Environmental Education Program
DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage provides supplementary environmental and life skills education to Grade 8 learners in underprivileged communities that surround their base in South Africa. Every week DAKTARI welcomes a small group of children for five days of environmental and wildlife conservation lessons at their wildlife orphanage. The program aims to provide children with the passion, knowledge, and confidence to protect the animals and natural landscape around them.
In addition to environmental and wildlife conservation lessons, DAKTARI also helps to educate and empower participants through social talks, politeness talks, and career discussions. They also foster an open, welcoming, and respectful environment so the students feel comfortable sharing their experiences and concerns.
DAKTARI hopes to offer the environmental education program to a minimum of 350 children per year, and the GoAbroad Foundation has committed to helping them reach their goal by raising the $8,300 USD needed for 50 children to attend.
South Africa is in their third lockdown due to COVID. As of the end of June 2021, DAKTARI is no longer able to welcome children to their camp. They will continue to monitor the situation and resume their programs accordingly.
Empowering Children to Contribute to Sustainable Development in South Africa
Every Monday morning DAKTARI welcomes eight children to the camp to spend five days attending lessons and doing activities within the bush school and wildlife orphanage. Each lesson is taught by international volunteers who act as both teachers and animal care providers for various lengths of time. All volunteers receive training and a comprehensive manual with instructions on how to teach each lesson. Experienced DAKTARI staff also instruct volunteers how to properly care for the animals.
By hosting the Environmental Education Program at DAKTARI the children’s learning goes beyond a typical classroom setting, giving them the chance to interact with the animals at DAKTARI’s wildlife orphanage. The animals live in enclosures throughout the camp or live freely in the bush surrounding the camp. Twice per day, the children are given the chance to assist DAKTARI’s volunteers and staff with animal feeding and care. Whether it is a hungry squirrel or a curious marmoset monkey, each child is able to see animals up close during their program, all in a safe and fun environment.
Lessons at DAKTARI
Each day has a mix of lessons, activities, and animal interactions. In a stark contrast to their normal classes in secondary school, class sizes are kept small and individual attention is given to each child. Several lessons, such as animal knowledge, are designed to be taught one-on-one between the volunteer and child.
Another aspect of the program is introducing children to the kids of job opportunities available to them near their home. A portion of the week is spent with the children explaining the types of jobs at a game lodge. On on day, the children even go to a neighboring game lodge to ask questions and learn more about the staffs’ roles.
Near the end of the week, the children are brought together for a lesson called “Making South Africa a Better Place”. This is when the volunteers and students work together to explain how the environment, wildlife, and a clean community all contribute to the economy and culture of South Africa. The lesson ends with the children writing down six personal promises for themselves to follow in order to improve their lives and protect the environment. It is the final way DAKTARI’s environmental education program solidifies the lessons the students have learned and sets them off to a great start when they return to their homes and communities.