It is a great privilege for our Kariega Game Reserve and Kariega Foundation teams to work with the passionate and enthusiastic people in our neighbouring communities. The reach and impact of our partnerships has grown significantly during 2019 and the benefits to us all are becoming more evident every day.
The work of the Kariega Foundation is fueled by the community and conservation levy paid by all adult guests that visit Kariega Game Reserve, which makes all safari guests and Kariega Game Reserve our valued partners and supporters. As director of the Foundation it is always a joy and an honor to report back on our rewarding and purposeful work. Thank you.
The Kariega Foundation projects and partnerships are numerous and diverse and so I have chosen to focus this Foundation update on the specific activities from January to July 2019. This status report includes the boma dancers, the growth and distribution of items donated via Pack For A Purpose and directly by guest, our environmental education programme and lastly the uplifting connection we recently facilitated between the St Peters School group and our young netball and rugby players.
Foundation Update: Boma Dancers Uplift Guests and Community
The company of young boma dancers who perform for our guest on boma nights, has grown from one group of twenty boys and girls that perform for our Main Lodge guests to two groups totaling forty girls and boys. The second group dance for our River Lodge guests. The Kariega Game Reserve guest reviews frequently mention the boma dancers as one of the highlights of a Kariega safari.
The dancers perform the cultural songs and dances of their Xhosa heritage with enormous joy, pride and enthusiasm. The opportunity has seen each of these children grow in confidence and self-pride and feel the satisfaction of earning their monthly toiletries, essential school items including rain jackets, shoes and backpacks. As an added extra, tips are used to honor each dancer on their birthday with a party and gift.
Our dance group co-ordinators and instructors Noma, Nosi and Phumla invest much time in their dancers to improve their performances and also teach them essential life skills and values that guide personal responsibility and decision making. The impact of this investment was recently displayed through the children’s decision to spread the spirit of Ubuntu by volunteering to help a 93 year old lady (who lives with her 63 year old, mentally disabled son), clean her house. The spirit of Ubuntu is the belief that when selfless acts of service contribute to the success and wellbeing of others that those acting kindly experience the benefits too. We could not be more proud of these young people and their incredible mentors.
One of the future goals of this project it to work more closely with the dancers on their homework and offer tutoring when necessary to ensure that each of them are reaching their highest academic potential.
Foundation Update: Make Someones Day and Pack for a Purpose
Thank you to our safari guests who have contributed to our community via Pack for a Purpose in 2019. We are also very grateful to those of you that donated goods directly. The quantity of goods donated, including clothing, educational resources, baby apparel and so much more, has grown enormously and each item is carefully and thoughtfully distributed by the Kariega Foundation team.
Our starting point is to consult with the local clinics and social workers to identify the families in need. Nomawethu, our Foundation community coordinator then visits the family to do a needs analysis and then we attempt to answer their needs with gifted goods.
In the period from January to the end of June 2019 we have gifted clothing, stationary and groceries to families in need, distributed knitted beanies donated by the Kenton Methodist Church, delivered toothbrushes and toothpaste to the Rainbow Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre and the Sinethemba school for children with special needs as well as given two donated cots to the orphanage in Marselle.
In addition we prepared and distributed 186 packs for the children of our staff that included a varied combination of books, stationary, toiletries, clothes and body products depending on age and need.
We would like our valued supporters to know that every item that is donated via our partnership with Pack for a Purpose or gifted directly to the Kariega Foundation finds a meaningful home. The process of finding a home and delivering the gift is one of the highlights of our work.
Pack for a Purpose is and international organisation with the mission to to positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit. We have partnered with Pack for a Purpose and uploaded our requirements lists to their website. Our lists are updated regularly so safari guests can choose which items they would like to bring and can rest-assured that those items are exactly what is needed.
Foundation Update: Environmental Education Inspires Minds and Opens Hearts
Chris and Marcia are the backbone of our environmental education team. We are very grateful to our partner schools of Ikamva Lesizwe, Nompucucko, Klipfontein Primary, Bhongweni Primary, Ukhanyo Secondary and Alexandria High for opening their doors so that we can inspire learners to be aware and care for our environment. Learners have enjoyed interactive presentations, including inspiring video content, TED talks and open discussions on:
- Air pollution and climate change
- Land, soil, plants and trees
- People and global footprints
- Endangered species.
While the schools opened their doors, the learners have opened their hearts to this information. They welcome Chris and Marcia each week with smiles and run to help them set up and listen with sincere interest throughout. Their questions after each session have become more thoughtful and complex. Some students have approached the Kariega Foundation to help them set up environmental clubs at their schools. We are excited to report that we have initiated discussions with the local municipality and the schools to establish these clubs in our partner schools in 2020.
Foundation Update: Facilitating Deep Cross-Cultural Connections
Most of the Kariega Foundation projects and community partnerships are established on long term goals and sustainable outcomes which we work towards slowly and consistently. In-between, however, we get the opportunity to create and enjoy moments of magic that flow naturally when people connect.
In July 2019 we had the amazing opportunity to connect a group of 40 young scholars from St Peters College in the UK with the children that participate in the Kariega Foundation sports programme. The St Peters girls were visiting South Africa on a sports tour and the experience included a safari at Kariega Game Reserve. We worked with their tour operator and organized a fun sports day to connect the St Peters girls with 100 of our young rugby and netball players who live in the communities down the road!
The sports day was hosted at the Ekuphumleni sports ground. The Kariega Foundation sports coaches split the players into small and diverse groups. The afternoon was spent playing soccer and netball plus doing general fitness activities. We also made time to teach our new British friends some Xhosa indigenous games. The St Peters girls remarked that this was the highlight of their entire tour! A real sense and joy emanated from being able to cross cultural borders and connect with people who are so different, yet so similar, through a mutual love of sport. A huge thank you to everyone involved.
How Can You Get Involved?
There are so many in which you can partner with the Kariega Foundation. If you are joining us for a Kariega safari, you are welcome to pop in and visit us in our new offices located at Main Lodge reception. The Kariega Foundation community and conservation levy already makes you our valued partner but many guests feel like they want to do more. Here are some ideas:
- Check our list of needs on the Pack for a Purpose website and fill up any empty space in your suitcase
- Support an ECD centre with a monthly stipend of R350 to R500 a month. Donate online via our website.
- Contact us if you would like to customise your safari and share your unique skills with our neighbours (woodwork, art, dance). Any skills transfer workshops can be arranged.
- Support the Aloes Tour Company and book a community tour. Available for Ukhozi Lodge, Main Lodge and the Homestead guests.
- Support any project of your choice and make a donation with your credit card, via bank transfer or use the online donation system on our website.
Chat to us about what is in your heart and we will try to find a way to make a difference together. Contact us via email on email@example.com or come and chat to us in person while on your safari. We would love to see you at Kariega and share some of our beautiful world with you.