Our White Lion Community Conservation Program has been established to encourage environmental awareness and social responsibility. It is an outcome-based educational program which recognises our rich cultural heritage as the key to community healing, empowerment and upliftment.
The White Lion is a powerful symbol of motivation and enlightenment, long revered throughout Africa. Through this motivational beacon, the program aims to create a sense of pride and joy in our culture, our heritage, our environment and our people.
Using indigenous knowledge to instil a sense of self-worth and motivation amongst school goers, it is aimed at enhancing the childrens’ performance at school, encouraging them to see greater opportunity in life. This promotes their active participation within the greater community.
Information passed on in a creative manner carries with it a greater sense of connection if the learners can relate this knowledge to themselves and their surroundings. Our main channel for passing on knowledge is the medium of story telling in the vein of old Africa.
Our program is based on the belief that each and every member of the school is as meaningful as all that surrounds them and they can, therefore, make a difference.
An example is the case where Funjwa Primary School (in Acornhoek) is making the costumes for a White Lion Play, for which Southern Cross Wildlife School (in Hoedspruit) is designing the stage set. This play is being presented at other schools as
Vital part of the motivational program.
Cultural Heritage Centre
The Trust’s White Lion Reintroduction Program and Heritage Site in the greater Timbavati region offers an ideal opportunity for the restoration of our country’s image-building on a local and international level. An interpretative educational centre is planned for this site, which is intended to consolidate the programs taking place within the schools in the region.
This Day Centre will be visited by school groups, who will gain greater knowledge about the White Lions from a scientific, historic, geographic, cultural, spiritual and conservation perspective.
The Cultural and Environmental significance of the White Lion will attract visitors of all kinds.
Prize-winning works of art and culture will be put on display at this centre, thereby incentivizing not only the school-going participants in the educational program, but entertaining the visitors attending the Day Centre. The visitor centre is, therefore, both a forum and platform where the education program and the greater community can come together to mutual benefit. In accordance with the spirit of African Renaissance and the Proudly South African campaigns, the educational programs may be presented to visitors, both local and foreign, as an expression of our national pride in our rainbow cultural and environmental heritage. Presentations will take place both within the Heritage Site, with day trips to community centres.
Pride and self-worth rather than weaknesses are focused on.
Each learner is invited to express themselves in whichever medium or subject is their strongest point. Play acting, story telling, poetry, singing, painting, pottery and wire-work are amongst the skills expressed in the course of the program. School goers are encouraged to use recycled materials in their presentations, thus promoting a sense of inventiveness as well as environmental awareness.
These events are staged for visitors, with the entire proceeds going to the community. The community itself is free to decide what percentage they give in return towards the conservation of the White Lions. In this way, the cultural and conservation aspects of the White Lion program work hand-in-hand in a mutually empowering and rewarding fashion.
Funjwa Lower Primary School
Funjwa Lower Primary School is one of our pilot projects. Situated in the small village of Acornhoek in the bushveld region of South Africa, the head of the school, Daphne Mhaule, is a miracle worker who seeks constantly to improve the lives of both her pupils and their families.
Many of the pupils’ parents are unemployed and are not able to give their children a daily meal or they have succumbed to AIDS, leaving many older siblings and relatives to look after the orphans. Schools in these areas can help to alleviate the situation since funds generated from the cultural events go back into community projects, and the community is invited to attend dress rehearsals of events. In this way the White Lion educational programs are designed to bring assistance and hope into the greater community, particularly in poverty stricken area, where morale is low. The spirit of the White Lions instills pride, purpose and enthusiasm throughout the region, bringing amazing positive change.
White Lion Presentation Day
Since white lions are enlightenment bearers and icons for community upliftment, introducing them to children rekindles the connection with nature and heritage
In the past, the majority of this country was not allowed into the National Parks and did not get the opportunity to see the animals that were right on their doorstep. Participation in the White Lion Program reawakens these vital connections with our heritage, as well as social and environmental responsibility.
The learners are encouraged to create an expression of joy and celebration for the return of the white lions to their natural habitat. This generates huge excitement, in which everyone participates. The winning child in each grade is invited to visit the white lions in their natural habitat, and these spokes-people then return to recount their experience for the rest of their schools and community.
This way everyone participates in the mystique and excitement that surrounds the idea of having a sacred heritage to protect.