DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage provides supplementary environmental and life skills education to Grade 8 learners in the nearby underprivileged communities. But DAKTARI is also a wildlife Orphanage for the animals that have no possibility of being released into the wild.
The wildlife orphanage started with a blind donkey and a bushbuck. Today, more than 80 animals call DAKTARI home, including that same blind donkey and bushbuck. DAKTARI takes in animals that have no possibility of being released into the wild.
Regularly, DAKTARI welcome baby animals: meerkat, mongoose, squirrels, Sable Antelope or bush-baby. Like all DAKTARI’s animals, they play a large role in the children’s education about the environment.
The children interact daily with the animals at DAKTARI’s wildlife orphanage. The animals live in enclosures throughout the camp or live free in the bush surrounding camp. Twice per day, the children assist our volunteers and staff with animal feeding and care. Sometimes the children and volunteers can help raise small animals until they can be released back into the bush.
The DAKTARI Wildlife Orphanage offer the opportunity for the students to see a cheetah, jackal, or even a meerkat in person. Unfortunately, many of children have never seen the local wildlife even if they live near the Kruger National Park. The cost of entering these game reserves, both national and private, is too high for their families to afford. Their faces light up when they arrive and see a cheetah have a meal or have a squirrel jump on their shoulder. This experience inspires the children to want to protect these animals them!
At the end of each week, our volunteers choose a "winner" of the week according to their politeness, participation in the classroom, and their general enthusiasm and behavior during their week at DAKTARI. On Friday, the children have a ceremony to end their week and a "winner of the week" is chosen. They are rewarded with a tree that they can plant at home or at school and are invited to participate in a day trip with the winners from the other weeks.
This time, we took the eight children for a day trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp for a game drive! Our volunteer coordinator and two other volunteers accompanied the children on the drive.
They saw many animals including zebra, giraffe, kudu, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck, impala, caracal and two rhino families! They learned a lot about the wildlife and animals thanks to the knowledge of the wonderful ranger Richard. The children were amazed by the animals and even got to touch three beautiful cheetahs that were raised on the reserve. This is the first time that they got to see many animals in the wild.
Thank you for your continued support without which this would not be possible!
Last year was a busy year for DAKTARI. We welcomed 342 children to our camp from 4 different schools in the local area. They participated in our environmental education program and were taught by 131 dedicated volunteers from around the world.
Our normal teaching program begins next week where we will first welcome children from Maahlamele School. From Monday to Friday the children have lessons and activities centered around environmental themes. In contrast to their normal classes at school, the children that come to DAKTARI are given individual attention and are taught in a small group.
Near the end of the week, the children demonstrate what they have learned in a lesson called “Making South Africa a Better Place”. This is an important lesson as the volunteers and students work together to explain how the environment, wildlife and a clean community are important to the economy and culture of South Africa. At the end of the lesson, the children write down six personal promises to follow in order to improve their lives and protect the environment. Before they leave on Friday, they stand and read them out to the rest of the group.
We are very excited to start off our 2018 teaching program! None of this work would be possible without you and your support. If you are interested in continuing to support DAKTARI throughout 2018, consider making a recurring donation. A monthly donation provides DAKTARI with a reliable source of income so we can continue to update and improve our education program throughout the year.
We've had over 80 students here since you read our last project report!
We continue to educate the local school children when they come for their week here at DAKTARI around conservation, wildlife and the environment at our camp. Our volunteers work hard with the children to develop their own ideas around these issues, we have a lot of fun here with the kids and love greeting the new faces every Monday, we can't help but love seeing how excited they are when they see what's in store.
The start of November, the children from the eco-club took a trip to Moholoholo Rehabilitation Center.
Each week, as part of our outreach program, DAKTARI hosts eco-clubs at two local secondary schools: Maahlamele and Ragkolokwane. The eco-club is an after school activity that the children voluntary attend to learn more about the environment and conservation. Each eco-club is different but there is always a fun lesson or activity on a different environmental subject. The children help determine the curriculum and sometimes aid our Outreach Manager in teaching the classes.
After attending the club nearly every week, we were thrilled to be able to take these enthusiastic children on a field trip to Moholoholo. Moholoholo is a rehabilitation center that has lions, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas and many other incredible animals. Often they are there because they cannot be released into the wild. The children got to have a tour of the center and learned about all of the different animals. This was an incredible experience for them because although they are very passionate about conservation and the environment, this was the first time they had the chance to see some of South Africa's most famed wildlife.
Welcome back to DAKTARI, We've had over 70 students here since you read our last project report!
Last week, DAKTARI visited Lepono High School to conduct a workshop on the importance and value of education. DAKTARI runs an outreach program in addition to an environmental education program and wildlife orphanage. DAKTARI’s outreach program has four main parts: eco-clubs at two local secondary schools (Maahlamele and Rakgalokwana), community development, waste management and a job-hunting program.
Approximately 100 eight and ninth graders were able to participate in the workshop. In small groups, the children spent seven minutes interviewing a DAKTARI volunteer about their job and previous education. Once the seven minutes were up, the groups swapped and the children were able to interview another volunteer. The children asked the volunteers what they do, what they studied at school and whether or not they went to university. By the end of the workshop the students had spoken to seven volunteers who were from different countries around the world. The volunteer’s career and education backgrounds were all vastly different which was beneficial for the students as it highlighted that basic education is important no matter what job you want to do!
We also continue to educate the local school children when they come for their week here at DAKTARI around conservation, wildlife and the enivonrment at our camp. Our volunteers work hard with the children to develop their own ideas around these issues, we have a lot of fun here with the kids and love greeting the new faces every Monday, we can't help but love seeing how excited they are when they see what's in store.
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