Singita Pamushana is the ecotourism arm of the Malilangwe Trust, a not-for-profit organisation committed to conservation and community upliftment. As part of Singita’s dedication to empowering and supporting the local community, it has undertaken a massive feeding programme ensuring that children receive the nourishment they need resulting in better school attendance and better prospects for their futures.
In 2002 Zimbabwe experienced an acute drought, after which, local clinics reported a sharply increased number of cases of children suffering from malnutrition and associated illnesses. At the same time, schools recorded a steep drop in school attendance. Malnourished children appeared not to have the strength or the will to attend school and their parents, forced to focus on matters of survival, were unable to intervene. Studies have shown that poor nutrition in children has a negative impact on cognitive development, which can have long-term consequences for these children and their communities.The Child Supplementary Feeding Programme was created to address this real and urgent need. Singita Pamushana through its development and conservation partner, The Malilangwe Trust, heeded the government’s call for assistance and initiated an extensive supplementary feeding programme. Since its inception, the programme has provided additional food and nourishment to thousands of children in the local communities. Daily, 19,000 children (mostly aged 5 years and younger) are provided with a nutrient rich soya-corn blend. The ingredients are delivered to 436 feeding points which are managed by volunteers appointed by the local communities to oversee this core village activity. In doing so, the programme not only provides much needed nutrition, but by extension, an important and fundamental human right – the opportunity to realise one’s educational and developmental potential.
Support for local schools ranges from investing in infrastructure to the provision of suitable educational materials and teacher training. The Malilangwe Trust provides 4 education bursaries at tertiary level as well as funding HIV AIDS education for youth and its strategic partner Tunza, aimed at protecting and enhancing the health of the local population.
Capacity building and environmental awareness are fostered in various workshops and projects. A dedicated bush camp, ‘Hakamela’ hosts groups of children from 6 local Junior schools to teach them first-hand about the values of conservation. Approximately 15 courses are conducted per year with 20 learners per course.
The establishment of irrigation schemes that enable vulnerable communities to grow their own food and to supply drinking water for domestic livestock consumption, is a priority of the Trust. Approximately 10,000 people are now assisted daily through the provision of drinkable, clean borehole water.
Kambako Cultural Museum is a living museum that is a must-see for Singita Pamushana guests. The museum represents a village of hand-built huts and hand-crafted necessities. This initiative is the result of two Shangaan families’ desire to preserve the heritage and culture of the local Shangaan people, and Resident Ecologist, Dr Bruce Clegg’s keen interest in the preservation of bushcraft skills.
Donations ensure the long-term continuation of The Child Supplementary Feeding Programme and the extension of the programme to include the establishment of school vegetable gardens.
The cost of feeding one child for one school year is US$20 per year and this will cover one meal per day. Otherwise funding partners can sponsor a feeding point and so provide sufficient corn-soya blend to approximately 45 children per school day at a cost of $900 per year. If you are interested in making a real contribution to this continuing support of education and the augmenting of basic nutrition in our local communities (or to one of the other many community programmes supported by Singita Pamushana Malilangwe Trust as listed above) please contact the lodge manager at Singita Pamushana Lodge or Pam Richardson, Singita's Group HR and Community Development Manager at 27 21 683 3424 or firstname.lastname@example.org