The Savanna Trust
The villages surrounding the Sabi Sand suffer from incredibly high rates of unemployment, limited access to quality healthcare support and opportunities to overcome poverty are scarce. Savanna has always been committed to supporting our neighbours to secure better futures and employs 90% of our staff from these communities. We have also set up The Savanna Trust as a non-profit organisation, allowing us to collaborate with various community partners and support locally-owned projects that focus on improving the lives of the area’s most vulnerable individuals.
The overall goal of the Savanna Trust is to help build more resilient communities, which empower vulnerable individuals, especially young and elderly people, to meet their basic needs and secure a better future for them.
Savanna is supporting Tiyimiseleni, a home-based care centre in the nearby village of Mabarhule, to provide daily care and support for 300 orphans and vulnerable children (aged 2-18 years) affected by HIV and AIDS. Every day, the 15 women who run the centre prepare a nutritious meal, provide homework help and HIV education and facilitate recreational activities for all of the children who come to Tiyimiseleni after school. The women who are trained as health caregivers also visit the homes of each of the children to be sure they are safe, healthy and have an adequate food supply. As needed, the women deliver food parcels to the homes, purchase school uniforms for the children to be able to go to school and take them to the local health clinic.
With the support of many of Savanna’s guests, we have been able to build a multi-functional hall at the centre, so the children can have their daily meal and the staff can cook in a clean environment. Savanna is currently supporting the operating costs for Tiyimiseleni, and we are committed to working with the local team to improve its sustainability by investing in their income-generating initiatives, including an on-site garden, as well as beadwork and sewing projects.
Sick and elderly residents in the surrounding communities are also often left neglected and extremely vulnerable. Nyiko Mokoena, a professionally-trained young nurse in the village of Huntington, is committed to improving the lives of these elderly people and, in his words, “restore hope to the hopeless.”
In 2015, the Savanna Trust partnered with Nyiko and his team to build the first permanent nursing home in the area, fully equipped with water and electricity. We have worked together to approach the Department for Social Development, in order to gain support from the government for the running costs of the project. The Hlayisekani Nursing Home is now able to provide 24/7 care to all elderly residents living at the centre, with caregiver staff and a professional nurse on site at all times.
Given the success of the project and thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have recently completed a building extension project so that all 70 residents who call the centre home have adequate space and amenities to live in dignity. The Savanna Trust is proud to continue supporting Nyiko and his team to develop Hlayisekani as a centre of excellence for elderly care in Huntington.
Savanna supports the Mabarhule Youth in Action Choir. Not only is this an employment opportunity for the youth choir members, but it also provides them with a constructive way to avoid the drug and alcohol abuse that is all too common amongst their peers. We have supported the choir in building a youth centre in Mabarhule to keep these youth off the streets and encourage various income-generating activities.
We offer our guests a cultural immersion experience during their stay at Savanna through a visit to the nearby village of Justicia. All village tours are led by a local guide, and all profits generated go back into the community.
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By supporting the Savanna Trust, you can make a truly meaningful difference in the lives of the people at our community projects. A little bit goes a long way and all funds raised through the Trust go directly to the projects in need. Donations can be made online or, if you are visiting Savanna, please speak to a member of the team about adding a donation onto your bill.