Last week we received a beautiful letter from three children describing their experience at DAKTARI. It is always amazing receiving messages like this. Thank you Wesly, Percevierence and Gabriel for sending this to us! The text of the letter is written out below:
"To DAKTARI Owners and Volunteers,
It is a great pleasure for us to write this letter to you. We really enjoyed our week at Daktari. It was nice to us from you Daktari.
First of all we would like to thank you for the knowledge you have given us and we really appreciate it. You guys taught us to respect, love and take care of everything that exists in the world. You gave us something that we needed to know for our whole life and that is the knowledge of animals. Before we came to DAKTARI we didn't know the dangers that can be caused by the dirty environment. We didn't know the importance of keeping the environment clean but right now we know because you were out there to teach us and give us this knowledge.
One more thing we did not know it was about animals and we know nothing about animals and we was thinking that animals are not important to us, they are just useless earth's creature but right now you guys helped us to see that they are useful and they need to be loved and protected just like us. Daktari is such a wonderful place with love, respect, peace and good care. We will never forget Daktari and we would like to visit Daktari again.
You taught us many good thing and we really appreciate them. God bless you for all of your life keep on going like this. We really need to come back to Daktari because we want to show you we learned a lot from you. Please we begging you because when we see the photos of Daktari we just remember how nice it was in there and its education.
Wesly, Percevierence and Gabriel"
DAKTARI Outreach on the Road!
As the students of the high schools were enjoying their well-deserved holidays, that meant no Eco Club for 3 weeks. However, this is not a reason for us to sit back! That is why we decided to visit Mmakadi Crèche in The Oaks village. Accompanied by a lot of volunteers and some rabbits we had a great afternoon with the toddlers. We transformed their faces into beautiful animals, taught them how to pet rabbits and played a throw-the-rubbish-game. In the end, the children took the stage to sing their national anthem and an anti-poaching song. Yep, that’s right, not even 4 years old and they know their anthem… that is what we call dedication! In exchange for these wonderful performances, the volunteers sang our custom-made DAKTARI song using the animal names in Sepedi, the local language! ‘DAKTARI has diphôôfôlô (donkey), E-I-E-I-O…’
One of the volunteers, Gabi (USA), was kind enough to share with us a few words about her experience with these younger children! Read it below!
“I was fortunate enough to have been able to go to the crèche during my stay at DAKTARI. We went to face-paint the children and sing them a song that the outreach manager wrote that included animal names in Sepedi (the local language). It was beautiful to see how culturally enriched the children are at such a young age. They sang the South African National Anthem to us and also danced. They put on skirts made of cloth and danced around a chair while a woman sang and played the drums. The children were shy at first but then they opened up after we started face painting them. After one design on their cheek, they wanted one on the other cheek, then their hand. I drew hearts all over their arms and they loved it. They were of ages 2 and older. They were all so loving and warm. A little girl and I got into a tickle fight for 30 minutes! She and the rest of the children made my heart smile. They all made me forget the concept of time and simply enjoy the moment of being there."
Interested in donating to the Outreach Program? Visit our fundraiser here!
As you know, every Friday one of the children that have been at DAKTARI is chosen by the volunteers who have taught them over the week. The award is given to the child who the volunteers have seen improve the most over the week, not the 'best' one. The award is meant to continue with our mission of inspiring our young students further about what they have learned, but also to encourage those who we have seen flourish over the week to continue doing so.
This week's children left everyone very impressed! Not only the volunteers, who work with the children every day, but also the rest of the members of the DAKTARI team. Their friendliness, as well as their charm and willingness to learn was something which we could all feel. Although one of the girls, Karabo, was declared the winner of the week, we thought it was important to let you know how great the entire group was as a whole.
Karabo was very shy at the beginning of the week, yet as time went on, she got more comfortable and really started coming out of her shell. She participated in all lessons, especially during the Social Talks and during stabling, where she did not hesitate to ask questions and often helped out her classmates with theirs. It was a clear example of the impact we want to make at DAKTARI. Not only did she learn a lot about the environment and animals, but she also became more confident with her knowledge! As you can see below, her promises are also great!
- I promise I will respect everyone.
- I promise to not pollute.
- I promise I will take care of the environment.
- I promise I will save the environment through education.
- I promise I will put rubbish in the dustbin.
- I promise I will take care of the animals.
Working with all the children who come through DAKTARI is challenging and demonstrates the 'need' for a project like ours, the children this week serve as a reminder of just how worthwhile the hard work is. I can safely say that all the volunteers were very proud of this group. It has been a real pleasure having them, and we look forward to hearing of how the children take what they have learned on board for their future! We expect great things!
If you would like to support us to continue making stories like this possible, check us out on GlobalGiving, or donate to our fundraiser for the educational program on the button below!
DAKTARI is constantly working in improving environmental awareness and economic development. Today, let’s talk about Portia, who achieved her goal by becoming a permanent full-time waitress at Makalali Game Lodge.
Portia was attending the DAKTARI Eco-Clubs when we met her and noticed her potential. She then spent a couple of weeks at DAKTARI as a volunteer. She was able to acquire valuable skills by practicing her English, learning to interact with the other international volunteers and as a result grew in confidence.
Since then, DAKTARI Outreach Program has helped Portia to find a three-month training placement as a receptionist at Makalali Game Lodge. We are very proud to learn that she has just signed a permanent contract as a waitress there. WELL DONE PORTIA!! J
And the winner is...
This week at DAKTARI: We had a great group of kids! They learnt about the importance of environment, the rubbish problem and how they can solve it, they learnt about job opportunities, life skills, social issues and they enjoyed to take care of the animals at DAKTARI. We hope that DAKTARI will allow them to eventually be able to secure good employment in nature reserves, thereby improving their future quality of life.
Every week the best kid the best kid is the winner. Today it is the lovely Dineo Maria, 15 years old, from Lepono School who deserves the price because she is the one who improved the most during these 5 days. Thus, she leaves DAKATRI with a tree, a bag with some presents and will be invited for a Game Drive offered by Tshukudu Game Lodge. Well Done Dineo!
On her certificate, she wrote 6 promises that she will share with her family and comunity:
- I promise I will take care of animaIs
- I Promise I will recycle for the environment
- I promise I will not allow poachers in the environment
- I promise I will never be a bad or lazy student
- I promise I will tell people to stop crimes and rape
- I promise I will never try to drink alcohol or take drugs
Having visited Daktari in 2005 (pictured below), here is what Mina wrote to us in February 2013:
My name is Mina, we met in 2005 while I was doing grade 9 at Rakgolokwana high school, my self and other students use to come to Daktari for educational purposes.
I wanna thank you for the knowledge and experience you have assist me with concerning nature conservation, I am currently working as a data collator with the K2C based at Hoedspruit, I have graduated for my diploma in nature conservation and currently doing btech degree.
I dont know how to thank you, because I started to acquire knowledge from Daktari, this place gave me a good background in terms of environmental knowledge and I really appreciate your effort as well as uncle Ian. I hope to visit you one day.
Grace's Success Story...
Grace first joined the Daktari Outreach Programme in 2012 after thoroughly enjoying her initial week at Daktari, she had recently moved from her home town in a big city to a small village after her father lost his job. Grace was brought up to speak English and Zulu but really struggled in her new home and school where they only spoke Sepedi. The school element was especially challenging for her as in order to pass any Grade the school stipulates that students must also pass in Sepedi language. This very bright and intelligent young girl was losing all hope and motivation for a promising future. With the help of Daktari and an appeal to our supporters we managed to enroll Grace at Southern Cross School in Hoedspruit, where the first language is English.
Grace is currently half way through Grade 10 and, although she had a lot of catching up to do at the beginning, is performing well. Her subjects are English, Afrikaans, Mathematics, Physical Science, Life Sciences, Visual Arts, Life Orientation. In the near future she will be passing Grade 10 (we hope!) and progressing into Grade 11 to continue her studies, long term she would like to be a Forensic Pathologist. Believe us, this girl definitely has the strength of character and confidence to make this happen!
Why are we are so proud of Grace?
Moving schools hasn't been easy for a 15 year old girl who has had to leave her family home and move in with other students so she can make the journey to school each day. Despite this she has continued to work hard and stay motivated, she already inspires young people from her village and the children she has left behind at the Outreach classes, especially the girls, to empower themselves and grab life's opportunities.
“I am getting used to the school environment and I have got a lot of people who care about me and support me. I am a very lucky girl to be able to enter into such a school and I am very thankful to Daktari for giving me the chance to fulfill my dream”.
Grace Mulumba - age 15
How can you help?
You can give another child the opportunity to experience 5 days of inspiring education at Daktari, where Grace's journey began. Each week we invite 8-10 children to Daktari where they have the opportunity to discover and become passionate about wildlife, conservation and through our Outreach Programme, find guidance into the the next stages of their lives and careers.
The cost of sponsoring one child is R 1,715 per week
If you would like to sponsor a child or a group of children please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kutullo's Success Story...
Kutullo first joined the Daktari Outreach Programme during 2012 after passing his Matric (Matric is the final examination of Secondary School/High School in South Africa). He demonstrated a passion and talent for conservation during the lessons and with the help of Daktari he received a bursary at the South African Wildlife College. After 4 months of hard work and studies he obtained his NQF Level 5 Environmental Education & Leadership Certificate and his NQF Level 2 Unarmed Field Ranger Certificate.
After passing and receiving his certificates, he went on to help with hands on practical work at the Khamai Reptile Centre in Hoedspruit for 3 months.
Kutullo was recently offered a 3 month internship as a Trainee Field Guide at a nearby nature reserve, where he will be gaining more practical experience in his new found career.
He now has to pass some final exams and pay for some compulsory licenses to be a fully fledged Professional Field Guide. After completing these final things he will be qualified and experienced enough to apply for paid work and start in his profession.
Why are we are so proud of Kutullo?
Kutullo is 22 years old and lives in Limpopo Province, one of the poorest areas in South Africa. Unemployment is very high, there are very little opportunities for young people and it's fair to say that life is pretty hard. Not only does Kutullo have the desire and motivation to improve his own life but he also wants to provide for his family and young daughter.
We are so proud of the hard work, commitment and enthusiasm that this young man has shown throughout the last year. He is an absolute pleasure to be around and we have no doubt that he will fulfill his dreams and do very well. He already inspires other young underprivileged children from his school and village and he will continue to set a good example for the next generation of South Africa.
“You have opened my eyes and gave me strength to wake up in the morning. Because of Daktari I know now who I am and what I would be in the future”.
Kutullo Shai – age 20
How can you help?
As with any poverish community, a lack of funding is often a major part (although not the only excuse!) in young people not achieving their dreams. Education, training and qualifications always come at a high price.
Kutullo has proven to us and our supporters that he is willing to learn and work hard, for this reason we continue to support him financially until he is qualified and ready to find paid work for himself. We are currently appealing on Global Giving for any donation, big or small, toward his last exams and compulsory licenses.
Please help Kutullo by clicking here
A letter that Kutullo wrote after his 3 months at the Khamai Reptile Centre: