1,000,000 Footprints – 9 schools in the Nkomazi District

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1,000,000 Footprints – 9 schools in the Nkomazi District

Driven by three Non-Profit Companies, namely, One More Generation, Dance To Be Wild and Children4Conservation,“1,000,000 Footprints to Save Africa” has launched an exciting campaign intended to uplift and inspire the youth of Africa and the World to unite together in a stand to save the natural heritage of Africa for the benefit of themselves and generations to come. The purpose of this campaign is to afford all children, irrespective of nationality, creed, colour or status, the opportunity to realise that their voices are powerful and capable of fuelling change and transformative action. It is their time to participate in the biggest display of unity ever seen. United, they have the potential to make positive change happen. By placing their footprints and names on sheets of fabric,the children of the world are participating in a united symbolic walk across the African continent – a peaceful protest against the continued exploitation and destruction of Africa’s natural resources.

In keeping with our commitment to bring this Campaign to every child, “1,000,000 Million Footprints to Save Africa” visited the Nkomazi District of Mpumalanga Province in South Africa between the 23 July and the 26 July 2014. During that week, the team called on 9 rural, less-advantaged schools in the area and delivered our message to approximately 8,800 children.

The schools visited were:

Day 1: 23rd July 2014:

Day 2: 24th July 2014:

Day 3: 25th July 2014:

Together with local talk show host and celebrity, Velile Mabaso – Nkomazi FM, the team comprising Margie Kolver, Cheryl Cook, Jax Bath, Amber Tilling-Richards and Vic Richards, spread the ‘Footprints’ message and shared awareness of how important wildlife conservation is to these children, especially in view of the fact that their livelihood is dependent on protecting the fauna and flora of the Kruger National Park. Fun-filled and action packed, the presentations were delivered by Jax Bath (16 years old) and supported by Amber Tilling-Richards, who is only 9 years old – a testament to our philosophy of ‘Children Teaching Children’.

At each school, the team was greeted with enthusiasm and excitement and many sang and danced as we quickly set-up the equipment. The children participated willingly and I believe we left a lasting impression and a good deal of knowledge behind in each place of learning.

However, the visits came with challenges – the main one being a language barrier, particularly amongst the younger children. In these circumstances, Velile Mabaso came to the party and translated and entertained the learners in their mother tongue – Swazi. In some schools, lack of facilities and electricity posed a hurdle, which our two presenters took in their stride and adapted accordingly. Overall, I can honestly state that the Campaign was a huge success and we achieved the objectives that were set – to unify the children of Africa in a stand to save Africa’s Wildlife.

On Friday, the travelling road-show was joined by the Children4Conservation Team, Eugene, Vanessa, Monique (14), Damien (10) and Genevieve (9) Theron. The children quickly became involved in the presentations as well, assisting Jax and Amber. We were also joined by Chris Daniel from Bongi’s Quest, who was a great hit in his rhino outfit.

Every school received a bundle containing sponges, cloths, bowls, pens, posters, education packs and sufficient fabric and paint for each learner to place his/her footprint. We were also able, thanks to Chris Daniels, to leave behind a box of the Bongi’s Quest Books at each school.

Saturday saw Sheila Bath and Johnny Upton of Dance To Be Wild join the crew for the weekend activities. These activities included an early Game Drive into Kruger Park with two representatives from each of the abovementioned schools (total 18 children, whose insight into conservation would be changed forever) and then a boerewors braai at the Henk van Rooyen Holiday Resort in Marloth Park to round off the day.

Thus far, we have received completed rolls of footprints from two schools and the highlight of the trip was stretching these rolls out along the road at Lower Sabie Camp in the Kruger National Park with the children in brightly coloured, 1,000,000 Footprints T-Shirts and Bongi’s Quest caps holding up their commitment for all to see. Another special moment was capturing each of the 18 children’s messages to the world on video. This, indeed, endorses the success of the campaign in Nkomazi

Margie Kolver

Member of the 1,000,000 Footprints Team

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