HOW DOES IT WORK?
Although the work DAKTARI has done over the last 13 years has contributed to a sharp decline in the amount of animals poached by our neighbouring communities, it is still a problem which is very present and must be dealt with by the community. The poaching makes it so the villages have no local wildlife anymore and the children have no exposure to these animals. The community is used to seeing animals as tools for work or food. Wild animals are generally considered dangerous and treated as such. Care for animals, be they domestic or wild, is something which is hardly ever seen as a priority.
With classes ranging from 67 to 132 students, it is very difficult for the children in the communities around us to attain a good level of education. Poor facilities and overcrowding create a toxic combination which debilitates the future of the children, the leaders of tomorrow. It further hinders their ability to get jobs in a province with an employment rate of only 49%.
No basic sanitation systems, poor access to water and most importantly a lack of awareness and education about the recycling and waste management leads many villages in the area to be full of waste. This is not only a problem because of the ‘aesthetics’ of the villages, but it also creates problems of health!
DAKTARI has three main areas of focus: the teaching program with children at the camp, our wildlife orphanage and our work in the community surrounding DAKTARI.
DAKTARI invites 8-10 children each Monday to stay for five days. We teach the children about the environment and conservation, including anti-poaching, pollution and identifying animal tracks. We also supplement their regular schooling with math games and social talks about respect, substance abuse and safe sex. The children get one-on-one attention from the volunteers and engage in fun activities throughout the week.
The animals at DAKTARI come from various people and game reserves in our area. They have often been found abandoned by their mother or simply injured. These animals in many cases, unfortunately, after being hand raised can not be rehabilitated into the wild because they are too dependent on humans or have lost their fear of people and therefore become dangerous. This is when they are brought to us. DAKTARI is not a rehabilitation center but rehabilitates as much as possible, when possible. The objective of DAKTARI is to give them a second chance at life while serving the purpose of educating underprivileged children to care, love and protect them.
Our work doesn’t stop at DAKTARI’s gate. We go into the local villages weekly to provide environmental education opportunities to children at the high schools. We also sponsor and implement community improvement projects like building dustbins or planting trees. When the children are busy writing their exams, we host a Job Hunting Program where local unemployed youths gain the skills they need to find a job.
Through DAKTARI’s programs we have reached more than 4,000 children in 10 years, cared for hundreds of animals, and helped dozens of youth get employed. If you want to become involved with DAKTARI’s work, consider becoming a volunteer or donating!