Over 220 South African youth educated about nature

by DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage Vetted since 2008 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit Site Visit Verified
Happy children at Daktari
Happy children at Daktari

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)

The last group of 2011
The last group of 2011
Mechanic at Makalali showing the kids under a car
Mechanic at Makalali showing the kids under a car

Dear Sponsors,

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! 

Working on the roof into the evening
Working on the roof into the evening
Group photo
Group photo

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


Qokiso orphans
Qokiso orphans

Dear Sponsor,

My name is Andrea, I am the new Office Volunteer at Daktari and will be updating you for the next year. Firstly I would like to give you my thanks and gratitude for your support and donations, without them Daktari would not be able to run and could not continue with the wonderful work it does with animals and children (and volunteers!)

So much has happened since May I don’t know where to start! 

Last month the local schools had exams and then school holidays, so for two weeks we had children from grade 7 and then the week after that we took in 10 children from Qoisi Orphanage in Bushbuck Ridge. It is always a real eye opener for the new volunteers when they meet underprivileged children, Daktari doesn’t just change the lives of the children, but of the volunteers as well. Seeing the children so happy with the little that they have makes us realise just what we take for granted, and makes us proud that we, and you, have taken the time and effort to help them.

The biggest change since May is that we now have a new dormitory for the children, sponsored by our donors from Germany. The volunteers all helped with the building and decorating to make it extra special. 

Our two baby Warthogs are growing up fast, they seem to think that they are dogs and spend a lot of time in Bullet’s basket! They are starting to spend more time outside of the camp now, hopefully they will soon spend most of their time out in the wild and only come back to us for visits. We’ll be sad to see them go, but will be happy that they are free, as nature intended. 

We have entered 3 photos into the Global Giving Photo Competition for August. I will keep you all updated on how it goes!!

Thanking you again for your continued support, 

 All the staff & animals at Daktari 

Our happy warthogs
Our happy warthogs


Lots of love before the surgery
Lots of love before the surgery

Dear Friends of Daktari, 

You haven’t heard from us for quite a while. It is because we have been very busy the last 3 Months and every single minute was worth it for working hard on Daktari’s goals.

First we had the GlobalGiving Bonus Days Campaign. Thanks to you, Daktari has been able to raise R 7,050.00. This amount helps us to cover the education/accommodation/food of 10 underprivileged children for a whole week at Daktari. What a great help of yours! 

In the past we honoured the child with the best results of the week with a little tree that was to be planted in the school. Now we decided to take in addition every two months the 10 best students to Kruger National Park for further wildlife- and job opportunity-experience. Well, and certainly also for a treat. The Kruger Park management enabled us to bring our ten best students every two months, free of charge, to the park. Daktari did the first excursion with the children coming from Leoma School. The volunteers sponsored the petrol of the car to make it possible. It was a real success!! But we certainly cannot always ask the volunteers to pay for the petrol and the usage of the car. That is the reason why we invented a new donation-button of the GlobalGiving page. Your usual support is also for this project very much welcome.

In Mai we had our Recurring Donation Campaign with GlobalGiving. We managed to get 14 donors motivated to make a recurring donation for Daktari of a total amount of $ 239. Thank you so much for your support! Succeeding in this challenge will also give us an extra bonus of $ 500 in about 4 month when the reccuring donations will have been honored. 

We have all plans ready for our new project and the button prepared for donations to get started. “Teach 125 Wildlife-Club Kids in rural village”. Basically the plan is to do a follow up and support the wildlife clubs that have been created by the children who previously visited Daktari. The project will employ one person who will go every day of the week to dynamise and assist the 5 wildlife clubs of the village.

The project aims to have a direct influence in schools and villages by extending Daktari’s already existing program. The aims of this program is to educate underprivileged children about the benefits of recycling, reducing pollution and anti-poaching; to provide guidance and tools to apply successfully for Eco-tourism jobs; to enable the schools to obtain the South African Eco-label; to organize trips to wildlife sanctuaries. It’s a great opportunity to encourage this project by making a recurring donation!!! 

Besides all the money-talk… Daktari was cut off for days from civilization in January due to heavy rainfalls. We received two Pied Crows named Elvis and Presley which joined our family and our donkey Freddy lost by an operation his manhood to calm him down in his moods.

All in all we must say that we had exciting, successful and happy months and look forward to what comes up next. We will keep you posted and thank you so much again for your support. We certainly don’t take all your donations for granted. 

The children and the animals of Daktari send you a big hug!

Volunteer teaching Maths
Volunteer teaching Maths
The children in their classroom
The children in their classroom



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Organization Information

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

Location: Hoedspruit, Limpopo Province - South Africa
Website: http:/​/​www.daktaribushschool.org
Project Leader:
Michele Merrifield
Hoedspruit, South Africa

Funded Project!

Thanks to 469 donors like you, a total of $38,751 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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