Born Free has two sanctuaries situated on Shamwari Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Both these sanctuaries have fully equipped education centres. Our education program has been running since 1999 with the opening of our first sanctuary the Julie Ward Centre. We work closely with schools from across the country and with our local communities. Our education program gives children an opportunity to learn about Born Free and its principals and to see the amazing wildlife of the Eastern Cape roaming free on Shamwari. Through the Born Free Global Friends Campaign and corporate sponsorship we are able to help five schools in close vicinity to the sanctuaries with much needed equipment and infrastructure. With our community projects we hope to empower people by giving them necessary skills to generate income and we are currently training locals from Paterson as field guides.
Education is very important to us as it is the only way that beautiful animals like the ones we have in our sanctuaries will stop ending up in the conditions in which they are found. All the rescued lions and leopards at our sanctuaries are ambassadors for other captive wild animals living in horrific conditions. Born Free/Shamwari has a very dedicated and dynamic education team who works closely with the animal care team and often assists with the care of the animals.
Christine Le Roux, Education Manager
My name is Christine Le Roux and I truly am the luckiest person alive as everyday from 8am to 5pm I get to live out my dream. Environmental Education is my biggest passion and I am so privileged to have a job that allows me to live out this passion each day. It is great working for an organization such as Born Free which allows me to make a difference in the world.
My duties include the running of the education program and I am responsible for ensuring that a valid conservation educational experience is offered to all students and that sustainable community projects are run. I am also in charge of the Global Friends Campaign in South Africa and I approach companies for additional sponsorship for the schools as we have to share our funds with five schools.
This year is very exciting for me as in April I will have officially been working for BFF/Shamwari for a year. I will also be starting with a project that very close to my heart known as Eco-Schools. Eco-Schools is an international program that encourages schools to live sustainably, manage resources wisely and improve environmental management. It incorporates environmental learning with the school curriculum. Each of the schools will choose one of the five themes (Healthy Living, Resource Management, Nature and Biodiversity, Heritage and Culture or Local and Global Issues). They then have to do a project and lesson plans relating to the theme. For more info on Eco-Schools visit there website at: www.wessa.org.za/eduecoschools.asp
I will be updating you all on our blog with all the fun and exciting things our education department gets up to!
Matthews Dingaan, Education Assistant Julie Ward Centre
My name is Matthews Dingaan and I am the newest addition to the Born Free Shamwari Education Team. I love being outdoors working with children, teaching them about conservation and why wild animals should be kept in the wild. I like helping out with the animal care team as that way I get to care for the animals which is also a great passion of mine. I am happy to be part of the team and I look forward to influencing the lives children in a positive way.
Sidney Clay, Animal Care Assistant
My name is Sidney Clay and I have been working for Born Free/Shamwari for over 6 years now. Until very recently I was involved in the Education Department but felt that I needed a change in focus after such a long time. Education still remains very close to my heart and I help out with the education team where ever I can. I have been living in the Paterson community for many years and I am well known by the people. Because I am part of the community and have a great understanding of how think and work I act as the community liaison for the Born Free/Shamwari team.