WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Improving the lives of the Bushman
Sadly only one in five bushman children currently attends school. A volunteer project improvement programme was launched in February 2009 to improve the school facilities for the bushman children who live on the sanctuary with their families. Unfortunately, their parents are either unable to afford to send them to school or the children have been rejected by schools as a result of learning or physical disabilities. The project aims to improve the lives of the bushman community through education, health and improved living conditions and needs the support of volunteers to make this happen.
Conserving Africa's Wildlife
Poor local economic circumstances combined with inadequate law enforcement have resulted in indiscriminate poaching of wild animals across Namibia, mostly for their meat and hides, with trophy hunting further decimating Africa's wild animals.
The Namibia wildlife sanctuary is fully devoted to caring for sick and orphaned animals and to supplying them with habitats as natural as possible. They may come to the sanctuary from many different sources; some are tame animals that the owners can no longer look after whilst others may have been found trapped in snares or rescued from poachers intending to sell them. The sanctuary does all it can to release these animals back into the wild, but unfortunately this is not always possible, so that instead they are provided with the best possible home for the rest of their lives. You will be working closely with the animals, preparing their food, checking enclosure perimeters and checking the health of the animals. It is a truly magical place and one which you will feel very privileged to have visited and contributed to.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
This project provides you with a rare and exciting opportunity to help make a difference to both children and African wildlife. You will spend up to four days a week assisting the teacher in the bushman school on the farm, started to provide education to the children whose parents cannot afford to send them to school. Subjects taught may include English, numeracy, conservation, arts and crafts, circle games and physical activities. The number of children changes frequently,with around 20, aged between two and 15, currently attending. Afrikaans is spoken by some of the children but the main language is bushman. Gaining the trust and friendship of the children is the key to this role. Planning, initiative and creativity are vital skills and you will have the opportunity to improve the school facilities and inject your own ideas and experience to develop the school and improve the children's education.
When not teaching you will care for and feed the injured or orphaned animals in the sanctuary, as well as cleaning enclosures and helping to develop and maintain the sanctuary. The animals that make their home here include mammals as diverse and exciting as lions, cheetahs, baboons, meerkats and jackals and much more. Our baboons form a large part of the project; if there are baby baboons on the project, then volunteers become surrogate mums for the little ones, bottle feeding and sleeping overnight with them. They also go for walks with any babies currently at the sanctuary and our tame bigger baboons. We cannot predict when young baboons will arrive at the sanctuary so the number and ages may vary but there are currently over 20, ranging from around six months to two years old. Afternoon activities may include feeding and caring for the animals, including cutting and throwing raw meat to our large carnivores (not for the squeamish!) as well as hand feeding the meerkats. You will prepare and feed the baboons and farm animals and will also help to maintain the animal enclosures on the farm, clearing out old food and mess, cleaning waterholes and removing old bones from feeding.
You will get to spend part of each week playing with and looking after some of animals on the farm, including caracals, cheetahs and meerkats. Part of your work will include building and maintenance on the farm; previous projects volunteers have helped with include building fencing and trenches for our new vegetable patch and building a new baboon camp enclosure. You need to be prepared for hard work but it's very rewarding to see the results of your efforts. You will take part in border fence patrol on the golf carts and carnivore enclosure patrol on foot with a trained farm worker.