Following our last report, we wanted to bring you a testimonial from Kutullo himself on his experiences with GVI:
My journey started a long time ago, when I was still in primary school. GVI used to visit our school every week and teach us about the natural world and the animals around us. It was then that I fell in love with the wild and wanted to learn as much as I could.
At the end of the school year GVI ran a competition for all of the children in my school to have the chance of going on a game drive, around the Karongwe reserve. I couldn’t believe it when my team won! I had never been on a game drive – even though where I lived was surrounded by game parks. In fact none of my family has ever gone on a game drive – I was going to be the very first one!
Arriving at the GVI base we were greeted by the staff and then helped onto the GVI trucks. I clearly remember the excitement of travelling through the reserve with my classmates and wondering what we would see. We saw lots of antelope and were lucky enough to see two male cheetah too.
It was at that moment I felt that I had just found my ‘soul’. I fell in love with the animals on Karongwe and knew that one day I wanted to work as a guide when I finished school.
After I finished High School I joined Daktari Bush School to learn more about our natural world for eighteen months. It was towards the end of this that I was lucky to have another breakthrough in August 2013, I was accepted by GVI as a National Scholar to attend the Karongwe Wildlife Research program for 12 weeks.
That was literally the most exciting 12 weeks of my life. I learnt so much about wildlife, tracking game, the environment and managed to get my FGASA Level 1 Nature Guide Qualification. I felt I was well on my way to achieving my dream of becoming a guide.
My study and hard work paid off when GVI offered me a role as a Research Assistant. That was truly the best thing that has ever happened to me. It was a very emotional moment for me. I felt I finally achieved my childhood dream when I took my first game drive. Now I get the chance to introduce people to the amazing wildlife of Karongwe – just like GVI did for me when I was a child.
Kutullo's journey has only been possible through your support so thank you.
All the best
GVI South Africa
This is Kutullo. Kutullo is a South African national who was selected to be a national scholar on the GVI Karongwe expedition for the last quarter of 2013. He had previously been a Daktari student and thereafter an active Daktari Eco-clubs and Outreach member.
Kutullo has a huge passion for conservation and wildlife but he lacked the ability to get the required qualifications needed in South Africa to work in this field. Whilst working as a scholae with GVI, he underwent training on a host of wildlife and conservation research related ropics. However, by the end of his scholarship he still required his FGASA level 1 qualificaton (theory and practical) and his driver’s licence (also learners and practical test) before he could be employable.
Donations were used to assist Kutullo with all of these qualifications, enabling him to register with the tourism department as an entry level field guide. This has opened the door for Kutullo to gain employment as a field guide, and the early stages of a promising career in eco-tourism and nature conservation. Kutullo is currently in the final stages of in-house training in 4x4 and off-road driving techniques in a dangerous wildlife environment!
Thank you for your support for this project, you have helped to change a disadvantaged youth to pursue his dream career. He can now act as inspiration to all the children at Daktari and the eco-clubs for their future.
This month we did something a little different! Whilst we focus on environmental education in the communities, we also try to spend time helping our community in other ways. In the local village, The Oaks, close to GVI Karongwe hub, there is a little crèche with the name of Mmakadi. The founder and owner of the crèche, Gloria, is a very warm and friendly lady always welcoming people with open arms. Gloria’s goal is to give children, from the ages of 0-5, a safe place to stay during the day while their parents are at work. Mmakadi has been open since January 12, last year and has grown to a capacity of no less than 73 children.
It is at this crèche that a batch of GVI volunteers got to help out and make bricks for a new building that Gloria is in dire need of. The crèche houses about 70 children on a daily basis, with very little infrastructure. The ladies working at the crèche are cooks, teachers, nurses and ‘day mothers’ to these kids, so there is very little time to pay attention to painting of walls or making of bricks.
Our volunteers are all to happy to help out, especially if it means they get some play time with the adorable local village children. We are in the process of making the playground more fun and educational. One of our current staff Interns, Kathryn Anderson showed a lot of initiative when she asked her friends and family at home in Australia to donate any children’s books they could spare. Now we have a very well stocked pile, or library if you must, of educational children’s books.
Thank you for supporting our communities.
Thanks for your support for this worthwhile project.
I hope this report finds you well. In this report, I wanted to share with you how recent donations have allowed local children to spend a day on safari!
Twelve local students from the Diputhi School came to experience a real-life safari! Most of the children, aged between 6-8, had never seen wild animals on a game reserve despite growing up so close nearby. In roughly fifteen minutes the students were treated to hippos mock charging, giraffes sprinting, crocodiles, vervet monkeys, impala, and... drumroll please... the elephant herd! It was unbelievable luck, and while it was easy to fixate on the wildlife, the looks on the students faces were truly priceless. Like twelve year old girls at a Justin Bieber show, they screamed and giggled their way through the bush, scarcely sitting down but rather jumping and waving their hands in the air, and all the while eying the animals as superstar celebrities.
After the drive the students returned to base to enjoy peanut butter sandwiches and a game of soccer. From a conservation perspective, the afternoon was extremely heartening. One of the great struggles of modern conservation is inspiring locals, especially in developing countries, to take the future of the environment into their own hands. Hopefully, as a result of their visit, these kids will grow up to play an integral role in the sustainable management of local biodiversity.
Thank you, as always, for your continuing support for this project.
Long Term Intern, GVI Karongwe
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