Since 1988, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) has been a steadfast supporter of Wilderness Foundation Africa (WFA), marking a remarkable 35-year partnership. Over this extensive collaboration, the joint efforts have significantly contributed to conservation and youth development initiatives.
VWSA’s involvement began by providing vehicles for WFA’s sister organization, Wilderness Leadership School, under the leadership of the late Dr. Ian Player. From 1995 onward, WFA became the recipient of a vehicle for its social programs, and since 2015, VWSA has continued to supply a Volkswagen Kombi or Caddy to support WFA’s Youth Development Programme.
The impact of this partnership is evident in various accomplishments:
Nature Experience for Youth: Over 67,790 vulnerable youths have had their first exposure to nature through the Pride and Imbewu Wilderness Nature trails.
Training Courses: A total of 1,227 graduates have completed the Siyazenzela Employability, Wellness, and Leadership training courses.
Vocational Scholarships: 535 beneficiaries of the Umzi Wethu vocational scholarships have graduated from Conservation or Hospitality programs.
During the challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Volkswagen vehicle played a crucial role in the Humanitarian Food Relief project. This initiative supported 553 households in the Sundays River municipality, distributing 2,503 food hampers to families in need.
Beyond these programs, VWSA, through its Commercial Vehicles brand, has bolstered WFA’s Forever Wild Rhino Protection Initiative against rhino poaching in South Africa. Since 2011, VWSA has supplied a fleet of Amaroks, contributing to over 2.7 million kilometers in on-the-ground rhino protection and monitoring activities. This support has facilitated the establishment of a rhino rehabilitation enclosure, numerous rhino monitoring and security flights, and the collection of over 225 rhino DNA samples, along with the fitting of more than 49 rhino tracking collars.
Dr. Andrew Muir, CEO of Wilderness Foundation Africa, expressed gratitude for the enduring partnership, emphasizing the positive impact on South Africa’s rhino species and the development of vulnerable youth. Martina Biene, VWSA Chairperson and Managing Director, affirmed the company’s commitment to the vital work done by WFA and looks forward to the continued positive impact in the years to come.
Caption: Matthew Norval, Chief Operations Officer: Conservation at Wilderness Foundation Africa, and Martina Biene, Chairperson and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa, celebrate the 35-year partnership.