Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organisation supported by ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
Insight, care and commitment are required to conserve Africa’s pristine wilderness and wildlife areas. If we are to ensure that these places continue to exist – in this generation and those to come – we need the rural children of Africa to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Hence, the Children in the Wilderness programme: an environmental and life skills educational programme for children, focusing on the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future.
This is achieved in a variety of ways, from running four-day camps at Wilderness Safaris camps, to running eco-clubs and follow-up Programmes at schools, within the rural communities that live on the edges of the wild areas of Africa.
How It Works: During the year Eco-Clubs are run at the schools, to encourage the children to continue with their education, as well as keep their love of wildlife and their heritage alive. In conjunction with the eco-clubs, Children in the Wilderness run eco-mentor trainings for teachers and other eco-mentors. These trainings are related to the CITW eco-club curriculum books and equip eco-mentors/teachers with environmental knowledge as well teaching fun, interactive teaching methods.
A Wilderness Safaris or partner camp is closed for a few days each year, and 16-24 children between 10 and 17 years old, pre-selected from neighbouring schools and communities, are hosted in the camp. The Camp Director, with a full staff complement of volunteers and mentors, runs an educational and fun-filled programme.
Other related programmes, depending on the country and region, include school nutrition programmes, water supply, scholarships and school buildings.
How Are They making A Difference: Children in the Wilderness increases children’s awareness, bridges cultural divides, broadens horizons, builds confidence, provides opportunities for new friendships and choices, and reveals career opportunities. In turn, Wilderness Safaris camp staff are allowed to be mentors and leaders, connecting them to their jobs, instilling them with pride for their culture and their community and offering an enriching experience exposing new skills and talents.
The Vision: It is Children in the Wilderness vision to develop sustainable conservation through leadership development. By exposing children to their natural heritage, Children in the Wilderness aims to create a network of learning sanctuaries that uplifts and cares for our children and conserves our planet. In this way, they hope to inspire the children to care for the environment so that they can become the custodians of these areas in the future.