Children in the Wilderness is a non-profit organisation supported by ecotourism company Wilderness Safaris, which aims to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa.
Insight, care and commitment are required to conserve Africa’s pristine wilderness and wildlife areas. If we are to ensure that these places continue to exist – in this generation and those to come – we need the rural children of Africa to understand the importance of conservation and its relevance in their lives. Hence, our Children in the Wilderness programme: an environmental and life skills educational programme for children, focusing on the next generation of decision-makers; inspiring them to care for their natural heritage and to become the custodians of these areas in the future.
This is achieved in a variety of ways – from hosting Eco-Club programmes at local schools, to running camps at Wilderness Safaris and partner camps, for the children within the rural communities that live on the edges of the wild areas of Africa.
Children in the Wilderness has also begun a number of other initiatives to assist children and their teachers and parents within their own milieu, such as school nutrition schemes, village upliftment programmes and scholarship programmes.
In August 2001, Paul Newman and his family travelled to Africa on a two-week safari with Wilderness Safaris. During this trip, it was suggested that the respective visions of the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps (Newman’s initiative) and Wilderness Safaris could be combined and blended to create a sustainable and effective African programme. In December of the same year the first Children in the Wilderness programme was launched.
The creation of Children in the Wilderness was an organic evolution of the vision of Wilderness Safaris, which has always been that we need to face the challenge of Africa’s wildlife areas being under severe pressure – indeed, the areas in which Wilderness Safaris operates are some of the planet’s more sensitive and fragile environmental hotspots. Therefore, by focusing on children, Children in the Wilderness believes that a programme of this calibre can impact significantly on the local communities in the hope of securing the future of these fragile areas.