Children in the Wilderness Rwanda is launched

The latest Children in the Wilderness Newsletter was sent out this morning. You can read it here:

“Development is about more than money, or machines, or good policies – it’s about real people and the lives they lead,” as the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, says. This couldn’t be more in line with how we see things at Children in the Wilderness (CITW), since our aim is to facilitate sustainable conservation through leadership development and education of rural children in Africa. And so we’re thrilled to announce that we have launched our programme in Rwanda!

The background

Following the opening of Wilderness Safaris’ innovative Bisate Lodge, the community of Bisate has been involved in the restoration of this delicate ecosystem through the pioneering reforestation programme, which has seen over 20 000 indigenous trees planted around the Bisate site to date. Guests are also welcomed into the village, meeting and interacting with the friendly people of Bisate.

In line with Wilderness Safaris’ 4Cs sustainability ethos (Commerce, Conservation, Community and Culture), CITW has been launched in the community surrounding Bisate Lodge. Here we aim to provide a specialised focus on environmental education for the children of Bisate who will one day become the decision makers and conservation leaders of the community.

Training our Eco-Mentors

At the end of March, Bisate Primary School hosted a two-day CITW Eco-Mentor training, led by Regional Programme Coordinator and Wilderness Safaris Culture Coordinator Bongani Baloyi for 30 enthusiastic teachers. General Manager of Bisate Lodge, Ingrid Baas, coordinated the training and, as always, showed her passion for the CITW programme. The programme involved an introduction to CITW and how our programme is structured. Bongani then guided the teachers through a few lessons from our Eco-Club Resource Books, showing them how our lessons work – and of course, that there is plenty of fun to be had too!

The Eco-Club Begins

Bisate Primary School has confirmed that it will run Eco-Club meetings every Friday from 15:00 to 17:00, with 60 students from grades four to six, divided into two groups of 30 each. Each group meets twice a month alternating with the other group each week.

Nine teachers have committed their time and energy to the environmental club, as well as a team of Wilderness Safaris staff from Bisate Lodge who have decided to be a part of CITW by becoming involved.

The Eco-Mentors were eager to get going, and so have begun working on the garden projects that are already in place at Bisate Primary School. When the new school term starts at the end of April, they will be ready to run the lesson plans.

Ingrid shared her hopes for CITW Rwanda: “In the short term, I hope that the current Eco-Club activities at Bisate Primary School will really get a boost and will be more productive and reach more children. Long term, we’re looking at setting up environmental projects, organising environmental outings and of course hosting the Eco-Club members on an Annual Camp.”

You can make a difference to these children, and in turn help the development of Rwanda and its people.