Along with environmental awareness and the development of small enterprises, education is a key focus of our community partnership projects, and not all of it takes place in the classroom.
At Singita Sabi Sand in South Africa, our conservation partner The Lowveld Trust has partnered with Dreamfields, a non-profit organisation that works with the national Department of Education to put resources for playing soccer and netball into rural schools. Many younger people from outlying areas in South Africa aren’t equipped to play these sports competitively and are unable to reap the lifelong benefits of participating in a well-organised team activity.
Many Singita staff members and their families live in the villages just outside the Sabi Sand reserve, where 9 primary and 5 secondary schools have become part of the Dreamfields project. With both Under 14 and Under 19 leagues at play, the annual tournament in the region is a noisy and spirited event.
The direct link between regular physical activity and improved brain function and overall health has been well documented by scientific research, and it is something that Nicolas Shilubane, Chairperson of the Ximhungwe Circuit Sports Committee, has seen for himself watching the Dreamfields project in action. “Participation in sport, especially team sports like soccer, not only keeps their minds and bodies active but also teaches children life skills which they can then apply in the classroom. In our experience, the learners who are the most engaged at school are the same learners who are active in sport.”
Singita Lowveld Trust
In South Africa, the Singita Lowveld Trust manages a wide range of conservation projects in Singita Sabi Sand and Singita Kruger National Park – from anti-poaching initiatives to wildlife research & land management, sustainability efforts and community developments projects such as early childhood development, digital learning and a world-class culinary school.
A highly skilled team of tracking dogs and handlers enhance anti-poaching efforts in the Sabi Sand Reserve, while the Trust’s partnership with the global conservation NGO Panthera has shown that the area is home to the largest density of leopards of any protected area surveyed in South Africa. The Panthera’s Furs for Life project – of which Singita is a partner – has reduced the demand for leopard skins with 50%, and Singita is also a strategic founding partner of the Lionscape Coalition, supporting the Lion Recovery Fund’s goal to double wild lion numbers by 2050.