The Amakhala Foundation
The Amakhala Foundation was launched in 2009 as part of Amakhala Game Reserve’s 10th anniversary celebrations. This Foundation forms the umbrella body for the Social Development Programme and the Conservation Centre. The Foundation is funded by donations and through the payment of bed levies from the commercial lodges.
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME
The Amakhala Foundation is committed to the building of strong communities, families and individuals within the rural and conservation context where Amakhala Game Reserve is located.
Their focus is:
1. Education and Training
- A preschool was successfully established on one of the Amakhala properties two years ago. Training for the teacher, equipment and premises were provided, as well as a stipend for the teacher to supplement the fees paid by parents.
- A bursary fund was established for rural scholars who show potential and commitment to their education. The bursary will consist of tuition fees, uniform (if applicable), books,stationery and possibly boarding fees to attend a reputable school or further education institution in one of the bigger centres.
2. HIV/Aids Awareness and Support
- HIV/Aids Awareness Days are regularly held on the Reserve.
- Support for the Isipho HIV/Aids Programme in the local village, Paterson, which is 10km from Amakhala.Isipho cares for orphans and vulnerable children affected and infected by HIV/Aids. It also provides support & education to adults living with the HIV virus. Amakhala Game Reserve is actively involved with the management of Isipho - two of the reserve’s lodge owners are trustees of the Isipho Charity Trust – and guests have also contributed in many ways through fund raising & donations.
3. Amakhala Craft Centre and Income Generation
- Beaded Bracelet Bursary Project - Young women of the Isipho HIV/Aids programme get together weekly for a craft workshop to make beaded bracelets. The workshops are facilitated by the Amakhala Foundation and the Amakhala volunteers. The income generated helps to alleviate the poverty in their lives.
- The Craft Centre is the Amakhala Foundation’s first Poverty Relief/Income Generating project. It is a non-profit venture and relies on purchases made by guests visiting the Game Reserve. Providing unemployed people with the opportunity to earn an income from something made with their own hands not only relieves the stress caused by being unable to feed families, it also instills a sense of pride and self-worth.
AMAKHALA CONSERVATION CENTRE
The Conservation Centre was established in 2003 and through a variety of projects concentrates on three work areas:
1. Research and monitoring
- All research is carried out with the aim of developing a sustainable environment on Amakhala Game Reserve by understanding the relationships between the vegetation, herbivores and carnivores within the ecosystem.
- Amakhala is one of the few private game reserves in the Eastern Cape with a dedicated research and monitoring programme.
2. Environmental education
- The ACC offers environmental education programmes to various local, mostly rural, schools. The aim is to develop an understanding and love of nature in the hearts of children.
- The Centre also offers a year end camp for the children from the Isipho HIV/Aids project in nearby Paterson
- Three big education event days are planned each year, i.e. National Water Day in March; World Environment Day in June and Arbour Day in September. Often as many as 80 children from different schools attend these days to learn about the environmental issues
- The conservation efforts are designed to promote various projects which contribute to the greater “world” of conservation.
- One such project is the 3C Project. This tree-planting project has now planted a total of 500 trees.
- Centred on World Environment Day in June, the ACC also aims to promote awareness of global warming among the staff of the Reserve and the local community
- The ACC has also assisted several of the lodges on Amakhala Game Reserve to achieve their Green Leaf status, thus encouraging an on-going awareness of care for the environment.