Recently staff members from the Imbali Safari Lodges in Kruger spent some time within one of the neighbouring communities of Acornhoek.

The key objective was to initiate a donation drive that would benefit the most vulnerable community members. There are many child-headed and vulnerable families in the area and the lodges were able to provide linen, towels and other homeware which had been donated by the lodge.

The donations were much appreciated by the community members. The event was arranged by Happiness Lubisi of the Mirantha Youth Development, who supports 120 kids, many of whom are orphans or are from vulnerable families in the Acornhoek area. Her initiatives include supplying the kids with food parcels, clothing, or to assist in ensuring they receive child support grants, which are as she explains, always a challenge.

The Mirantha Youth Development Project is a registered non-profit organisation that cares for, and educates, neglected orphans and vulnerable youth—the “forgotten children”— in the town of Acornhoek, Mpumalanga. The Project is run by Happiness, a champion social worker, who currently supports more than 80 orphans and vulnerable youth in her community, offering them with food, clothes, and emotional relief.

Left without the guidance, financial support, and protection of their parents, the “forgotten children” are disproportionally vulnerable to poverty, abuse, crime, and extortion. Most of the children have dropped out from school due a variety of socio-economic reasons, which further increases their vulnerability due to poor literacy, the inability to find jobs due to lack of skills, and the inability to integrate well in their community.

Several members of our Mluwati Concession team and their families hail from the town of Acornhoek, which lies just outside of the Kruger National Park. The survival of the surrounding communities of the park is directly reliant on the business and investment that comes from the presence of ecotourism activities in the area. To secure the stability and prosperity of these communities, the empowerment and protection of their youth is a fundamental requisite.

  • A child-headed family (an orphan essentially) means that the child does not have parents, and is looking after his/her siblings, or children.
  • A vulnerable family means that they are all unemployed, and maybe solely relying on a child grant, if they are able to get it.

This was an eye-opening experience, the struggles that these families must face, are heart-breaking. This is truly a wonderful opportunity for the Imbali team to continue in their endeavour to support the communities around the Kruger.

Imbali Safari Lodge is a member of Extraordinary – A collection of lodges and hotels in Southern Africa

For press queries, please contact Cindy Sheedy Walker on 082 779 4479 or cindy@extraordinary.co.za