Dear supporting friends,
I hope you all are well and enjoying a sunny summer… at least if you are living in the northern hemisphere. For the people in the southern hemisphere: better times are coming, as spring is on its way :).
The children of the Eco Club just went through a tough month, as they had to write exams. I am very glad to announce that they all survived and passed; well done all! The Eco Club was still alive & kicking, since the exams could not withhold most children from attending the Eco Club for even more education. A great reward for us as this shows once again how dear and important the environmental club is for the kids!
During the first lesson we worked on decorating our classroom to make it an even more inspiring and pleasant learning environment. We teamed up to hang curtains (early preparation for the summer to come!), attached some motivating quotes to the wall and did a big clean. Thanks to your generous gifts the classroom looks nice and fine again!
The next lesson was on advertising & media – something different and out of the box for Eco Club, but really important. We looked at tricky advertisements (even in their own village!) that use the ‘appeal to pity’ technique and watched convincing commercials. Although the media are tricky, we underlined that their techniques are not necessarily wrong or dishonest. Moreover, it is the person who uses a camera who decides what to show and what to leave out. The kids really are now aware of the hazards and secrets of the advertisers. Mission accomplished!
We also talked about rubbish, for example the ‘RRRC-principle’: reduce, re-use, recycle and compost. We discussed the rubbish problem in the local village. The children understand the problem and would love to use dustbins instead of burning their waste. We emphasized that, although it seems very difficult, they are the ones who can make a change. As Nelson Mandela said: “It always seems impossible, until it is done.”
We ended the lesson with crafting wallets… out of old milk cartons! The children never saw this before and were surprised of what you can do with this regular type of waste. The hard work was rewarded, as it resulted in some beautiful and useful wallets.
A Dutch take-over at the next Eco Club! Four Dutch volunteers (including myself) introduced the children to the country of windmills, wooden shoes and tulips. Next to topography and the national anthem, we played Old Dutch games, such as sack race and T-shirt hanging. We ended the lesson with an estimation quiz. Do you for example know how far the walk from The Netherlands to The Oaks village is? Or how many times the Netherlands fits in South Africa? No? Look it up ;). The children as well as the volunteers had loads of fun. As we would say in the Netherlands: een geslaagde les! The students now enjoy their well-deserved holidays!
Thank you friends, for your continued support. We are thinking of you and cannot emphasize enough that your donation is more than precious. We still have many ideas and so much more we would like to accomplish! For example, we are planning to do more crafting, for which stationary is needed. Moreover, for the children to visualize how decomposition of different materials works, we would like to make a solid decomposition box so that they can follow the process day by day.
Best regards and take care,
Toine Vos, Eco Club teacher and Outreach Programme Coordinator
Wow! We are blown away by your generosity and the quick response we had to our appeal for help to repair our bakkie!!
"You never appreciate what you have until you lose it."
A quote that perfectly reflects the momentary loss of our precious bakkie! Be it the squeaky gear box or the discomfort of travelling in the back of the car while driving on the perfectly 'smooth' roads around the DAKTARI farm, the bakkie has never been the most loved of the cars. But when it broke down we were all really able to appreciate how important it is for our work! It helps us go to the EcoClubs every week, carries heavy loads around the farm, serves as a transport for food to and from the farm, helps with the transport of animals when they need to go to the vet or when they are being picked up or released, and even carries the volunteers to the Bush-Bar on saturday night!
Fortunately, and exclusively thanks to the help that you provided, we were able to fix the bakkie, making it possible to resume work as usual at the farm. No more fetching firewood on foot!
More importantly, we are now able to perform work on the farm more easily, such as transporting animals to and from the vet with a lot more comfort for both us and the animal.
Again, we would like to thank you for your continued support for the project as a whole, and particularly for fully funding this initiative so quickly. Support like yours makes our work easier!
I invite you to continue supporting DAKTARI’s projects and other initiatives such as the Environmental Education for the children or the maintenance and care of all the animals at the camp! Without YOU we would not be making the impact we want to make!
Dear supporting friends,
You are probably very curious about what we did last month at the Eco Club, am I right :-)? I will tell you all about it, of course, but at first I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Toine Vos and since the beginning of May, I am in charge of DAKTARI’s Outreach Programme. This means also that for the next year, I will be teaching the children at Eco Club, which is without a doubt already the best part of my job. It is amazing to enlarge DAKTARI’s educational impact at the local schools and it really touches me that the children come voluntarily to learn more about the environment and wildlife.
So, what have we been up to the past month? The first lesson was a sad lesson, as Sara, our previous Eco Club teacher, said goodbye to the children. In a relatively short time she managed to built a great relationship with them of which I can only dream of. Her farewell lesson was about music and we learnt about the background of musicology and how music can be linked to animals. For example, did you ever hear of zoomusicology?! In the end, everyone could do a little performance. Even the shiest kids took the ‘stage’ and everyone applauded for each other, resulting in a visible confidence boost to the children. Priceless!
My first own lesson was about animal cognition and the goal was to learn that animals are smarter than one thinks. We read about birds, chimpanzees, dolphins and elephants, supported by video material of particular smart animals. As soon as the children saw the video of an elephant painting a beautiful tree, they were blown away. Mission completed.
Another Eco Club was dedicated to animal populations and their dynamics. All credits for the suggestion of this topic go to Thomas, a smart boy from grade 10 who wished to learn more about populations. After the introduction of the word populations, we discussed J-curves, S-curves and the food chain. Especially the girls did a good job by being very concentrated and active during the class. However, I have to say, the boys should not go unmentioned either. Tyras for example dared to be a teacher for a moment by explaining to his classmates the predator-prey relationship. And he really nailed it! Afterwards, the students did exercises on the topic, assisted by short-term DAKTARI volunteers and I. The individual attention made them visibly feel special and they all seemed to understand it. In the end, Thomas and some other kids came to tell me that they learnt a lot this week. That is the greatest reward you can get as a teacher!
Every six months the most improved children of each Eco Club get a reward, as a way to encourage all of them to do their very best. Thanks to your generosity, this is possible, for which the children and we are really thankful. However, I thought it might be good to involve the children in the fundraising process. Of course, this is only symbolic, but very valuable for example to develop their marketing skills. We started by talking about income and expenses of an NGO such as DAKTARI and made up a couple of awesome ideas to raise funds. Some kids will bake and sell cookies, whereas others will do bob-a-jobs for their friends and family. The process is supervised by Nanatjie and Jeremia; the respective chairman and treasurer. The majority of the students seem to be excited to rock this project. Definitely to be continued!
Last but not least, I would like to thank all of you who support the Eco Club from the bottom of my heart. Like I said, I have only been teaching the Eco Club for one month, however I can already firmly state that this education really makes a change for the children and hence the animals and environment. That is what motivates us and where we do it for; now and in the future!
Take care and I am looking forward to updating you about the Eco Club the coming 11 months.