SEOLO AFRICA PROUDLY SUPPORTS OUR LOCAL COMMUNITIES
We are firm believers in Marshall Macluhan’s theory of the “global village.” Giant technological strides have created a substantial link between us all, the wealthy, the poor and everyone in between. We also believe that even more than the warm fuzzy feeling of ‘giving back’ (which we all enjoy) there is a tremendous need to create a visible link between conservation and community benefit. Where communities are aware of the benefits of conservation to them and their future generations, they too are inspired to protect and preserve these precious and often threatened areas. It is both our duty and pleasure to work with our neighbouring communities, ensuring that they profit and advance from the proceeds of conservation, our lodges and our guests’ choice of destination.
OUR PROJECTS INCLUDE:
Andlane Beauty World
Pictured above are the ladies from Andlane, Nikki Meyer from Seolo Africa, Raymond from Seda, Nqo and Fresh from Job Funds Africa and Portia from SANParks.
At the time of meeting with Elizabeth Andlane, who had started a small community project, Andlane Beauty World, they were producing floor polish and cleaning materials and their recorded monthly income was R65; they were running at a major loss. Rhino Post Safari Lodge was not able to purchase the cleaning materials as we use strictly environmentally friendly products, but suggested that they add environmentally friendly guest soaps to their range of products and together with the management of Jock Safari Lodge taught them to make soaps, with Rhino Walking Safaris providing equipment, ingredients and basic bookkeeping training. This quickly increased their turnover. They are now in a position to service their bank loans and provide Rhino Post Safari Lodge and other lodges with their lovely handmade Rooibos Tea and Honey glycerine soaps.
Sewing project : K3
K3, a division of Masoyi Home Based Care (see www.masoyihomebasedcare.com for more details), is run by the incredibly enthusiastic and hard working Florence Mbokazi. Based in the area outside Numbi Gate, this project was started in response to the AlDS pandemic. Initially they provided home care, and later after school care to victims of AIDS and the numerous children who have been orphaned or made vulnerable because of AIDS within their families.
Masoyi Home Based Care developed a Skills Development Centre called Khayalethu’3 (K3). This centre was established to reduce the level of poverty and contribute to economic empowerment while developing vocational skills amongst the youth. These include: Marimba lessons, beadwork, carpentry, computer lessons and sewing.
Rhino Walking Safaris has largely supported the sewing class by:
- Paying to have their sewing machines serviced and repaired.
- Purchasing patterns, scissors, materials, measuring tape, fabric, cotton and buttons
- Paying for sewing lessons to 4 ladies
- Purchasing 2 overlockers and one industrial sewing machine for the project
- Paying for 2 ladies to have a full course in overlocking and professional finishing of garments.
They also have a small shop where they sell their products. Since getting involved with SK3 we have seen a marked improvement in sewing skills, and they have just finished making our uniform shirts for Rhino Post Safari Lodge and Plains Camp. We now intend to extend their skills to include making uniform skirts, and then men’s shirts and men’s trousers. We are hoping that eventually they will be able to make all of our uniforms, earning them much needed income to keep their facility going. They will also be able to pass these skills on to the learners who come to them for aftercare. It is our intention to eventually introduce them to other lodges so that they can extend their market.
Croquet Lawn Orphanage
Croquet Lawn Orphange – Seolo Africa supports Croquet Lawn Orphanage in Bushbuck Ridge through passing on all linen, cutlery and crockery that is still in great condition, but not perfect enough for international guests, or which is being changed for a different style. We also collect stationery, books and toiletries from guests for the children at this orphanage.
Magazines for Schools
All the latest magazines which we subscribe to for our guests’ pleasure are bundled up regularly and handed out to the staff who have children at school in the local communities, so that they can be used as teaching resources.
We have set up one local community member in his own taxi business. He was originally contracted to transport out staff, and once we had fully paid off the vehicle we had it serviced and gave it to him, together with R10 000 to assist in setting up his own business outside of the Kruger Park.
We currently support local 2 local community members by paying them to transport our staff to work and back.
We have outsourced our guest transport between Skukuza Airport and Rhino Post Safari Lodge to Brilliant Sambo, his contract with us giving him surety to buy another vehicle. We have also provided additional grants to help him grow his business and keep his vehicle in tip top condition. Our guests love him, and so do we.
Education is close to our hearts and Seolo Africa has over the years provided an annual prize for the Sumbandila Scholarship Fund to assist in raising funds for underprivileged children to receive a top secondary and tertiary, education and experience the Grahamstown Arts’ Festival. This year we have upped the ante by donating a 7 holiday at Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Plains Camp and Chundu Island as well as 2 nights at Masuwe Lodge courtesy of our preferred partner Landela Lodges. This valuable prize will be auctioned in Los Angeles at the Cash and Rocket annual 2018 tour.
We have also supported the Skukuza Primary School with annual prizes to assist their governing body in keeping the school fees reasonable for the children of SANParks’ employees, and provided a grant of R18 200 to the Skukuza Creche. In so doing we are striving to make it easier for local community members to be able to go to work and educate their children. We believe that it is vital for local communities for feel the benefit of lodges and conservation in their areas, not only for themselves but also so that they too will assist in preserving these sensitive areas for generations to come.
Watch this space for a big announcement of an exciting new project to benefit both the communities and conservation!
Any guests travelling to South Africa who would like to find out how they might be able to make a difference is welcome to email our Regional Operations Manager, Nikki Meyer, on firstname.lastname@example.org. Travellers often worry about making sure their donations reach the right place, or worry that their contribution will be ‘too small’. We are happy to assist. Needs change from time to time, and no donation is too small. A toothbrush, tube of toothpaste, soap, deodorant, pencil, crayons or book is always welcome as well as well looked after second-hand clothing. It doesn’t take a fortune to make a difference in the life of those who have nothing. We do not accept cash donations on behalf of any of our projects, but in the case of anyone wishing to make such a donation, will put them directly in touch with the community members responsible for heading up these projects.