Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild


Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Education Blog
July 2016
Written by Sidney Clay, Education Officer

This month is school holidays but we had some groups visit us during holidays.  One was the Junior Rangers group in Port Elizabeth, run by Peter Willis who used to be the Education Officer here.  The learners had a good time as always and each one of them wants to come and work at Shamwari when they are grown up. They love the Born Free rescued cats, and on the game drives they enjoy seeing the signs of the wild.  I always explain to them about rhino middens, rubbing posts and spoors. This group also got lucky – they saw three black rhinos.  It was a first for them to see black rhinos. They enjoyed being in the bush.

On one of the viewing decks, looking at the rescued Born Free lions.

There was an Eco – Schools workshop held at the South African Marine Rescue and Education Centre in Port Elizabeth.   I took along some teachers from the schools that we support. The Wild Life and Environmental Society of South Africa (WESSA) hosted the event. The attendance was very good as most schools in the Port Elizabeth cluster were represented. As it was during the school holidays, we were delighted to see such a good attendance. 

The teachers reported on what their own schools had achieved through the Eco – Schools project. Some schools now have a vegetable garden, this helps them to supplement the government’s feeding scheme as the children don’t get sufficient vegetables from the scheme. Some schools have introduced waste management plans in place. Other schools did not celebrate the environmental days of the year but through the project they do so now. As our country is water scarce, the schools are monitoring the water usage at school using some of the learners to report any leaks they may find in their water system. The teachers also learnt some techniques to help them link their projects to the school’s curriculum. There had also been tips on how to get learners involved in the lesson that is given to them. Exercises and games were also part of how to involve learners to take part in a lesson. The teachers had to play the games and do some of the exercises.

Teachers playing the monopoly game at the Eco-Schools workshop

Because the workshop was held at SAMREC (South African Marine Rehabilitation and Education Centre), it was an opportunity for teachers to see some rescued penguins up close. Some teachers had never seen them in real life before.  They saw the feeding and got to learn what penguins eat.

Feeding time
Rescued penguins
Penguins swimming

As part of its community work, Shamwari has monthly animal clinics held in the Paterson Kwa-Zenzele community hall. Shamwari and its vet students do de-worming and tick treatment on the community cats and dogs. Thembela and I got involved this month, helping with the animals.

Thembela with a reluctant patient
Vet student at the monthly community animal clinic
Shamwari team a the animal clinic

As part of Mandela Week, I had some soccer balls, plastic cricket bats and clothing for the kids who visited our Centre. I also took some clothing that we don’t use at home and I visited an orphanage in Alexandria. The name of the orphanage is Jehovah Jireh.

It is in a little town of Alexandria in the Eastern Cape. It is run by a private couple, Molly and Neels Bam, with no government aid whatsoever.

Molly with some of her children at the orphanage

The Rector of the Anglican Church happened to be at the haven when I arrived. He prayed to give thanks to Almighty God for people who have hearts to think of needy children. 

Sidney with the Alexandria parish Anglican Church Rector

I also had learners from Victoria Girls Primary school. It is in Grahamstown and they visit us every year. They were lucky to see most of the Born Free cats and a lot of animals on the game drive. They are a talkative bunch but they were good company.

Victoria Girls School

The last school to visit was WB Tshume, a community school from Port Elizabeth. They visit us every year and they enjoy to coming.  The Principal says our program helps the learners make sense of the work in subjects like life sciences. It was very cold the day they came but the learners enjoyed their stay with us. They saw a lot of animals and they clearly had a good time.  

WB Tshume taking off for the game drive

This month had been pretty busy but we have enjoyed working to change lives.

That is all for now. Thank you.


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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