The African term for bush baby is Galago Moholi and the program is where ‘babies’ and young minds in schools learn about the ‘bush’. It operates within 10 schools at the edge of the western boundary of Kruger National Park. The aim is to create an environmentally aware community.
After a very early morning drive for an hour, Safeena visited two schools in the Phalaobowra area. She watched the children run to class as the bell went off and took the photograph of the boy in the haze.
After the class had settled, Lewyn Mafaela taught the children about conservation. During this session, she read out a story about a Rhino who was in danger of being poached. As well as reading to the children, they were given the chance to discuss the consequences of poaching on the ecosystem. They were also taught about sustainability of the environment and responsibility for the local land.
The Black Mambas often visit the schools and some of the girls aspire to be one when they grow up. Some of the Black Mambas are also mothers and often share their experiences of nurturing children and the environment.
The children are often given tests on the environment and on this day Lewyn gave out the test results to the students. Those who reached the 90 % - 100 % mark (and there were a few) were given the chance for an overnight bush trip in the Balule region. This was a rare opportunity to see the animals they were being educated to protect.
The Bush Babies Program is an effective and innovative way to educate children in a fun and exciting way. It is also a very imperative weapon in the war against poaching. If the children are educated about the current crisis, they will, in turn educate those around them, including their parents, uncles, aunties, friends and grandparents.
When Safeena spoke to one of the Black Mambas she was moved to hear that some of the children wear out their shoes just from the long walk to school. It is a far cry from free and mandatory education.
To enquire about the purchase of a print which can be framed and signed, please contact Safeena Chaudhry on 07956 068 952 or email Safeena_chaudhry@yahoo.co.uk
25% of the profit each print sold in the Transfrontier Africa series will go to the charity.