Letter from the Patron of the SAWC’s Sustainability Fund

9 June 2023

 Dear Friends of the College,

I hope that this email finds you in good health, especially for on those of you experiencing the chilly wintery days in South Africa.

Much has happened since the Southern African Wildlife College’s first sustainability event, which also celebrated the twenty-five years of the College’s existence. It was a glorious occasion.

Letters of gratitude were sent to those of you who celebrated with us and attended the most enlightening and enjoyable evening at Hawthornden. We all look forward to the next gathering later in the year to learn more about the successes and progress of the College.

As you will remember, we set out to achieve the goal of R100-million which has been reached, thanks to you and generous benefactors and corporate business entities. Every donation is much appreciated and we are grateful that through these donations together we have reached this target. Importantly this was achieved as a result of combining the two investments making up the Sustainability Fund, namely the Endowment Fund now managed by Personal Trust and the Southern African Wildlife College Trust, managed by WWF SA.

Our sincerest thanks is again extended to the MAVA Foundation for the initial investment received via Peace Parks Foundation as well as to the Hans Wilsdorf Foundation for the substantial donation made in support of the College’s endowment fund last year. Building on this humbling legacy of philanthropy and support, we remain committed to building the College’s resilience via the Sustainability Fund.  

Moreover, the College relies on the growth of these funds to counteract the ever-growing core costs of the College. This includes the maintenance of the College property, the development of greener energy as is planned, the upgrading and modernising of teaching platforms along with inflationary costs of hospitality and good welfare of the staff and students. This has to be achieved in the lack lustre times of world markets and investments.

May I take this opportunity to thank you for your continued interest in the work of the College producing excellence in our men and women tasked with the responsibility of conserving Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces. This is vital to ensuring that tourism, an integral part of the wildlife economy and in turn Africa’s prosperity, flourishes.

There will be news forthcoming on how you can further participate and be vested in the plans to ensure that our students are fully prepared for the ever-demanding management of our protected natural areas and precious wildlife, not forgetting the nurturing of communities within and around these areas.  Today it requires greater skills in countering poaching and the trafficking of the wildlife, whilst finding responsible holistic solutions to these and other conservation challenges.

I believe that we should all  have a vested interest in putting the environment and nature at the centre of our thinking,  thereby making a difference on this planet. In doing so, to also know that our children and those of generations to come will benefit from the work we are doing to ensure that our inherited wild spaces in Africa are well managed and sustained. What we do now is vital if we are to curb further biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.

Thank you for being a valuable part of these efforts in your ongoing support of the Southern African Wildlife College.

With warm regards,

Sylvia Labia

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