Pupils at Bergvliet High School are running a raffle to raise R50 000 towards supporting the first female anti-poaching unit in Africa.
The idea for the raffle came after pupils at the school were addressed by Sally Wellbeloved, a fine art photographer and environmental enthusiast from Scarborough, in April this year.
Ms Wellbeloved stopped celebrating her birthday after she turned 40, but changed her mind this year. She is turning 43 on Tuesday November 12 and for her birthday she wants to donate her Pajero vehicle to the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit, a mostly female ranger unit founded in 2013 with the purpose of protecting wildlife in South Africa.
Ms Wellbeloved’s Project Rhino 2 000 started in December last year.
“After a relationship ended, I was left with a big vehicle that I could not afford. I had helped my partner buy and finance it in my name so it became my burden,” said Ms Wellbeloved. “I was struggling to sell it,” she said, “so I had to come up with a plan. I realised that sometimes you cannot do it alone, but that if you come together with other like-minded people, you can turn a burden into an amazing opportunity,” she said.
“My birthday wish is to get the Pajero 4×4 fully paid off and do a one-way trip to the Black Mambas to hand it over to them. I will then stay with them for a while to do some volunteer work,” Ms Wellbeloved
She would like to cover the vehicle in stickers from the people and small businesses supporting this initiative, which she is calling “The Power of 2 000”. The idea is that if 2 000 people each contribute R100 they can together settle the outstanding finance, put on a new set of tyres and donate the vehicle to the Black Mambas, who can use it for good.
Founded by Transfrontier Africa NPC, the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit protects all boundaries of Balule Nature Reserve, part of the Greater Kruger National Park. While their main objective is the security of the reserve and the protection of wildlife, the passionate women also strive to create a strong bond with the local community and undertake educational initiatives to instil a proud, caring pro-environmental ethos.
When Stephen Prince, principal of Bergvliet High School, heard about Ms Wellbeloved’s story, he loved it and then decided to have her come and address the pupils to inspire them too.
At the talk, Ms Wellbeloved spoke about life’s challenges and using creativity and resilience to solve them, and in so doing, making a difference in the world. “The symbolism of the rhino represents breaking through insurmountable obstacles, conquering barriers and achieving our goal. Our biggest mistakes can be our greatest gifts,” said Ms Wellbeloved.
The school is still raising funds through the raffle and anyone
is welcome to donate. You can
also contribute to the “Power of 2000” via BackaBuddy at www.
power-of-2000 or email Ms Wellbeloved at firstname.lastname@example.org.