My writing is inspired by children

Hilma Weber introducing one of the children books she has written.

Me introducing one of the children books I have written.

My early career has been in the tourism sector in Namibia, where I worked for nearly 15 years and achieved a senior management position. With the birth of our son, I took the decision to become a stay home mom and start to engage in something different.

Namibia is a very unequal society, and I always had the desire to do my part in improving the lives of the less fortunate, especially children. Soon I had the opportunity to contribute to the establishment of the not for profit organisation ‘Development Workshop Namibia’ (DWN), which today is one of Namibia’s most dynamic NGOs with a focus on improving the lives of people living in informal settlements and slums.

In 2019 I initiated an Early Childhood Development (ECD) programme for DWN, called ` Play for All`, with a focus on supporting kindergartens in informal settlements. I started by preparing and distributing metal boxes filled with donated children’s books to these kindergartens, spending time reading to the children, and sensitizing the kindergarten teachers about the importance of reading to young children.

Hilma Weber interacting with children during one of her visits to kindergartens.

Me interacting with children during one of my visits to kindergartens.

‘Play for All’

‘Play for All’ grew rapidly into a large and diverse ECD programme across the country, with a variety of activities including teacher training courses, parents’ workshops, distribution of teaching and learning materials and setting up over 100 library boxes in kindergartens.

My biggest passion around early childhood development has always been the importance of early literacy skills, children’s books and especially geography for children. This is rooted in my own childhood. There were simply no children’s books where I grew up and it was only in my early professional career that I discovered the pleasure and richness of reading books.

Inspired by the interactions I had with children, I started writing children’s books which were published by DWN. The first book was a Children’s Picture Atlas of Namibia, the first of its kind in Namibia. Motivated by the positive reception of the book, I wrote three more books, and more than 50,000 copies of these books have now been distributed to kindergartens and children from disadvantaged backgrounds.