The African Bush Camps Foundation was initiated to effect real and lasting change to rural communities in close proximity to the wildlife areas in Zimbabwe and Botswana where African Bush Camps operate. Focused on empowering these communities, and ensuring that the ‘Tourism Dollar’ has a meaningful impact, the projects involve creating long-lasting development with regards to conservation, education, resource management and more.
Following the development of the new Khwai Tented Camp, located on a semi-permanent site within the Khwai Community Area, African Bush Camps Foundation have initiated discussions with the local community to focus on two immediate projects in the area:
- Developing a pre-school for the Khwai Village children
- Access to water for the elderly living in the Khwai Village
In a meeting which took place last week to discuss the development of the pre-school, owner Beks Ndlovu met with the local chief, the members of the Khwai Development Trust, National Parks, and various members and elders from the community.
Following the positive and successful discussions, African Bush Camps Foundation spear-headed a ‘Khwai Village Clean Up’ whereby staff from African Bush Camps assisted the community with collecting and removing rubbish from around the village.
The Khwai community is situated 250km from Maun, adjacent to the north gate of the Moremi Game Reserve and has a population of approximately 300 people who are predominately of bushman decent. Primarily a displaced population who were moved out of their traditional homes and hunting grounds of the Moremi Game Reserve in 1960 and relocated to the current town of Khwai, the community rely on hunting permits, royalties from the trophies, selling weaved baskets, and travellers staying at the public campsites. With a lack of guidance and good administration, a lot of the needs of the local community have been unmet and today the people have similar challenges as those of other displaced communities seen elsewhere worldwide.
There are no facilities such as a school or clinic in the Khwai Village and the primary school children are generally being sent to boarding school 140km the other side of Maun. There is no pre-school or any other facilities for young children in the village. The main source of employment is the safari industry, with the photographic businesses having thrived and expanded in the last 10 years in the area. The most vulnerable people in the community have been identified as the elderly members and the very young children.
Access to water for the elderly:
The greatest challenge for the elderly in the community is access to running water. There are community water points throughout the village but with the limited mobility of the elderly, these are inaccessible to them. At present there are 5 homesteads of elderly people in Khwai in need of having water made accessible which we are currently fundraising for.
We are currently working with the community to start a pre-school in the Khwai Village. The children will be taught by a local teacher and assistant from the Khwai Community and we have trained pre-school teachers willing to volunteer to assist in the training of these teachers. There are over 30 children in the community aged between 3 and 6 years who would attend the pre-school until they reach 6 years at which point they would leave for Maun or boarding school to start their formal schooling. We are currently in the process of securing a building for the pre-school and fundraising for play-ground equipment, pre-school materials such as arts and crafts equipment, educational toys, games and puzzles. Our aim is to open the preschool early in 2013.
To get involved or donate towards the projects, please kindly contact Sophia@africanbushcampsfoundation.org