A brand with a heart
While Land Rover has been synonymous with extraordinary mobility, technological innovation, a pioneering spirit, and a sense of adventure, the brand is also closely involved with conservation, social responsibility and environmental programmes around the globe.
From an international perspective, conservation programmes supported under Land Rover’s Fragile Earth initiative include sponsorship of five international conservation organisations: the Born Free Foundation, the Earthwatch Institute, the Royal Geographical Society with IBG, Biosphere Expeditions, and the China Exploration & Research Society.
Between them, these organisations run individual programmes as diverse as the Tongariro World Heritage Site project in New Zealand, the Amur Tiger project in Russia, the Black-Necked Crane project in China, an elephant ambulance service in Sri Lanka, protecting rare wolves in Ethiopia, and Arabian Leopard research in Oman.
EWT WILD DOG PROJECT
In South Africa, Land Rover is working with the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) to protect wild dogs, one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores.
It is actively involved in the movement of animals away from farmland, where they pose a threat to livestock, to more suitable areas where wild prey is freely available. Land Rover also supports the EWT’s ongoing scientific research programme, which includes the generic mapping and population management of various wild dog populations.
The African wild dog shares many of Land Rover’s key characteristics: it travels vast distances over all sorts of terrain, has a gutsy, adventurous spirit, and a love of freedom and the great outdoors.
The Land Rover-supported wild dog project commenced with the objective of establishing a satellite population of wild dogs on the De Beers Venetia Limpopo Nature Reserve in the Northern Province.
The project sought to increase the number of free-ranging wild dogs in South Africa, while providing the basis of a detailed monitoring programme to better understand the dynamics of the released pack. In addition, socio-economic issues relating to the costs and benefits of wild dogs were investigated.
The Venetia wild dog pack started out as 10 wild dogs that were moved to a boma on the reserve in mid-2000. By 2004, the population had increased to 20 individuals.
Perhaps the most important component of the project was the development of wild dog-based ecotourism – through research trips and den-site visits – in an attempt to ascertain potential economic benefits of wild dogs in the area, and reduce the conflict between wild dogs and land owners in the area.
The Venetia project has become the core of several wild dog initiatives, including relocations of wild dogs to KwaZulu-Natal and the Tuli Block in Botswana. In doing so, the project has already achieved several core objectives, including increasing the number of free-ranging wild dogs in Southern Africa, raising awareness of wild dogs, and gaining support from land owners.
TAPOLOGO AIDS HOSPICE
The Tapologo Aids Hospice is an oasis to those who are HIV positive and in need of care. It has become a beacon of hope, where patients are surrounded by dedicated, compassionate and caring professionals.
Ill patients can be brought to Tapologo to die in peace and dignity, while others can be healed of infections thus enabling them to begin a new life through anti-retroviral therapy. The Hospice is situated between Rustenburg and Sun City. Tapologo is a Setswana word that means “place of rest and peace” – a fitting and poignant description of this remarkable facility.
Land Rover manufactures vehicles that go beyond for people who go beyond. With this in mind, it is fitting that Land Rover South Africa has donated a Defender 110 County Station Wagon (CSW) to the Tapologo Aids Hospice.
The Land Rover Defender plays a vital role in assisting care workers to reach patients in remote rural areas sometimes with minimal access and bad roads. The Defender is also used to transport patients between their homes and the hospice.
Tapologo’s basic philosophy is one of holistic intervention, caring for each family as a unit and ensuring they receive primary health care via the home care clinics; providing care for children by the OVC child care programme; offering all the necessary psycho-social support and counselling; and giving patients the opportunity to receive anti-retroviral therapy. Should they become terminally ill or require a recuperative period they have access to the in-patient Hospice.
Presently, there are 17 home care clinics in the outlying areas of Bafokeng, Phokeng and Freedom Park linked to Tapologo’s Outreach programme. The clinics allow for early diagnosis of HIV and provide a nearby clinic for patients to visit thereby lessening the arduous journey to a provincial hospital.
Tapologo Hospice assists the outreach programmes in allowing AIDS sufferers a period in which to recuperate. Antiretroviral drugs cannot be administered to patients suffering from tuberculosis or other life-threatening diseases. At Tapologo Hospice they are given a reprieve in which to convalesce.
Patients in extreme need of care are brought to the clinic via the sisters and nurses who work in the home care clinics.
Kingsley Holgate is universally acknowledged as one of Africa’s greatest modern adventurers. But Holgate’s missions are more than journeys of discovery: they also aim to relieve the plight of the underprivileged and the needy in Africa.
The Zulus call Kingsley Nondwayisa uya Shing” – the African Lilly Trotter – a water bird that stalks the rivers of Africa on long legs. It’s an apt description for one of Africa’s greatest present day explorers.
Kingsley has immersed himself in African cultures, especially that of the Zulu, and has spent much of his life exploring the African Continent in the footsteps of the early explorers. His adventures usually include his wife Gill, and son Ross.
His first adventure was an epic 1993 journey from Cape to Cairo, in inflatable boats and Land Rover back-up vehicles, along Africa’s major waterways – registered with the Royal Geographical Society as a world first.
Following in the steps of Livingstone and Stanley along the Zambezi and Congo Rivers and a circumnavigation of Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake, followed. The Holgate family has survived countless attacks of Malaria, the threat of bandits, wild animals and the danger of unexploded landmines.
Called ‘Extreme Latitude’ and travelling on foot, by bicycle, bullock cart, dugout and Land Rover Kingsley Holgate and his adventurous family have also circumnavigated the world by land following the Tropic of Capricorn.
Then came the African Rainbow Expedition, a journey by Land Rover convoy, Arab sailing dhow and inflatable boats up the East Coast of Africa from Durban to the Somali border and back.
During this expedition, tens of thousands of mosquito nets were distributed to pregnant mothers and children under the age of five under the ‘One Net, One Life’ banner, making it one of the most successful projects ever undertaken in support of malaria prevention.
The most recent Kingsley Holgate endeavour was the Outside Edge Expedition, which was completed in August this year.
In keeping with NEPAD and the New African Renaissance, the objective of the expedition was to succeed in a world-first circumnavigation of the continent by Land Rovers from Cape Town back to Cape Town.
The expedition would carry a Scroll of Peace and Goodwill to 33 countries, while continuing with the fight against malaria through the One Net, One Life campaign. In doing so, the expedition expressed the clear message of hope and caring for the African continent.
The expedition departed from Cape Point on Friday 27 April 2007, having filled a symbolic calabash with Cape of Hope seawater for the epic journey around the edge of the African continent. After almost 500 days on the road, they returned to that same stretch of ocean, and returned the sea water to its origins.
Distributing malaria nets and reading glasses, as well as supporting various other welfare projects and charities – and, most of all, spreading a message of hope and goodwill – Kingsley Holgate and his team completed a journey most deemed impossible.
And helping them along every step of the way was their convoy of trusty Land Rover Defenders – a key element of the journey and its success.
RALLY TO READ
Rally To Read, has grown from a small outreach programme targeting a dozen rural schools, to a scientifically comprehensive literacy campaign of national importance. Land Rover has been involved with Rally To Read since 1998 in an effort to help improve primary school education throughout South Africa.
Because of deficient facilities, below-par infrastructure and general logistical shortcomings, it’s often the rural communities which suffer most from the lack of service delivery.
The Rally To Read Project took this into account when it commenced in 1997, and the baby steps it took then have now grown into gigantic strides. Their focus on primary schools targets the foundation of every child’s education, underpinning the structure on which future learning will be built.
In simplistic terms: ‘if you cannot read, you cannot learn’.
Their Balanced Reading Programme shies away from the quick-fix approach, and each school is therefore supported for at least three years to ensure that a culture of reading is embedded within all participants.
Follow-up visits during the year, track the development of both the students and teachers involved in the programme, thus empowering those children most in need of the tools with which to shape their future.
Since its inception, Rally To Read participants have explored more than 35 remote and remarkable areas in South Africa, ranging from Golden Gate in the Free State, the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, and Maputaland in Kwazulu-Natal, to the Swazi border region in Mpumalanga.
These are but a few of the outback areas where schools have received books and a whole host of other teaching aids from their generous sponsors.
Rally To Read has become much more than just another educational upliftment programme. During the past 11 years, the project has morphed into a fascinating journey, filling a multitude of children with hope.
The commitment of sponsors is integral to the success of such a project and the future of the children fortunate to be touched by Rally To Read are better by far.
COMMUNITY MEDICAL SERVICES
Land Rover SA recently entered into a partnership with Community Medical Services and The “THINK Kidz Foundation”, and has supplied a Land Rover Discovery 3 to these two exciting projects.
Spokesman for the two operations, Philip Hull, extended his heartfelt gratitude to Land Rover SA for their involvement in these vital projects.
Community Medical Services (CMS), which is also a founding member of the Road Safety Foundation, recently celebrated 25 years of free medical assistance to motorists on the N3 at Van Reenen’s Pass over peak traffic periods. During this time, CMS has received numerous awards and accolades, including road safety awards, mayoral and provincial awards.
Says Hull: “Being based at Van Reenen’s, where one can expect atrocious weather conditions throughout the year, an all-terrain, go-anywhere type of vehicle has enormous value, as getting to vehicles involved in accidents is often a huge challenge.
“In addition to this medical response, we have been in a position to interact with the local community over the years, the majority of which are unemployed.
“Seeing the difficulties of pure survival, the lack of food and clothing, medical challenges such as HIV and Aids, children without parents and many other factors, has brought a realisation to the team that we need to be involved and to make a difference in their lives,” Hull added.
With great partners like Land Rover, CMS is now able to make a substantial and sustainable effort in making that difference.