Thank you for choosing Lalibela – we are excited to welcome you and for you to experience what makes Lalibela special.
Our conservation levy, which is included in the rate that you have paid, is paid over to the Lalibela Foundation which contributes to various conservation initiatives on Lalibela as well as community outreach programmes that we run. In addition, our owners have pledged that all surpluses generated on Lalibela are allocated to the conservation of the land, animals and wider community.
We believe that an important element of conservation is ensuring that surrounding rural communities benefit from tourism as this ensures their buy-in and this translates into a strong conservation ethic in the wider community around Lalibela.
As needs and priorities in the community change, so do our efforts and focus. Below are some of the community outreach programmes that we are actively engaged in.
We have upgraded the local clinic and play an active, daily role in ensuring that it runs smoothly.
We support and sponsor two soccer teams and two netball teams with equipment and uniforms and we also sponsor tournaments throughout the year.
Children’s Feeding scheme & Holiday Club
Every day, we provide nutritious breakfast to all the children in the Seven Fountains community (approximately 80 children). During school holidays, we provide both breakfast & wholesome lunches to the children and we also keep them entertained by providing various fun and educational activities.
We operate a clothing library where clothes donated by past guests can be loaned by the community for special functions like weddings, funerals etc. We also run a sewing project and other initiatives for adults that assist with “up-skilling”.
Functions and Celebrations
We support and are a part of various functions and celebrations within the community throughout the year, such as Mandela Day and Women’s Day.
Old Age Pensioners get treated at Easter and Christmas to formal lunches held at the recreation centre. Each receive a gift to take home and entertainment in the form of singing and dancing is organised for these pillars of society within the village.
PACK WITH A PURPOSE
We believe that every little bit helps – as a guest, you will become a part of the Lalibela family and we welcome you to get involved in our local community.
If you have any space in your suitcase and any of these items perhaps lying unused, we would greatly appreciate contributions (no matter how big or small) of the following:
Items always in need:
- Toiletries for children (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap)
- Sanitary towels for adolescent girls
- School stationery (calculators, pens, pencils, erasers etc.)
- Used/2nd hand School shoes, running shoes and sport shoes
- Used/2nd hand School clothes (grey trousers, white shirts, pullovers etc)
Current needs (as of January 2020):
- Prizes for Holiday Club (chocolates, balls, stationery, dolls, paint sets, books etc.)
- Black school shoes (for children ages 6 to 13).
- Children’s story books (for school library)
- 2nd hand formal adult clothing (for our clothing library)
- 2nd hand Children’s toys (any toys that are NOT battery operated)
- Kid’s sized “Flip flops” (we call them “Slip Slops” in South Africa)
On arrival at Lalibela, simply tell your lodge manager that you have donations for our community programme and he or she will make sure that they are given to Charmaine Gradwell, Lalibela’s Head of Community Development.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Charmain Gradwell at [email protected]
UPDATE from Charmain Gradwell (28 April 2020): “Thank you, thank you and thank you again to all the guests who arrived with donations during March. We are humbled by your generosity”
A message from Charmain on the 15th February after we surprised our guests with cookies made by the Seven Fountains children:
“There is great power in small acts of kindness. And in how you make people feel.
My role in the school, the clinic and the broader Seven Fountains community allows me to give people undivided attention and that gives me so much in return”
Charmain Gradwell, head of Lalibela Community Development
Our primary focus at Lalibela is conservation – be it of our indigenous flora and fauna, or our efforts to reduce waste on reserve.
We have a number of ongoing projects all working towards this joint vision of a comprehensive conservation mission. We are lucky to have a huge team of diverse and special people who all believe in the value and necessity of long-term sustainability.
Throughout the reserve, from our lodges to staff housing, workshops and admin buildings, we have recycle bins. We have a recycling plant on site where all glass, cans, plastics and cardboard are recycled.
Our goal is to have zero use of plastic on Lalibela. This is a huge task and it involves getting buy-in from staff, guests and our suppliers. We have already made huge strides and will continue to drive this process!
An ongoing conservation project on Lalibela is the removal of alien wattle trees (as of October 2019, we estimate that we have completed about 75% of the task). You might notice some patches of dry or burnt land – this is where we have removed alien trees, burnt the wood and worked the ash (full of nutrients) back into the soil. After some time, indigenous plants appear and the land is transformed. Ask your ranger to show you areas where the land has fully recovered and you can then compare it with areas still in the recovery stage.
COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT & CONSERVATION AT LALIBELA