The Human-Wildlife Rehabilitation Programme
In September 2023, we will be launching our Wild Minds Programme - a programme that will take different focus groups on a journey of conservation, community engagement and connection. Connection to themselves and to the planet.
For the first Wild Minds programme, we will be working with young Londoners, whose lives have been negatively impacted as a result of knife crime. We will be working alongside community leader, Juan Lopez, founder of Calisseum; an organisation that uses calisthenics training to empower young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, and gives them the confidence they need to grow both mentally and physically. Juan then supports these young people to develop themselves; helping them to get into education, employment and enterprise. Juan will not only help us to plan this Wild Minds Programme, but he will also act as a mentor for the group, using his extensive military experience to help deliver vital training that will get them ready for not only their experience on the programme but in their further lives.
The programme will consist of a build-up phase here in the UK. This will give the group a chance to bond and start working together as a team. They will take part in strength and fitness training, bushcraft, environmental education and nature connection activities, as well as learning key skills like map reading.
We will then be taking the group to our partner host, Imire Conservancy in Zimbabwe, for a 2-week immersive community and conservation programme. Here they be joining in with Imire's vital work, including fence maintenance, dam ecology, monitoring of wildlife like cheetah and rhino, and helping to look after Imire's resident orphaned elephants, Mac and Mandebvu. They will also be supporting the rural community on the borders of Imire, getting involved with the education of children in the community, as well as supporting vital work like the delivery of sanitary pads to school girls. The group will also be taking part in activities designed to build their confidence and self-esteem, like abseiling and running 11km alongside the Anti-Poaching Unit at Imire.
On return to the UK, we will then be working with the group to ensure their on-going support, offering opportunities within Connected Planet and signposting to different environmental-education/employment opportunities.
The programme is designed to empower and build the confidence of those involved, whilst using nature as a way of improving the mental health of the group. We believe Wild Minds will be a fantastic platform for the young people involved to change their lives and pick a more positive route in life - one that no longer involves the destruction of life but the conservation of life.
Nature has the capability to heal us all, and we too can help heal the natural world. That is what Wild Minds is all about. A relationship between people and nature, where everyone is a winner.
In order to make this programme happen we need to raise £20,000. This will allow 6 people to go through the Wild Minds programme in what we are sure will be a life changing experience. These funds will not only support the young people involved but will also support conservation and community efforts at Imire Conservancy.