Hard work pays for youth

DWAALBOOM – A young man from Dwaalboom Thabo Kgomotso Abel Mkhandawire is a finalist in the Youth Award section in the Enviropaedia 2012 awards to be announced on 27 September at Maropeng.

In 2010 he joined the Eco-Schools programme in Madikwe under the mentorship of environmental educator Riechelle Prinsloo. Before then he was a Groundbreaker working with LoveLife.

Riechelle realised his potential and helped him get a bursary for a Conservation and Environmental Education bridging course at the Southern African Wildlife College. The opportunity to go to college and have the security of a private nature reserve has allowed him to work with learners at three schools teaching the children about nature. Because of the value that this young man affords classes, teachers allow him two contacts per week with their learners. This totals over 100 learners per week who are getting environmental education on a continuous basis from someone out of their own community.

He has been responsible for helping three schools participate in the Eco-Schools Programme for three years and currently they are going for Green Flags. Thabo has a programme related to calendar events which he follows, namely celebrating Water week, World Environment Day and Arbor Day. He also gives schools ongoing support for their vegetable gardens.

Thabo’s tasks can be as diverse as helping fundraise for tools, seedlings and irrigation pipes as well as getting his own hands dirty from working in the garden. He recently ran a ”For the love of water poster and poetry competition” with learners and the winners enjoyed a game drive in Madikwe East Nature Reserve in the July holidays.

In Thabo’s own words: “I never knew anything about the bush and nature. At the College I lived with nature and the animals. We were taught how to behave in the bush and how to treat nature with respect. I love the bush and want to work in nature. My favourite part of the course was the environmental education and field ranger sections. I want to teach the community how to care for nature as I love it now. It is important to care for nature.”

Thabo Kgomotso Abel Mkhandawire from Dwaalboom, is a finalist in the Youth Award section in the Enviropaedia 2012 awards.