Thanks to everyone who has donated so far, we have been able to make some progress with the development of our Eco Clubs and our work with the children of the local village! We were able to start our second Eco Club at Maahlamele Secondary School, in The Oaks Village. They meet twice a week after school and our Outreach Manager attends the meeting every Thursday to support them with their goals. Already there are around thirty-five members of the club who are so excited to learn more about the environment, animals, and ways to help their community!
We also organized a meeting with the Ramatau Eco Club and Childline. Childline is a non-profit organization in South Africa that provides guidance and information for children. They also have a crisis hotline children can call for free twenty-four hours a day if they need advice or assistance with any problems in their lives. Three representatives from Childline attended the meeting, and took turns speaking to the group about HIV/AIDS, peer pressure, and the different forms of abuse. The children were enthusiastic, and said afterwards that they learned a lot!
One of the Ramatau Eco Club’s ideas was to visit other schools around their village and tell them about the importance of taking care of the environment. One of the children in the Eco Club, Grace, has a younger brother attending primary school, and she took the initiative to contact the school and arrange a day when they could go and speak to every grade. Four girls from Ramatau went with the Outreach Manager to the primary school, where they started in Grade 7 and worked their way down to the littlest kids. They talked about how important it is to throw all your trash in a trashcan, why they shouldn't cut down trees or kill animals, and about how pollution is bad for the Earth. They even talked about noise pollution! It was a great opportunity for the kids to share what they have learned, and as a reminder for the younger children to be aware of the environment and their community.
We are happy to be making progress with our goals, but have so much more we would like to accomplish! We have three more schools to start Eco Clubs in, and a lot more ideas for things we can do with the kids! We are still especially looking for funds for a vehicle so that we no longer have to rent a car for our Outreach Manager to travel to the villages and work with the clubs.
We organised our first clean up in Metz village!
At 11.00 the Daktari volunteers met twenty enthusiastic kids at the taxi rank in Metz village. To set the tone, we started off by singing together, followed by talking about littering and how long it takes plastic to break down (10.000 years!). Mokgadi, from the Maruleng municipality, came and brought us 40 garbage bags and gloves. The volunteers and kids cleaned the whole taxi rank as well as about 3 kilometres of street towards Ramatau School, and it looked fabulous! When we finished we had 65 full garbage bags! To celebrate, we took the kids for a soft drink at the dam, with a beautiful view of the mountains. We are very proud of all their hard work!
We also had our first official meeting with the Ramatau Wildlife Club! Until we have enough funding for a car of our own, we will borrow Daktari’s once a month to attend a Wildlife Club meeting. The Ramatau Wildlife club consists of 25 very enthusiastic members! For our first visit we had a brainstorming session where the children told us all of their ideas for what they want to change in their community. They came up with some great ideas! For example, they want to set up a recycling centre and plant trees at their school, and make sure there are enough dustbins in their community so people will not litter. Daktari’s next step is to start looking for sponsors who can support the project with funds, knowledge or materials. It feels so good to help these children make a difference!
In June we invited the children of the Qokiso orphanage for a week of education. These children are very far from Daktari and we thought we would also give them a chance to get our attention. This is the review we received from Mrs Bjorg Krane Bostad in charge of the Qokiso orphanage after the departure of the children.
... "Thank you so much for giving our kids such a good time. The week spend at Daktari is such a wonderful and unforgettable experience for our orphans, and it makes such a good impact on their lives.
I asked some of them what they liked best, and Humphrey said without having to reflect: The food!!! I had a good laugh, he just loves food, and might not get enough at home for all we know.
Mathapeto cherished the private sessions she was having with one of the volunteers, her eyes were shining talking about it.
One of the other girls mentioned the talk session about sexuality as a highlight.
And everybody loved the way they were taught and playing and having fun at the same time.
For my orphans, coming to Daktari for a week is a life changing experience.
It is not just the bush experience and the animals that are highlights forthem, but the volunteers! To have adults talking to them, helping them,teaching them, playing with them, giving them love and attention all thetime is for them a totally new and soul saving experience. They come fromovercrowded classrooms of 40 students, from child headed households or a family member that has taken them in without really having the means to feedmore mouths. To experience the warmth, the fun and laughter and peerguidance at Daktari gives them a feeling of self and that they matter whichthey sorely need. They come back to their village as different youngsters,they have felt valued and important and this they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
So, thank you all so much for doing what you are doing in the way you are doing it. It works wonders on hungry souls, that’s for sure!!!”…
Best regards from Sarah and Bjørg at the Qokiso Orphans Project