Children in the Wilderness Zimbabwe hosted an inaugural YES Programme Enterprise Camp at the end of August. This camp brought together 17 Form 3 girls from Ngamo Secondary, Kapane Secondary, and Sipepa High Schools in the Tsholotsho area near Hwange National Park.
While the focus on this camp was on environmental education, life skills, enterprise, and entrepreneurship, the emphasis was on the importance of women, with the aim being to inspire and motivate the girls involved – ensuring that they understood that they can have big dreams and reach them.
Generously funded by The International Centre of Excellence for Community Schools, facilitators Brian Parker and Elvira Hadzibegovic Bubanja joined us in hosting an educational, inspirational, and fun-filled three-day camp.
Held at Victoria Falls Rest Camp, the young ladies, together with a teacher to chaperone them, made their way to Victoria Falls by train, arriving on the Tuesday morning. After a hearty breakfast, and once they were settled in, we began the camp with some icebreakers and introductions.
Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning were spent discussing ‘the adventure of life’ and decision-making. In the afternoon, a guided excursion with Charles Brightman and Discover Safaris took the girls into Zambezi National Park on a game drive. The girls were treated to some special sightings and came back beaming – hugely excited to share their experience. On Thursday, the focus was on community mapping, and the girls learned how to look for business opportunities within their communities. Friday morning was then spent on a follow-up, looking into ideas for entrepreneurship.
Two inspirational women also joined us for dinner on the Thursday evening: Barbara Murasiranwa and Prudence Chinyemba. Barbara is a successful businesswoman based in Victoria Falls and Prudence is a pilot working towards her commercial licence. Prudence is currently working in flight dispatch for Wilderness Air, fitting in flying hours where she can. Both women spoke to the girls, explaining their stories and how they got to where they are. They proved that with passion and determination, anything is possible, and were a huge inspiration to the YES members.
On Friday afternoon the campers were joined for a tour of the falls by 12 students from the United States who are part of The Traveling School – an organisation that aims to empower girls by providing the opportunity to undertake a high school semester ‘on the move’ by going overseas and visiting places around the world that relate to what they are learning. A lunch and the visit to the Falls was the perfect opportunity to get all the girls together. Watching them interact was such a special opportunity – one that we hope to repeat in the future.
The evening seemed to arrive way too quickly, and before we knew it, it was time for the girls to board the train back to Tsholotsho. After goodbyes all round, we waved them off from the platform for their journey home.