There is no denying that COVID has affected us all, on many different levels, across the globe. So, when a ray of sunshine breaks through, even if it is just for one deserving individual, we are filled with joy and gratitude and we want to share this story….
Reloef Khoza, a young man who grew up in a rural village outside of Hoedspruit, has spent the last few years studying extremely hard in order to get his degree in Aeronautical Engineering at The University of Witwatersrand (WITS).
You can imagine it is not every day that young children growing up in rural communities have dreams of becoming aeronautical engineers. This incredible ambition and his determination to achieve is what has set this bright individual apart from his colleagues from a young age.
So, that is how this story started. It was a rocky road to navigate in the beginning, but through a mutual connection Reloef met Don Scott and the two of them clicked instantly and the chance for this young man to reach his full potential became a priority for Don. In 2016 Don helped set up a full bursary for Reloef – funded equally by Tanda Tula and Aerosud (Don’s former company in Johannesburg) – and this allowed him to continue his studies at WITS. You can read our previous blog on Reloef’s story here.
Last year during the destructive effects of the pandemic Reloef still managed to complete his 3rd year, what an amazing achievement! However, the continued global financial impacts have, sadly, forced unavoidable constraints and restrictions. The sponsorship from Aerosud was devastatingly lost, and even Tanda Tula has been faced with some challenging decisions on how to continue funding our Education Foundation.
It was at the beginning of this year that that we were approached by Wild Philanthropy, a sister charity of the tour operator Journeys By Design. Wild Philanthropy is mandated specifically to support vulnerable communities in Africa. Its vision is for people and wildlife to prosper by benefiting from economic opportunities that sustainable tourism provides.
Tanda Tula has always been involved in actions that provide benefits of the safari industry towards the communities in which we operate. We have successfully run our own Foundation for many years, focusing on education and the support of small business development. Interestingly, recent conversations with travel journalists have indicated a distinct interest from the travelling public in, not only what the safari products are doing on the ground to benefit their local communities, but also what the tour operators are contributing to the regions where they are sending their guests.
With these conversations fresh in our minds, we were absolutely thrilled when Journeys By Design, on their own initiative, approached us and offered to sponsor Reloef’s final year of studies through a charitable donation, via Wild Philanthropy, to Tanda Tula’s Foundation. Journeys By Design and Wild Philanthropy have shown great commitment to supporting the communities in areas where they are sending their guests, and we would encourage other tour operators to do the same.
This incredibly generous sponsorship has changed one young man’s life. It has given him the opportunity to continue with his dream and graduate at the end of this year with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. We are all eternally grateful for the difference Journeys By Design and Wild Philanthropy have made – you have led by example and remained true to your ethos. On behalf of Reloef and Tanda Tula we would like to express our most heartfelt gratitude.