How can I make a difference?

The circulation of Environment Africa’s 2012 calendar created a great deal of positive response. One of the most common was ‘I really do care for my environment, what can I do to make a difference?’ This personal testimony from Zia Thomas of Harare is a good example of how you, as an individual, can make an impact:

Zia Thomas hands the proceeds of her hamper project to Barney Mawire, Country Director of EA.
Zia Thomas hands the proceeds of her hamper project to Barney Mawire, Country Director of EA.

“I went to a talk by Charlie Hewat (CEO of Environment Africa) in November at the Rotary Club of Hunyani. She spoke about how, having come across the carcass of a poached rhino in the 1980’s whilst out walking in the bush, she was spurred to do something to create world awareness about rhino poaching. Her bicycle ride from the UK across Europe and back was incredible. It was shocking to hear that our rhino population has dwindled to less then 500.

“I have always considered myself a keen conservationist. Recycling, opting to use organic products, loving the bush etc. When I lived in Kariba in my 20’s the rhino population in the Zambezi Valley was about 3000. 30 years later, all I’ve done is wring my hands on the sidelines because I couldn’t imagine how I could help.

“After listening to Charlie’s presentation, I bought two Environment Africa ‘Save our Rhino’ T shirts and offered my services to the organisation. I really wanted to get the T Shirts out at grassroots level to raise awareness. Christmas was just around the corner and I realized the time was perfect to take advantage of the ‘Christmas Box’ tradition.

Contents of the fund-raising hamper.
Contents of the fund-raising hamper.

“I drew up a market survey to establish what sort of goods are valued ‘kumusha’ in a hamper. I realized that I would have to produce a hamper with a difference so that I wasn’t competing with the big supermarket chains. I finally came up with my De Luxe “Christmas Box” Hamper to raise funds for Environment Africa. The hamper included a tough rank bag, 20 litre bucket and an array of necessities as well as an Environment Africa T Shirt in every hamper.

“I went around to various different outlets to compare prices, drew out my savings and turned them into all the goods needed to make up 150 hampers. My home was turned into a warehouse. My veranda was turned into a production line. I advertised the hampers widely and emailed every contact in my address book. It took 10 days to sell all the hampers! It was such a success and soon I got another order from a company to produce 73 scaled down versions with an Environment Africa T Shirt included.

“In all we sold 223 hampers and I was so proud to be able to hand $1200 to Environment Africa. Humble beginnings indeed but I am so pleased with the overall result and I know, that I have made a difference!’

– Please contact us if you would like to find out more about our work or if you feel you are able to contribute in any way. www.environmentafrica.org or email [email protected]

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