Our mission is to contribute to the building of strong communities, families and individuals within the rural and conservation context where Amakhala Game Reserve is located.
The social development programme on Amakhala operates through a committee of 4 owners and a staff representative from each lodge, broadening participation in the social development decision-making process.
Our focus is:
Early childhood development: A Preschool was successfully established on one of the Amakhala properties 2 years ago. Training for the teacher, equipment and premises were provided, as well as a stipend for the teacher to supplement the fees paid by parents. We are in the process of using the same model to set up pre-schools at other properties on Amakhala and in nearby Paterson.
We are aiming to start a bursary fund for rural scholars who show potential and enthusiasm. The bursary will consist of tuition fees, uniform, stationery and possibly boarding fees to attend a model C school in one of the bigger centres.
Every three months we hold an HIV/Aids Awareness Day. A presentation is given by the Rafael HIV and Aids Centre of Grahamstown on Aids prevention and other related topics, like TB & healthy eating habits. They also bring a nurse to facilitate voluntary testing and a counsellor to provide necessary counselling. There is a support system set up in the lodges. Each lodge has nominated a staff member to be provided with training as an HIV/Aids facilitator to help with advice and information and another staff member to be trained as a peer counsellor for emotional support.
Amakhala is committed to employing staff from our local community, and over 80% of our staff members are local. Staff members are continuously being put through various in-house training programmes to enable them to take on new positions and responsibilities. Some have been involved in Theta Hospitality Learnerships and some have participated in field guide courses, computer courses, First Aid courses, HIV/ Aids training, Spa therapy, learners and drivers licence courses. Developing and expanding the capacity of existing staff, many of whom have lived on the Amakhala properties for generations, is a priority. The aim of the training being provided is to take them from Agriculture into Tourism.
Amakhala has a field guide training programme on the reserve which is run by Ulovane Environmental Training. Through this program, two previously disadvantaged people per year from our local community are provided with field guide training. Ulovane is considered one of the best environmental training outfits in the country.
Relationship Building and Developing a Sense of Community
The aim is to create a reserve where all parties involved are committed, willing and able to make a contribution to the development of the reserve and to benefit from the achievement of its vision and objectives.
In the early stages of Amakhala’s inception, we engaged in a process of monthly workshops with the Centre for Social Development from Rhodes University. The staff of the Reserve was divided into two geographical groupings and met together to discuss and resolve issues of importance to them and their environment. This process was then taken one logical step further to include owners and management in order to further strengthen relationships, break down barriers and develop a shared understanding of aims and objectives.
On a lighter note, we hold an annual inter-lodge soccer and netball tournament with 5 teams from the Reserve competing for top honours. Teams have their kit sponsored by Amakhala lodges.
On this day a social evening in the form of an “Amakhala has Talent” show and beauty pageant is held as well as a choir competition.
A range of possible income-generating projects have been identified: sewing business, candle-making, beaded jewellery, embroidery items, elephant dung paper, herb and veggie gardens and an indigenous nursery.
Feziwe makes staff uniforms, table cloths, hot water bottle covers and dressing gowns and other curio shop items.
These young ladies of Isipho get together every Thursday afternoon for a craft workshop. The workshops are facilitated by Amakhala Game Reserves Social Development Committee and trustees of the Isipho Charity Trust. The income generated helps to alleviate the poverty in their lives. Many of their homes rely solely on breadline government grants.
A 17- track CD has been cut of an Amakhala choir and is sold to guests as a direct income to this community project.
We support the Isipho HIV/Aids Program in our local town, Paterson 10km from Amakhala. Isipho cares for orphans and vulnerable children affected and infected by HIV/Aids. It also provides support & education to adults living with the HIV virus. Amakhala Game Reserve is actively involved with the management of Isipho. Two of our lodge owners, from Woodbury Lodge and Safari Lodge respectively are trustees of the Isipho Charity Trust. Our guests have contributed in many ways through fund raising & donations.
We supply food parcels monthly to the Centre and the Amakhala Hands-On Volunteers spend 2 afternoons a week helping with general maintenance, the veggie garden and with English language skills and basic computer skills. Through the Amakhala Hands-On volunteer programme, we have provided a mechanism for relationships to form between Isipho and international donors. The volunteers have raised in excess of R100 000.00 towards the purchase of a property, which will allow Isipho to have control over their future. The volunteers also regularly donate items of clothing and stationery to the children.
If you are interested in making a contribution to the social development work being done by Amakhala Game Reserve, please email the Trustees of the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org.Through the Amakhala Foundation we are able to issue Section 18(A) tax certificates for donations.