Busy, busy, busy. Children in the Wilderness staff have been on the go. Camps, follow-ups, eco clubs, mentor training, community initiatives and fundraising activities; these are just some of the things we’ve been up to.
Kgola, a past Children in the Wilderness camp participant, writes: ‘As a young boy my passion was to be a pilot one day. When I was staying in boyei ward just next to the airport I would climb up the tree and look down at the airport to see planes landing…all I wanted was to be in an aeroplane one day. It was in December 2004 when my passion was unleashed out, my first time in an aeroplane to Jacana. Thanks to Bana Ba Naga Programme. We were flying on a Cessna 206 and I was next to the pilot…I was so excited and filled with that energy of being there. I was so astonished by view from above’¦.most importantly it was a motivational chance for me. Even returning back to Maun I was still seated next to the pilot. It is Bana Ba Naga that ignited a spark in my life to be able to achieve the dream of my life’¦moreover I decided to work hard to achieve what I r eally want to be’¦.after my Form 5 in August 2008 I went to study commercial piloting in South Africa and graduated in March 2011. It is me KG now a qualified commercial pilot here in Maun. Thanks Bana Ba Naga for that opportunity.’
Children in the Wilderness’ Environmental Stewardship programme, is in its 5th year, held a camp at Khwai Discovery. This programme focuses on children identified on initial camp programmes who showed true interest in the environment and that have loads of potential. It is a 6 day and 5 night career guidance orientated camp, hosting 24 children. The curriculum is an extension of the concepts that they were introduced to on the initial programme. Bianca Tshekiso was one of the brilliant, confident children we hosted. Before she came to camp she envisaged a nursing career. Now she would like to become a manager in one of the Wilderness camps in the Okavango Delta. Daniel Thigwagwa from Maun’s Shashe Primary was keen to learn about camp operations that he voluntarily asked t o help the laundry ladies in the Housekeeping Department.
Some children from the local schools will be representing Children in the Wilderness Limpopo Valley at the opening ceremony for the 2012 Fedhea lth Tour de Tuli – our biggest single fundraising event for all the regions.
Children in the Wilderness has taken on board 30 more needy children in the Secondary School Scholarship Program. This has brought the total number of Children in the Wilderness -assisted students currently in school to 82.
‘Wilderness Workshops for CITW’ is an initiative that enables Wilderness Safaris staff to make a more significant contribution towards the Children in the Wilderness program me. Staff craft and fund a workshop or project for CITW and transfer key skills, unique to their role, to the children in the programme. The first workshop crafted and funded through this initiative was a ‘Writers’ workshop’. Twenty children from the CITW follow-up programme’s media club joined this workshop at the Mvuu education centre for a fruitful and fun day of learning and writing.
Wilderness Safaris and Children in the Wilderness teamed up for an educational ‘Black Rhino talk’ for the children in the Green Team at Bishop Mackenzie International Primary School.
CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS NAMIBIA
The first ever Children in the Wilderness Overland Exploration in Namibia was held in June. All of the children who participated have been to previous CI TW camps and this follow -up programme provided them with the opportunity to see first -hand what makes tourism in Namibia so important. They visited Kulula Reserve, the Sesreim Canyon, Naankuse Cheetah conservation, Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Damaraland. T he children got to climb dunes, boat rides, game drives while learning interesting environmental facts. They also had new life skill experiences.
Wilderness Safaris’ photographer Caroline Culbert accompanied this adventure:
40 children were selected from the four Makuleke primary schools in the local community to attend the
December camp at Pafuri.
Andy Wassung vo lunteered at this camp and clearly it was a life -changing event for him’¦ In the world children are brought up in now, not much space is spared for conservation, the wilderness, or role models, and an understanding of our place in this natural world is lost on so many. Children in the Wilderness at Pafuri ‘¦ are the children who will fight for our rem aining and increasingly fragile wilderness areas tomorrow. Now, sitting months later, having left the active banks of the Luvuvhu River and the smiling faces of the Makuleke children, I realise that the impressions they have left on me are much greater than the brief time I gave to them. I count myself extremely privileged to have worked so closely with these children. From shyly shuffling out of the school bus on day one of camp, to tugging my sleeve back as I tried to leave at the end, their transformation was moving to watch. To play a part in this is an opportunity
I would take up again in a second’s notice.
Michelle Henley from Save the Elephants Foundation k indly hosted 4 children from the Eco Clubs on an elephant educational after the Re -Collaring at Pafuri. ‘˜Educational’ being the operative word! She shared valuable, insightful information with the children – all now new Elephant Ambassadors! Alweet Hlungwani, Pafuri guide, related other general sightings and information back to relevant environmental issues in the children’s villages.
CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS ZAMBIA
Chipembele Wildlife has established a conservation club and girls club as a scheme to empower girls. We were privileged to host 4 girls belonging to a girls club at Mfuwe Secondary for one night at Kalamu Lagoon Camp.
Kalamu hosted 18 children and their teachers from the three schools in the surrounding area. They were joined by Stella Mwale a previous Kalamu Children in t he Wilderness camper. This year she returned to Kalamu as a volunteer Tent Leader and proved to be great role model for the children.
Many of the children mentioned the evening of the marshmallows as one of their favourites. Whilst holding the marsh mallows in the fire, we all sat around the camp fire and shared traditional stories and riddles. One of the Campers, Henry Matanda, said to his tent leader that the marshmallow was so sweet that he could taste it in his ears!
CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNES S ZIMBABWE
Following the recent Wilderness Safaris rebranding exercise and in an attempt to ‘˜think green’ and recycle old brochures, CITW Zimbabwe embarked on an environmental & conservation awareness campaign by way of a mosaic competition which was held between the rural schools that fall under the Wilderness umbrella in Tsholotsho & Hwange National Park. The theme; ‘What the environment means to us’.
Generous donors have enabled us to start the Children in the Wilderness nutrition programme at Jab ulani Primary School and to purchase books, laminated posters and flashcards for the children at the school. Sefiwe Ndlovu, the school’s headmistress, reports the children’s attendance has risen at the school and concentration has improved considerably.
Parcels of knitting wool which had been sent by Rosalea Fisher, a ESL Family Literacy Teacher from the USA were donated to community women over the past year. When we visited Ziga Primary School we were met by a jubilant group of women, proudly wearing their new uniforms which they have funded themselves using the proceeds from sales of the items they have been making. A few months ago we gave them a sample sleeping mat made from ‘plarn’ (plastic bags knitted together to form a make -shift type of yarn), and they’ve been busy creating their own versions. There was great joy & lots of dancing & singing as they celebrated the arrival of new bundles of wool.
OTHER CHILDREN IN THE WILDERNESS ACTIVITIES
Children in the Wilderness staff are busy preparing f or the annual Fedhealth Tour de Tuli mountain bike tour which takes place from the 2 nd – 7th August, traversing wildlife and community areas in Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. This fundraising event provides a substantial percentage of the funds to r un the CITW programmes. Click on picture to find out more.
Mapungubwe National Park
Rocktail Beach Camp
Mashatu Tented Camp
Mashatu Tented Camp
To all of our wonderful sponsors, supporters and friends a very big THANK YOU. Without you all, we could not make all of this happen!
Rita Bachmann and the Children in the Wilderness teams