Neighboring the incredible wilderness of Singita Game Reserve are the local community villages of the Shangaan people – a rich cultural heritage descending from the Tsonga group of Northern and Southern Africa.
Since the inception of the luxury safari lodges at Singita Game Reserve the group’s Community Development Trust has lent support to this indigenous people and as of 2008, at the core of their work has been the educational programs implemented in collaboration with the READ Education Trust for child development and literacy training. About 10 pre-schools have been set-up in the surrounding villages where individuals grow from simple caretakers to gaining vocational training to become educators and efficient helpers for the development of physical and social skills in the young children. Educational toys, books and stationary tool kits have been sourced from the program and via donations from guests.
In addition to training in managerial skills and tutoring practitioners from the local READ Educational Trust, visiting trainers from Teach with Africa (an American NGO) come annually for a 2-month period to help the teachers gain modern techniques and new tools for growing the program, follow-through in the children’s development when they are ready to go to big school and ideally, extending this literacy initiative further onward to more of the outer lying villages in the formation of added schools.
As a result of the educational initiatives, many additional scopes have empowered this rural community:
- Nutritional program for feeding the youngsters a balanced meal with small-farming undertaken by one of the communities members and local staff at Singita lodges.
- Small-business development and support for the agricultural undertaking for growing food by the local staff that now supply fresh produce such as honey, eggs, meat and vegetables – and indeed are a wonderful marketplace for the lodge kitchens to support this endeavor, furthering the community’s role in hosting your stay and remaining an integral part of the land.
- Clean water supply to the villages.
- Assistance with healthcare and a local clinic at Justicia Village.