, pay for utilities and facility upkeep, transport for students, their lunch, textbooks, workbooks, writing utensils, and more. 

MYO is a true testament to the power of education and the positive impact it can have on individuals and communities. Its commitment to providing quality education and leadership development to underprivileged students is inspiring. MYO’s work is a reminder that with dedication, hard work and community support we can create a better future for ourselves and those around us. 

To support MYO visit or contact Anke Husemeyer at