Lalibela is one big conservation project – we call it “conservation for conservation’s sake”
Whilst Lalibela is run on business principles, 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.
For every night you spend at Lalibela, you make a difference through the Conservation and Community Levy that you pay. 100% of funds collected are spent on our conservation initiatives, anti-poaching and community upliftment projects.
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.
Fun and exercise are essential to one’s wellbeing and health. We support and sponsor two soccer teams, a netball team, a gumboot dance troupe and a boxing initiative. We assist with transport to matches, equipment, sport uniforms and facilities.
Lalibela funds a Recreation Centre in the Seven Fountains Community where the children come in for assistance with their homework and school projects as well as for extra reading classes.
Children’s feeding scheme
The children hail from impoverished homes, so we look after them by providing nutritious meals. We supply the local school with breakfast porridge ingredients for 130 children. There has been a marked improvement in school attendance and academic performance. During school holidays, we provide both breakfasts & wholesome lunches to the children.
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.
We encourage and educate the community about environmental issues. We have an ongoing EcoBricks project where plastic bottles are filled tightly with plastic litter and these EcoBricks are then used to build tables, benches and walls with cement.
Soup Jars, or better known as “Hope Jars” are jars filled with rice, beans, lentils and other plant proteins. 30 – 40 Hope Jars are handed out weekly to households in the Seven Fountains Community. This helps to ensure everyone remains fed with hearty, nutritious meals.
The Ikhala Veterinary Clinic visits the Seven Fountains Community regularly. They treat the various medical ailments of the dogs which include sterilization, wound treatment, deworming and provide medication for ticks and fleas. Lalibela provides dog food for the dogs two times a week. Kennels are gifted to individuals who are looking after their pets. These kennels are made from old pallets and decking planks which were replaced when one of our lodges were refurbished.
Stationery Packs & Holiday Club
We supply basic stationery packs each term to all learners and during the school holidays, we host a holiday club at the Recreation Centre where the fun and learning continues.
PACK WITH A PURPOSE
We encourage our guests to become part of “Pack with a Purpose” – where they bring surplus or unwanted items with them to Lalibela and these are then donated to one of our many community projects.
Currently, we are encouraging our guests, should they have space and any of these items perhaps lying unused, to bring some of the following (no matter how big or small):
Items always in need:
- Toiletries for children (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap etc)
- Sanitary towels for adolescent girls
- School stationery (pens, pencils, erasers, calculators etc)
- Used/2nd hand school shoes, running shoes and sport shoes
- Used/2nd hand school clothes (grey trousers, white shirts, pullovers)
Current needs (as of March 2023):
- Black school shoes (for children ages 6 to 13)
- 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)
- Children’s clothing and shoes (Boys and girls)
- Knitting wool
On arrival at Lalibela, our guests simply tell their lodge manager that they have donations for our community programmes and these are then given to Charmain Gradwell, Lalibela’s Head of Community Development.
For more information about our community programmes, please contact Charmain Gradwell at [email protected]
“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
COMMUNITY UPLIFTMENT AT LALIBELA