Via Africa Conferencing seeks to build partnerships with individuals, lodges, hotels, camps and companies that positively contribute to their surrounding environments. Below are just a few of the key challenges facing the African people and our wildlife.
- Poverty in communities surrounding important conservation areas
- HIV/AIDS and the access to antiretrovirals (ARVs)
- Combating malaria and preventable diseases
- Education and the development of schools
- A lack of access to fresh water
- Limited primary health care and clinics
- Poaching and illegal hunting of wildlife and endangered species
- Wildlife and conservation education
Via Africa Conferencing has been fortunate to be involved in a number of inspirational projects. We consider ourselves a “channel” for putting our clients, from around the world, in touch with local people at ground level. Speak to us about the possibilities of adding an ‘ethical ice-breaker’ to your programme. This may range from painting a classroom to creating a vegetable garden – or any number of ideas to add sustainable value in a local community.
Through our continued commitment to responsible travel, we hope to support and learn from the leaders of these wonderful organisations. Our involvement to date has resulted in a significant benefit to our own company, and we have had the privilege of hosting a school choir at a number of our functions. This has helped to raise the confidence of the pupils, and with the generous donations by friends and visitors, has resulted in much needed support. We recognise a need for learners to be able to express themselves outside the classroom, and we are therefore encouraging the arts and sport.
Only by working closely with the local communities are we able to understand their specific needs. This has also enabled us to take our friends and clients into these areas where they can meet with local people and discuss issues face-to-face. This goes a small way towards developing cultural tourism within our province.
Projects and people
There are many inspirational projects throughout Africa and, in particular, the countries through which we travel. Via Africa Conferencing is proud to be involved with the following schools and projects:
Fundinjobo High School
Situated in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, the school is providing valuable education to its enthusiastic learners. Under the leadership of the headmaster, Mr Twala, and a dedicated team of teachers, the school has seen significant improvements over recent years. Visitors to the school always remark on the high level of dedication from both students and teachers alike. With limited resources, and only basic infrastructure, it relies on this hard work and dedication.
We have been working closely with the school choir. The talent that exists within the learners is phenomenal, and with financial assistance the choir has been able to compete at a national level, winning acclaim and awards wherever they sing. We hope to get more involved in helping to develop the talent that this wonderful school is nurturing. It is incredible to see how the school welcomes anybody wanting to get involved. They open their doors to people with a genuine interest in its wellbeing, and are more than happy to show off their well-kept grounds.
Hlau Hlau Primary School
This school has had a turbulent and dysfunctional past. Its surrounds were once a place that outsiders feared, and scant attention was paid to educating its many children. In more recent times, a transformation has created hope where before there was none. A sense of pride has instilled itself in the people who live in the Hlau Hlau community, and the positive effects have gone way beyond the school boundary.
Lead by Principal Thandi Morupane, this wonderful school is now molding young minds and trying hard to install discipline and hard work in its young learners. Tucked away in a rural township near Nelspruit this inspirational institution has become a pillar of hope for an entire community. Thandi came second in the category of excellence in primary school leadership in the 2008 National Teaching Awards, and has continued her valuable work throughout the years. Her team of teachers and staff are dedicated to the task of caring for the schools’ many pupils. Special attention is, however, needed as most of the children at the school are orphans. With generous support from various donors, the school is able to protect these orphans and vulnerable children, and future proposals are aimed at expanding this support beyond the classrooms.
The Gumboots Foundation
The Spirit of Africa beats within all our hearts, inspiring those who can to donate and make a positive impact to some of the poorest communities. It is in this spirit that the Gumboots Foundation was created. It aims to provide people living both locally and overseas with an opportunity to involve themselves with quality community-based projects that are making a positive contribution to change and upliftment of South Africans.
The Gumboot Foundation does this by raising awareness and donations that are channeled into existing projects. They have received support from the UK, USA, Canada and South Africa – and this has helped in a basic way to sustain the projects. While the starting point is through financial assistance, the broader goal is to foster mutual understanding. The following projects are currently supported by Gumboots Foundation in Alexandra Township, and any visitor to Johannesburg is welcome to get in touch to arrange a trip to find out more about them: Leratong Pre-school; Sigiya Sonke Dance Group; and Ratang Bana Child Support. (www.gumboots.org.za)