Happy in the Wilderness

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By Staff Reporter

WINDHOEK

Forty-seven orphaned children from Rundu, Tsumeb, Opuwo and Bergsig went on two six-day wilderness camping programmes at the Desert Rhino Camp in the private Palmwag Concession in December last year.

“It was amazing seeing the change in children over the course of the camps,” said Sarah Omura, Programme Coordinator of the Children in the Wilderness Namibia initiative.

“At first, they were quite shy and scared of the unfamiliar surroundings but with the love and support from our dedicated team of staff, the children began to grow in self-confidence and esteem and by the end of the camps, they went home filled with a new sense of hope and purpose for the future.”

The Children in the Wilderness initiative is a programme that hosts disadvantaged children at Wilderness Safaris camps.

The December camps were on the 22nd and 23rd, held since the start of the project in Namibia in 2002.

During camping, the children learned to interpret and appreciate their environment through wildlife and conservation awareness raising, and are taught life skills as necessary tools to actualise their greatest potential.

The programme, which is a joint venture between Children in the Wilderness and Wilderness Safaris, aims at helping children whose childhoods have been interrupted or disrupted by poor health, poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The remote location of the Desert Rhino Camp provided the children the unique opportunity to learn about the wildlife, birds and plants of the area.

The children, said Omura, were amazed to see many animals for the first time like the desert-adapted elephant, gemsbok, giraffe, Hartmann’s mountain zebra and black rhino.

“For many of the kids, this was the first time they had ventured outside of their small communities, and it was a real privilege for Children in the Wilderness to be able to show them the incredibly rich and diverse habitats that are part of the country they live in,” said Omura.

“I would like to become a guide when I leave school,” said 11-year-old Paulus after the camp. “I want to show tourists the wildlife of Namibia.”

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