Limpopo Province is rich in natural resources and cultural heritage, yet it is known to be the poorest and least educated area of South Africa, with an associated very high level of wildlife poaching. A lack of environmental education at all levels is a key cause of this. The Daktari Eco-Club, which includes activities such as litter clean-ups, educational bush-walks, day trips to learn about Eco-Tourism and wildlife helps instill the desire to preserve the environment. They live near the Kruger National Park and various private nature reserves but without this club, they would never get the chance to visit them.
The funds raised are helping the team facilitate more school visits and empowerment opportunities for the most promising eco-club students. We have seen up to 65 students in one class at an eco-club visit and the program is becoming more and more popular with the students. Attendance is entirely optional! This valuable experience will also open up opportunities and develop interest in youth to the great job opportunities available in eco tourism.
The Daktari Eco-Clubs in going from strength to strength. The funds raised are helping the team facilitate more school visits and empowerment opportunities for the most promising eco-club students. With an average attendance of 55 students at each eco-club visit, the program is becoming more popular with the students. Remember, attendance is entirely optional and requires a student to voluntarily stay at school up to two hours after the final bell rings. The message is spreading.
In the photo, Samantha Kieswetter, a long term intern with GVI is facilitating a lesson with one of the eco-clubs. There were 65 students in this class!
Here is a short letter from Grace Mulumba who, through the help of the Daktari Outreach program, achieved a full scholarship to the excellent Southern Cross School in Hoedspruit. Without the funds supporting the outreach program, the opportunity would not have been possible.
Dear all, I wanted to say 'Thank You' to everybody who is sponsoring and supporting me. I'm so blessed with everybody caring about me. I love my new school and learning a lot. I struggle a bit with Afrikaans, but I get some extra after school lessons now from Meneer Spike.I'm doing really well in my other subjects. I absolutely love maths and science and I'm learning so many new things every day. What I like the most about my new school is that everybody is equal, not only by skin colour, also for the ones who are the son or daughter of an important person, it doesn't matter. The teachers are very nice and really want us to learn. Only now I see what the differences are with my previous school, I hope I will have the opportunity to finish my school here, because I really don't want to go back. I tell all my friends and family at home, that if they work hard that they might have the same great chances as me in their future. Please click on the link (in previous post) and watch this short video that I made for you so I thank you a bit more personal. Thank you, Grace Mulumba
The Daktari eco-club is going strong with students continuing to learn about the value of wildlife conservation. Top performers have been able to experience animals in their natural habitat which is a huge incentive and reward. The clubs seem to becoming more popular as turnouts to meetings increase.
Rhino poaching, as a cause for critical concern at the moment, is a consistent topic. Numerous poachers come from the communities within which these children live. By instilling an appreciation for the Rhinos, eco-club students are able to avoid the temptation of practicing poaching and are able to spread the message within their communities.
The eco-clubs continue the English, etiquette and general communication lessons as started when the children were originally at Daktari. This has helped a number of students get through interviews at prospective jobs and for seeking scholarships at universities and high schools.
The funds received from our donors have covered 8 weeks of eco-club costs, including fuel and stationary for the club members, as well as handouts at all the lessons. A new projector was purchased which will be taken to all meetings at each school to present powerpoints and showcase pictures and videos concerning the conservation of South African wildlife. A portion of the money was also used to pay for transport so that some children could go on a professionally led game drive in a local Big 5 reserve.
Thank you for all your support for the students at the Daktari club, we hope that we can continue to connect with more children through the outreach program.
The outreach team continues to have weekly presence at Ramatau and Maahlamele High Schools with the help of a recent vehicle rental agreement, paid for by donations.
In recent news, the Ramatau Eco Club kids have started their very own dance troupe as part of their fundraising drive. Check out a video of their performances at www.youtu.be/v9ow6uzwmmA
The Bushwise field guide school (www.bushwise.co.za) students have also played their part by organizing and delivering bespoke lessons on the region’s ecology and wildlife conservation to the eco club students.
On the final weekend of September, the Ramatau kids were able to attend the Hoedspruit Sustainable Living Festival and help the festival organizers run the stalls and spread their message.
One of the most promising eco club students, Grace, has had an interview organized at the Southern Cross School in Hoedspruit, an excellent private school that is considering her suitability for a full scholarship! We will bring you news of Grace’s progress and the pending WESSA Eco Schools status of Ramatau and Maahlamele.
Who would push a Toyota Hilux 11 km up hills in the blistering sun? We would, of course, for charity that is! On May 30th , the Daktari Delivery Derby finally took place - And it turned out to be a great success with lots of fun along the way. Dressed in outrageous and silly gear, we began our odyssey at 6:45 a.m. and made it to Daktari by 11 am. Quite a feat! The staff and volunteers at Daktari took bets as when we would arrive, and none were even close to the mark! One person even thought we’d have to cheat and start the car! Obviously, they don’t know GVI.
To be fair, the whole ordeal was not a walk in the park. The numerous steep steep hills, the heat and the long distance made our efforts quite heroic. We were encouraged all along the way with our speaker system rigged to the car and a dedicated number of friends helping and cheering us on. Needless to say, “Eye of the Tiger” was played multiple times that day.
For our last 2 km, the team at Daktari joined us, making our final push seamless. We stopped just 100m shy of Daktari itself so that the local school kids currently at Daktari could help us cross the finish line. Afterwards, the kids gave us a beautiful performance of a few songs they put together and we presented them with our educational items that had been donated by local shops in Hoedspruit. The kids were overjoyed with their new ID books, coloring pencils and pens, ID posters, coloring paper, scrap paper and even a small pair of binoculars.
This DDD was only the beginning of our fundraising for Daktari. Our ultimate goal is £6000, all which will go to the Daktari Outreach program. The program intends to engage with students in local schools, particularly those that have previously attended Daktari Bush School, to assist and facilitate establishing Eco-clubs and provide guidance for running environmental activities and educational programs. Activities such as litter clean-ups, educational bush-walks, day trips to learn about Eco-Tourism and wildlife sanctuaries will be organized along with assistance in achieving eco-school status, and much more. We think it’s £6000 well spent.
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