On 20th February we warmly welcomed a dozen children and two teachers from the local school of Mwaseni to Siwandu - part of our Selous Safari Kids initiative. After the welcome and orientation we split the group up into two both led by one of our staff, Claude & Saidi, and they visited each of the camp departments in turn. Tanzanian schools offer no career guidance at all so its wonderful to offer the children some insight into the travel industry as a possible career path, to encourage them to talk to our trained staff on how to study or gain experience for that job and the benefits of working for safari camps such as Selous Safari Company, including a steady, competitive salary with tips, healthcare for them and their family, a pension in the bank for their retirement and of course engagement in their career with plenty of on the job training.
This initiative also allows them to see the reserves and parks of Tanzania as more than a place for visitors but a place for them to enjoy and be proud of and importantly areas for them to conserve and protect as they can see it as a source of revenue in their future career. And this idea of conservation begins in the day with a game walk led by Mpoto. After a busy morning it's time for lunch with more opportunity to talk to our staff and also us, Emma & George, of our story and why we love living in Selous!
After lunch the children embarked on a boat cruise with Kandindi followed by a lecture from Mohammed on the history of Selous, Siwandu and the environment including pollution and poaching. Once again reiterating the importance of protection rather than poaching. At the end of the day there were goodbyes and each child received a goodie bag which included Selous Kids books in and a pencil, as well as some kind donations from a guest of colouring books, pencils, cartoon comics, puzzles, which we had divided up and were loved by the children!
This is the third Selous Safari Kids day and each one has proved such a positive success with each child returning home, sharing their experiences with their family and friends and spreading the word of conservation - we look forward to hiring them in the future and working with them to ensure Selous Game Reserve is protected forever.