First of all, thank you to all who sponsor this great project!
Thanks to your sponsorship I can go every week to the schools were I teach 2 Eco Clubs about the environment. The Ramatau Eco Club has about 30 members, and the Maahlamele Eco Club has around 50 members. We meet weekly after school to discuss different subjects; we already talked about all of the big 5 animals. The children wrote their most magical moment in their lives, here is a magical moment that I personally really liked:
One day I was walking in the street and I saw a very sick dog. I took the dog to the hospital and later the dog was fine. The owner of the dog thanked me and I felt really good because I helped an animal.
Khomotso, 16 years
They also wrote the goals and objectives for their ecoclub in groups of four. One of the groups came up with the following:
"We want to be famous about what we are doing, to be seen on TV. To go to USA to represent our country and club".
Dream big right?
Last week it was extremely exciting, we held elections for the positions of the club president, chairperson and treasurer! The candidates had to give a speech, and they were very serious about it, convincing the others to vote for them! They learn so much more than what they think.
We also planted trees at the school with the children. They now know why trees are so important to us, they provide us oxygen! After planting the trees in the hard and dry soil, they had to get some water, because they know that trees need water to grow. The club is responsible for the trees, they are taking care of them, and they feel so important because of it.
Because of this project these kids don't only get more education, guidance and learn more about life skills, they gain so much more self confidence and feel special. They have the feeling that someone cares and that is the most important thing!
No no no, we didn’t forget you, although January is almost over, we are still in time to thank you for your great support last year and all the previous years! It is greatly appreciated and we are proud to have you as part of the Daktari family. We wish you all great happiness for the New Year and look forward to another year of working with you.
2011 saw our Global Giving friends almost reach our $40,000 target for the “Over 220 South African youth educated about nature” project. This year we will be introducing a new project and hope that we can count on your continued support, both financial and moral, in 2012. We in turn will bring you regular updates and exciting news from Daktari!
Last year Daktari hosted a whopping 387 underprivileged children and we hope to continue that success in 2012. From talking to international volunteers, to learning about life cycles, fun and games to three square meals a day, the children really enjoy their time at Daktari and leave with a new sense of purpose and pride in both themselves and their country. Daktari plants the seed of environmental awareness in these children, they must then nourish it and help it to grow. Risette, the Outreach Manager (see project “Teach over 200 kids in eco clubs in rural villages”) asked the kids last week to write about their best memory, more than half of them wrote about Daktari. It is small things like this that truly touch our hearts and give us the will to continue with the work that we are doing.
Thank you again for your support,
The Daktari Team :o)
Thank you so much for your continued support of Daktari! We are currently working with our last group of children for 2011, and are excited to say that we have welcomed 387 children for week-long stays this year! Those 387 children had the opportunity to work one-on-one with an amazing group of international volunteers, take care of injured and orphaned animals, and make a commitment to make South Africa a better place. We couldn't do it without our sponsors, so thank you from all of us!
I also wanted to update you a bit on some special things we are able to do with the children each week. One of the coolest things we do is to take the children every Wednesday morning to Makalali, which is a private game lodge that borders our land. The rangers there take the children around behind the scenes where they are able to meet all the different people that are employed at the lodge. Before they leave they have a short lesson with the volunteers called “Job Opportunities,” where they learn about the different jobs, the type of training and education required for each, and the correlation between staying in school and making a higher salary. This lesson and the experience at Makalali are especially important in this area because jobs in ecotourism are prevalent, and the children do not usually know that they exist. The kids brainstorm a ton of questions before they leave, and have the chance to ask the employees at Makalali all about their jobs. It's also a great chance for them to look for wildlife out of the open air vehicles and they yell, “STOP!” every time they see a new animal! They are so excited when they see these wild animals for the first time.
We have one other bit of exciting news – thanks to our Global Giving donors (spurred by a fundraising campaign from our current American Volunteer Coordinator) we raised over R30,000 to re-do the roof of our kitchen and lounge before the rains hit! We now have a tile roof in place of our old thatched roof full of holes – and now there is a dry place for the kids to spend time when it is raining outside!
It has been an incredible and exciting year here at Daktari. The volunteers, the animals, and especially the children thank you for your support! Have a wonderful holiday season, we look forward to updating you again in the new year!