The Grow Africa Foundation is Hideaways’ responsible tourism partner and its tool for the sustainable upliftment of the local communities of the areas we operate in. The foundation strives to be an inspirational foundation instilling a sense of purpose and pride for Hideaways, as well as our employees, clients, and partners. One of the ways we do this is by overseeing various in-house environmental and socially inclusive projects within our company. We also host regular Grow Africa training sessions to ensure that our team remains inspired, understands the ethos and “lives the brand”. We recently had one such session at our Hideaways lodge Elephant’s Eye, Hwange in Zimbabwe. The event was an informative round table discussion about the foundation’s goals as well as an opportunity for the staff to share their own goals for the Grow Africa Foundation.
“As much as we are training our staff and sharing our goals, they themselves inform and educate us about what is necessary and what is possible.”
Our Foundation never intended to be one that only preaches, but instead one that listens and collaborates. It’s why our slogan is The Bridge Between Challenges & Solutions, Goodwill & Action. This training was an opportunity where the team could openly discuss what they think needs attention. As much as we are training our staff and sharing our goals, they themselves inform and educate us about what is necessary and what is possible. The team at Elephant’s Eye, Hwange identify what is most needed in the community and how we can become involved. This specifically speaks to two of our mission statements of Grow Awareness: Highlight the challenges and difficulties associated with poverty and conservation & Grow the Community: Empower local communities and individuals through collaborative support of their sustainable upliftment initiatives.
As many of our staff members at the lodge are part of the Dete community or come from similar communities in Zimbabwe they can relate to the social problems the community is facing so they can effectively explain how the initiatives affect them.
“With Grow Africa … the kids now have a future and their plans for a better life seem really bright.”
One such member is Daphne, our spa therapist and souvenir shop assistant. Having grown up as an orphan and overcoming difficult circumstances to make a life for herself, she really relates to the children at Dingani Primary School (the local school that we support), many of who are also orphans or whose parents have had to go elsewhere for work leaving them in the care of grandparents or guardians. When she is working at the shop she uses her personal experiences to encourage guests to support Project Penya as this is the project she is most passionate about, she has seen how it has positively affected the girls of Dingani Primary.
Daphne says that “With Grow Africa, Dingani is doing a very good job in helping out the less privileged, the kids now have a future and their plans of a better life seem really bright. I am mostly overjoyed about the girl child programme (Project Penya) the donation of pads has come a long way – now the girls can go to school without having to worry about their skirts and dresses being stained. My hope and prayer is that Grow Africa keeps on leading these kids, as a lot of them come from a difficult background. And with the encouragement that they are receiving, they for sure will be the next doctors and lawyers. My main concern is with the girl child, regarding abuse. I feel that counselling sessions should be held to talk to them about what abuse is and how they can get help or who they should talk to. They may be young but unfortunately, when it comes to sexual abuse, it is the young girls who are often at risk.”
Feedback and advice like this is incredibly valuable to our foundation. The Grow Africa Foundation is built on three pillars of Trust, Support, and Collaboration. We build trust and confidence with the community and then identify their areas of concern. We support and empower locals to enable them to address their concerns. We collaborate with communities and other support groups to identify sustainable solutions. We are planting seeds with our staff and our community to cultivate and grow a community that has strong roots and amazing success stories. As one of the key ways that we do this is through collaboration, we would like to invite you to collaborate with us in whatever way you are able to. Become involved and be part of a real change for future generations, please visit our website to find out how.