On the 26th of June, Wilderness Safaris donated 150 food hampers to Matlapana village in Botswana’s North-West District near Maun. Valued at P78 500, the donation was handed into the care of the Kgosi, Village Development Committee (VDC) and the social workers, and will provide much-needed support to identified vulnerable families who have been most affected by the current pandemic. In addition, the company donated a 10 000-litre fresh water reserve tank, valued at P9 000, to the Sexaxa community in the village, which had no potable running water.
Inspired by the Government’s efforts for its people during the lockdown period, Wilderness Safaris embarked on a journey to assist rural communities across Botswana, including Matlapana. After communicating with the social workers and the VDC in conjunction with village leadership, the company understood that the most pressing needs for this community were food and a water storage facility. Wilderness Safaris then raised the much-needed funds to help them meet their needs.
“Like many villages, Matlapana has been hard hit by the economic issues brought about as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the majority of these communities heavily reliant upon the tourism industry, food shortage challenges have become increasingly prevalent – calling for the private sector to work hand-in-hand with government in helping to alleviate poverty. We express our heartfelt gratitude to all our partners and donors who have generously come on board to assist those less fortunate during such a crucial time”, notes Kim Nixon, Wilderness Safaris Botswana MD.
A tremendous in-kind donation of USD5 000 was given by Diana Goldberg via Empowers Africa, Wilderness Safaris’ fiscal partner in the USA, thanks to an appeal sent out by close friend and trade partner to Wilderness Safaris, Brad Horn of Epic Private Journeys. The remaining amount was then fulfilled by the staff of Wilderness Safaris Botswana, Wilderness Air and Northern Air Maintenance, to the value of BWP11 670. This excludes the cost of logistics and staff time, valued at approximately P10 000.
“It was wonderful to support the people of Matlapana, where our first operational base was located over 37 years ago, and especially heartwarming to see Madala Joe, retired now, who served as an original Wilderness Safaris partner and stakeholder for over 22 years. Touched by our generosity, he couldn’t thank us enough for extending a helping hand to him and his village”, says Dave Luck, Wilderness Safaris Explorations Private Guide and one of the team members who helped with the handover.
Although the support has brought much-needed relief to the Matlapana community, Wilderness Safaris realises that there is still a long road ahead in order to combat the effects of the pandemic. “Our aim is to continue raising funds and doing what is in our power to support our community partners. As such, we have also made plans to further improve the water situation in Matlapana by adding another reserve tank and drilling two boreholes in the vicinity. Every single effort is absolutely key right now”, concludes Kim.
SUPPORT OUR CONSERVATION HEROES
~ Wilderness Safaris COVID Relief ~
The impact of COVID-19 in Africa has been profound – particularly on wildlife conservation and rural communities dependent on tourism. Please join us to support our Conservation Heroes. Together we are stronger, and together, we can continue to change lives. It only costs USD50 to feed a family for a month. Or USD5 000 to cover the monthly operations of an anti-poaching team. Every single contribution, no matter how big or small, makes a significant difference.
To learn more about Wilderness Safaris COVID relief efforts, click here.