Inspiring the next generation

27 April 2022


Born Free’s Education Manager in South Africa, Vinourica Ndou, explains how a new careers expo event aims to support a generation of conservation-minded young people, to live in harmony with wildlife.

A group of school children wearing blue blazers standing outside a building

On the 20th of April, Born Free’s Education Team in South Africa sponsored 26 Grade 12 students from our partner school, Hendrik Kanise Combined School, to attend a careers expo. This group was the very first from the school to have such an experience.

Most students really did not know what they wanted to study after high school, or those that knew did not really know why they wanted to follow that career path. At the careers expo, there was a stall where students got a short career counselling session and l was very pleased to see that most of them visited this stall first and then toured the expo with this newly acquired knowledge in mind. 

The students have since shared with us what this opportunity meant to them as individuals:

“On the 20th of April 2022, l was fortunate enough to be one of the learners who attended the career expo at Nelson Mandela University. The Exhibition was an eye opener and a lot of learners, including myself, realized what their protentional is and which fields will be best for them. We got an opportunity to learn more about what is required to further our education at tertiary institutions. I would like to thank Born Free for making this day a successful one. I hope they give such opportunities to other learners in underprivileged schools. It was a good day.” – Vayo P.

“I write this to show gratitude and satisfaction for what you did for us. The trip was very helpful and educational. It was very meaningful and l learnt a lot. I went to the expo without a direction as to what l was going to study after high school, but when l came back l knew exactly want l wanted to study next year. I thank you so much for everything you are doing for our school – yours sincerely Lihle Ntshoko.”


“The program was great, and l learnt a lot. Firstly, l learnt that people do well in jobs when they choose careers that suit their personalities, otherwise they end up getting bored. Secondly, l discovered that not having physical science at our school is closing a lot of opportunities for us, for example l wanted to do physiotherapy but l was disappointed to a point where l even wanted to cry when l heard that l needs to have physical science in order to follow that career. I got an opportunity to wear graduation gown and it felt amazing. I was inspired and l got a chance to choose another career choice from the knowledge l received.” – Liyakhanya N.

“The exhibition was helpful to me and l got to be exposed to the real job market. A child from Alicedale, a very small town which lacks exposure, would think that careers range from tourisms and education, not knowing that there are many different career paths out there. Growing up, l had always wanted to be a teacher. l have now made a new decision to do public administration. I was helped from making a mistake that l would later regret. I only ask that let this be a yearly thing to assist children in making the right decision about their futures.” – Landiswa N.

After reading the letters from the students l understood that every single one of them really felt a need to individually express their gratitude, they wanted to be heard.  

For us, the aim was personal growth for the students, for every single one of them it was a life changing moment. I believe the students now have an opportunity to make informed, knowledgeable choices about their future in academics. 

This visit was part of a programme of work with our local communities and schools in Alicedale and Paterson, neighboring Shamwari Private Game Reserve, with the aim of supporting a generation of conservation minded young people, who live in harmony with wildlife.