The Umbabat Outreach Programme was initiated in July 2018 with Lindsey Jones being appointed as the Communications and Stakeholder Manager, and Splender Tshabalala as the Environmental Monitor.

Since the reserve has no communities bordering it, and we await our Section 18A approval, we decided to partner with an existing NPO, the Southern African Medical Expedition (SAME), in the village of Sigagula on the Orpen Rd. A decision was taken to prioritise the funding and projects on Orphans and Vulnerable Children, and the Youth – particularly skills development, learnerships, and job creation.

In the past nine months, we have managed to raise funds and donations of items for:

Beanies for Winter

During winter many of the children and old grannies feel the cold badly as they lack appropriate clothing. Walking to school in the mornings or even working outside is therefore unpleasant. A call for assistance went out and a group of ladies in Rye, UK, who knit for refugees in Europe, literally sent us hundreds of beanies to help accommodate all in need. 

Santa Bush Box Drive

Our Anti-Poaching Unit at Umbabat puts their lives on the line each day to protect our wildlife, it was only fitting that we reward them and their families, especially over the Christmas holiday season. 

Members of Umbabat and members of the public generously donated funds toward Santa Bush Boxes for the APU Rangers’ children, but also a Christmas meal. 

Furthermore, a New Years Eve celebratory dinner was kindly funded by Ndlopfu management and members. 

Mentorship

The key focus of an Environmental Monitor (EM) during the 3 years they are seconded to us from the Department of Environmental Affairs, is skills upliftment. Essentially, when an EM leaves an organisation they need to have sufficient skills in order to find independent work. 

Lindsey Jones embarked on a formal mentorship programme with Splender over several months with her learning organisational skills, excel, powerpoint and writing her own monthly reports. An accredited certificate of completion was issued at the beginning of December 2018. Well done Splender!

2019 will see her get a new Maths Mentor and completing various courses at the Southern African Wildlife College. 

Laptop and Printer Donation

In order to uplift the skills of Splender, a member of Ndlopfu kindly donated R10,000 towards the purchase of a laptop, printer and software. 

Since then Splender has grown from strength to strength, using the laptop for report writing, Powerpoint presentations, and the printer to help print pictures for her Environmental Lessons. 

Visit to the Timbavati Museum

Splender assists with teaching the older children at Sigagula on environmental topics, choosing a different topic each month. 

As an additional learning experience we funded an outing to the Timbavati Museum at Chi Mani Mani for approximately 35 children. 

The trip enhanced their understanding of how the different animals looked and the actual size of them.

Ingwelala Holiday Fun!

The Ingwelala Members and their families funded, and ran, a two-day holiday program at Vuka Ingwe over December 2018. The game drive was the highlight of the trip for the children! 

It was a great success and fun was had by all. A big thank you to everybody who made this possible.

A Focus on Maths and English

Over 100 children come to SAME each day. For some, its to have supplementary after-school lessons in Maths and English, and for others it is to get some form of schooling (sadly they may not attend school as they do not have ID documents). One of Splender’s main responsibilities, and part of her own skills-development, has been to teach the children. 

For those children that cannot go to school Splender and a group of ladies from Hoedspruit have also embarked on skills training – teaching them sewing and knitting – and we were able to donate knitting needles, wool and material to help. 

Other activities include sports, environmental education and fun activities during the school holiday. SAME also has a feeding scheme:  at least one healthy meal a day is welcomed by those that are from child-headed households or staying with a grandparent with only a pension to support them. 

Motswari

Motswari is the only authorised commercial lodge based on the Umbabat. It not only contributes significantly to the Reserves budget, but also outreach work through various projects and Rhino Disharmony.

Motswari is a founding member of Rhino Disharmony and has contributed a total of R637,000. The organization aims to create one global voice against rhino poaching through raising public awareness. The organization further aims to create a global platform that draws attention to the rhino poaching crises in South Africa, and encourages a shift in perception about the use of rhino horn and how it is fast tracking this species to extinction.

Furthermore, they actively support their soccer team, internships, bursaries and making use of service providers from the local communities.

Their total spend on training over the last year has been R1 million, thus contributing to the upliftment of their staff and contractors.

Motswari Zebras v Houtbosrand Tigers

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