Greening Young Futures

Through our commitment to conservation, we advocate for the education, empowerment, and opportunity of our youth, recognizing them as the custodians of tomorrow’s future.

Empower youth in conservation areas:
• Foster personal empowerment in vulnerable youth through education and skills development.
• Create tangible opportunities for these youth to thrive and pursue their aspirations.

  • Nyosi Wildlife Reserve
  • Wilderness Foundation Africa
  • Connected Planet Foundation

Every year, we join forces with Wilderness Foundation Africa to host a transformative youth development program at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. Twenty participants from neighboring communities—KwaNobuhle, Greenbushes, and St Albans—are carefully chosen to embark on the month-long “Siyazenzela” Employability, Wellness, and Leadership Training initiative.

With a legacy of over 25 years in nurturing vulnerable youth to become economically empowered and environmentally conscious citizens, Wilderness Foundation Africa stands as our esteemed partner in fulfilling our shared mission of advancing environmental education and bolstering the resilience of South African youth.

Participants in the Siyazenzela program not only acquire job-ready skills but also undergo personal growth and introspection. The program’s core aim is to guide young individuals from unemployment towards meaningful employment, offering them vocational training and pathways to opportunities such as job placements, higher education, or entrepreneurship ventures.

Covering themes of emotional, social, occupational, financial, physical, and environmental wellness, the Siyazenzela curriculum is holistic in its approach to youth development.

A pivotal aspect of the program is the Wilderness Trail—an immersive experience that taps into the transformative power of nature. Here, young participants discover their inner strength and resilience, laying the groundwork for a stable and empowered future. This wilderness journey instills a deep appreciation for nature’s value and instills a sense of stewardship, empowering youth to positively influence others with their newfound knowledge.

Each year, two exceptional graduates of the Siyazenzela program are honored as Rhino Champions, embarking on a transformative six-month internship at Nyosi Wildlife Reserve. These internships, sponsored through our Rhino Conservation Program, embody our commitment to providing tangible benefits to communities involved in wildlife conservation.

During their internship, these champions immerse themselves in all aspects of hospitality, ecotourism, reserve management, wildlife protection, conservation, and community outreach. It’s a comprehensive experience designed to nurture their passion and broaden their understanding of conservation practices.

As part of our pledge to empower communities, one Rhino Champion intern is chosen on completion of their internship to continue their journey as a Cheetah Champion. This prestigious role delves deeper into the realm of conservation and ecotourism, fostering a lifelong dedication to preserving our natural heritage. Cheetah Champions are enrolled into a skills development program, leading to certification for a particular job, such as a safari guide or field ranger.

Our Wildlife Champions are more than just interns; they are ambassadors for wildlife conservation in their communities. They inspire others to appreciate the richness of our biodiversity and encourage fellow youths to explore rewarding careers in conservation and ecotourism. Together, they champion the cause of protecting South Africa’s natural treasures for generations to come.

We’ve partnered with the Connected Planet Foundation to orchestrate enriching outdoor educational experiences for students from schools in communities in conservation areas. These immersive journeys take them to a wildlife reserve, teeming with a diverse array of wildlife. For many of these students, it’s their inaugural encounter with a wildlife reserve, offering them a unique opportunity to connect with nature firsthand.

We firmly believe that experiences like these hold the power to shape a young person’s future. By fostering a deep appreciation for conservation and wildlife, we aspire to ignite a passion within these students, inspiring them to pursue careers dedicated to safeguarding our natural world.