September 2020 – Wilderness Safaris Namibia distributed 400 food hampers to vulnerable families in the country’s north-western Kunene Region in the first week of September, as the company’s Conservation Heroes COVID-19 relief drive continues to provide vital support to communities throughout southern Africa.
Working closely with local authorities, the hampers were delivered to 400 families in five conservancies, including Doro Nawas, Torra, Anabeb, Sesfontein and Marienfluss. Wilderness Safaris works closely with these conservancies in the north-west, where most of their Namibian lodges are located. A devastating drought has already destroyed many livelihoods here and, for many families, tourism had become their only source of revenue before COVID-19 struck.
“Communities like the Himba have been hit particularly hard. We had three millimetres of rain last year around Serra Cafema after a very dry spell, and the Himba have lost all of their cattle”, explains Alex Chaplin, Wilderness Safaris Namibia Operations Manager. “Their only other form of any possible income was selling crafts through tourism, and this is obviously now cut off”.
“In March 2020, when Namibia’s borders closed to international tourists, the country’s tourism industry came to a standstill. Communities living in Namibia’s most remote areas, who depend on tourism for their livelihoods, have been severely affected,” notes Agnes Tjirare, Wilderness Safaris Namibia Culture and Community Coordinator for Children in the Wilderness.
“We travelled to these remote areas over a span of six days, covering 2 100 km to distribute the much-needed food parcels, with the assistance of Wecke & Voigts Wholesalers”, continues Agnes.
Generously donated by the Wilderness Safaris Chairman’s Foundation the 400 hampers, valued at USD 15 000, can sustain a family of four for a month, and contain essential groceries, including maize meal, salt, sugar, rice, cooking oil, soup and soap.
“The communities were thrilled about the unstinting offer, and thanked Wilderness for the timely gesture. I was so humbled to see members of the communityimmediately start making a fire to prepare porridge once they got home”, adds Agnes.
“My heart is filled with joy today by Wilderness for helping us to feed our children. Thank you very much”, remarks Kapiarukoro Tjambiru, Foreman at Otinungua.
“We are extremely grateful that our Chairman’s Foundation has committed to supporting the handover of another 400 food hampers for these communities for an additional two months. We care deeply for the wellbeing of these communities, as we have worked very closely together over the years. Now, as we head towards the hottest and driest months of the year, their need for food-relief will intensify, and we are fully committed to doing everything possible to support our neighbours during this time”, concludes Alex.
To watch a short video showcasing Wilderness Safaris Namibia’s COVID-Relief efforts, click here.