What is the origin of this innovation? Tell us your story.
Children in the Wilderness (CITW) was initiated after a visit by the actor Paul Newman, to Botswana in 2000. His organisation, Association of Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, is dedicated to offering educational and recreational camps for children with life threatening conditions in America and Ireland. With their inspiration, Wilderness Safaris developed a similar programme in Southern Africa although due to different context, activities focus on orphaned and vulnerable children in rural environments.
The programme started in Botswana in 2001 and has been has been successfully implemented in the other southern African countries where Wilderness Safaris operates including Malawi, Namibia and South Africa. Children in the Wilderness Namibia conducted their first camps in 2002. Namibia has to date, coordinated 23 camps and taken over 500 children through the programme. The programme is dedicated to helping children whose normal childhoods have been interrupted and disrupted by poor health, poverty and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, especially those who live in remote rural areas. The programme aims to increase the capacity of young Namibians to cope with life’s challenges and to educate, empower and inspire them to actualize their greatest potential and to contribute to a legacy of conservation.
Please provide a personal bio. Note this may be used in Changemakers marketing material.
My name is Sarah Omura. I came to Namibia in 2004 as a VSO Volunteer and worked on community based income generation projects. I was introduced to Children in the Wilderness first during 2004 and asked if I would like to volunteer as one of the staff members on a camp. After this first camp I fell in love with the programme and have since done all the camps. The job as project co-ordinator became available and I jumped at it.