We have been very busy with our community and conservation initiatives through our charitable arm Land & Life Foundation and Shanga, as well as within the properties themselves.
With deforestation being a large issue in Kenya, Land & Life partnered with Seedballs Kenya to bring trees back to the key conservation areas in which we operate. A seedball is an indigenous tree seed encased in a nutritious biochar casing - this casing protects the seed from grazing wildlife and temperature extremes until conditions are perfect for germination. At a number of our Kenya properties, guests are able to buy packets of seedballs which they can use under guidance from our professional guides to help reforest the area when they go out on their game drive or walking safari. The concept has also been introduced in the Wildlife Warrior Program, where bags were distributed to all Wildlife Warrior Club members in Mwaroni (Diani), Kachiuru (Isiolo) and Ura Gate (Meru) Primary Schools for their education sessions, which focused on the theme of forests and reforestation. Over the course of this year the Wildlife Warriors have distributed 152,950 tree seeds across Kenya!
Where do we begin on the Wildlife Warrior and school support program? There has been so much going on this year. Apart from the regular conservation literacy training for young primary students, Land & Life have run art and essay competitions, taken students on game drives and swimming trips, arranged glass-bottom boat trips across the coral reef for the young Warriors from Amboseli, held the most successful Annual Retreat yet in Nairobi for 36 students, and our first four Wildlife Warriors have graduated from secondary school and are applying for internships with Elewana. There have been new classrooms built and whole schools refurbished, dormitories constructed and recycled playgrounds installed, solar systems revamped and resources like photocopiers and text books provided.
The Esiteti Primary School shamba project in Amboseli was completed, and it is hoped this will have a lasting impact on the community. Benefits include teaching the students to grow their own produce as well as supplying the school with much needed food. This project aims to bring sustainable solutions to a number of problems, upskilling students and providing an additional life skill while also increasing food security.
The Annual Medical Camp at Aitong in the Mara saw approximately 900 local Maasai community members treated for free, and the annual Plaster House fundraiser held by Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge raised over $20,000 for them to purchase a vehicle to drive children to and from hospital for appointments. Arusha Coffee Lodge was also delighted to welcome Jane Goodall and host a fundraiser for her Roots n Shoot Program, and we look forward to another such event in early 2019
Shanga at Traders Walk, part of Elewana Arusha Coffee Lodge, has seen many achievements from producing new designs, products, introducing new colour pallets and full collections. Under the guidance of Amber, Shanga saw the release of its first full collection in 4 years, The African Rains Collection. The excitement & response from everyone upon its release has been overwhelming and gratifying. The planning is already underway for another full collection to be released in early 2019. Also, the donations received through the Shanga Foundation this year have made a lasting impact, especially for some; Mary was able to purchase formula for her baby twins and ensure the little ones got their regular health checks, Daudi was able to pay for his medical support and Simon received two prosthetic legs. The festive season is all about giving, the Shanga family have given their creativity to brighten someone’s day but they have received this back tenfold and are so grateful for your support.
Our turtle hatchery at Elewana AfroChic Diani saw over 500 turtles hatch this year, with two nests in the first season and three in the second, each bringing excitement and joy to our guests as they witnessed the tiny creatures make their way to the ocean.