Encourage children to care for the Environment

by DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage
Mondays: Picking up the children in the village
Mondays: Picking up the children in the village

Dear Friends of Daktari,

We would like to thank you all for helping Daktari towards the purchase of the Toyota Quantum to safely transport the children. 

Every Monday, the mini bus is driving to the village to collect 8 to 10 children coming to Daktari for a week of education. This is a trip the children will never forget, as it is, for most of the children, their first interaction with wildlife although they live only 50 kms away. During these two trips coming from their village to Daktari, and back a week later, they often have the opportunity to see cheetahs, lions and even elephants while driving between the two beautiful game reserves of Karongwe and Makalali. What a treat for the children!!! 

It was very difficult to find the funds to purchase the vehicle but thanks to you, we’ve done it!!!  We still have to refund the loan we had to take, and this is taken care of by our regular volunteers. 

We trust you are pleased by your involvement with the education of the children and the protection of the environment and we are very honoured to have you with us on this matter. 

We invite you to read about out two other projects on Global Giving about conservation and we hope you will find them worth your support.



We wish you a lovely day and hope to hear from you very soon.

Best regards,

Fridays: Children returning to their village
Fridays: Children returning to their village


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 honored 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, 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 very much welcome for this project. 

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 recurring 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 dynamism 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!

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


I had an opportunity to spend a day and night at Daktari, visiting with Michelle Merrifield and her husband and counterpart Ian.  This was truly an eye-opening experience for me, because I did not grow up with animals in my house.  The closest thing I had to a pet was a goldfish in a tank that my brother, sister, and I foolishly tried to clean one night by refilling it in our bathtub, only to wake up the next morning to see that we had broken the seal of the tank and all 10 gallons had leaked onto the floor.  Being surrounded by wild animals of all kinds, ostriches, warthogs, a leopard, a donkey, a porcupine, etc. was an entirely new experience for me.

That said, I am so grateful to have had the chance to spend time at Daktari and to learn so much about the good they are doing in their surrounding communities.  Michelle and Ian use animals to educate children about life, caring for those that cannot help themselves (a lot of the animals came to the orphanage because they were injured in some way and left to be killed or experimented with), and social etiquette like politeness and being considerate of others.  Every week Ian drives to a school that is more than an hour away to pick up a group of eight to ten 8th grade students.  The students spend a week “camping” out at Daktari, where they learn about wildlife, participate in classes about basic math and reading, and also discuss life issues like how to reject drugs and alcohol and practicing safe sex.  Their days are packed with activity from a dog walk that starts at 7 a.m. to dinner that is complete by 8 p.m. 

Volunteers help maintain the camp and also serve as coaches and mentors for the kids.  Michelle and Ian also live on the bush school grounds, and they have visitors there 90% of the year.  In 2010, kids were visiting 49 out of 52 weeks.  Michelle and Ian exude passion and enthusiasm for the children they serve and the animals they care for that is contagious.  It is clear that the kids and animals love them just as much.  Michelle and Ian have literally given up all personal freedom and luxuries to fulfill their vision.  Michelle, for example, moved from a big city in France to the wild, with no electricity, and the closest airport more than five hours away.  What they have been able to build and maintain is really special and unique, and I am so glad to have had the opportunity to meet and spend time with them.

Group picture
Group picture

Dear sponsors,

Last week, Daktari was pleased to welcome Wilright, our local volunteer, for the next 4 weeks. He is invited to join us as a mediator between the volunteers and the students. He was one of the first children who came to Daktari five years ago when Daktari could only afford to invite local children for a weekend. Wilright has been really helpful during the lessons as some of the kids have difficulties to understand English.

During their week of environmental education, we also include social talks. One of them is about HIV/AID and, even with our local volunteer, Wilright, it was not that easy! During this talk, our international volunteers and Wilright contradicted each other. One of our students asked if it is dangerous for his health to have a relationship with a pregnant girl. Wilright answered that this kind of relation can ensue with disease for the man, above all if the girl is not his girlfriend. Although this is scientifically false, after long and interesting discussions with Wilright and the staff, this is a belief in their traditional culture. However, we had to tell the truth to the children. We tried to explain that sometimes cultural beliefs and science are contradictory. We understand and respect their culture however we need to explain to the children what is scientifically correct.

In all cultures, we can find beliefs that are not in accordance with science…

As a result, we figured out the volunteers really have to harmonize their speech and do not put the students in an awkward situation. It has definitely been an interesting experience that will be fruitful for the future, and making us realize that our local children need a lot of support in education in general.

Again, we thank you for your support and being a part of our project. Without your help we would not be able to achieve as much as we do.

Best regards.

Learning how to use a condom
Learning how to use a condom



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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, Limpopo Province South Africa

Funded Project!

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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