Sixty reasons to be happy
December 23 2013

Earlier this month, the ALERT Education Centre (AEC) celebrated the successful graduation of sixty students with a special end of year graduation ceremony.

The AEC teacher, Staben Porovha, was in attendance at the event and looks back on a memorable day and a year full of Conservation Education success stories: 

After the graduation ceremony, the students went for a game drive in the company of Antelope Park staff members, volunteers and field guides.  The primary purpose of this was to allow them an opportunity to consolidate the information they were given during their studies at the AEC.  This was a real treat to many, as it was their first time they had actually seen lions and other wild animals.  The game drive itself was a spectacular one, since they managed to come across almost every animal that resides within Antelope Park.  Smiling all the way, the kids looked awesome wearing their ‘I’m a Conservation Star’ t-shirts.

Staben encourages his students to give feedback on completion of their studies.  All sixty students took time to write about their experiences of the AEC.  This is what some of them had to say…

Tinotenda Mutatu

I learned about how to conserve our wildlife, vegetation and creating awareness.  I also learned about conservation status and that extinction is forever.  It was helpful to me because it makes me know about creating awareness.  I enjoyed the big 5 game.  In future we should be involved to creating awareness and conserve our wildlife and vegetation.  Sir Staben was an excellent teacher and teaches well.

Emily Sibangaru

At the AEC I learned that the quagga has become extinct because the farmers saw it as a competitor to their livestock.  I learned something new which is the cheetah does not hide its nails.  The learning was helpful because we learn how to conserve animals.  In life we should improve conserving animals and humans.  The teacher is good and I love the way he explains.

Lubetihle Sibanda

At the AEC I learned many things and many modules.  The thing that was new for me was the small five like ant lion, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, leopard tortoise and rhino beetle.  And I also learned the big five the animals which are dangerous in the world like buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion and leopard.  It was helpful to me to learn at the AEC, because it improves my brain at school.  Sir Staben taught me very well and I don’t have a problem to him because I understand everything.  God bless him.

Marevellous Jekese

I learned that conservation is to take care of something.  I am very happy because I learned something new like big five are dangerous animals and it is very important to look after them.  The learning most helpful to me is that the cheetah is the fastest runner in the world.  The name of the teacher is Sir Staben, he is a very good teacher.  He explains and when we give correct answers, he gives us stars and stickers.

Faith Matsangaise

At the AEC I learned about conservation.  Conservation is the protection or restoration of the natural environment.  One new thing I learned is that wild animals and vegetation are important because if we have wild animals, paying tourists will come to see them.  The money is given to the government and the government will build schools and pay doctors, etc.  The learning was helpful.  This helps us to create awareness about conservation.  It helps us to stop killing wildlife.  At the AEC, I enjoyed learning about the big five which are lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo.  In future I think this would help our children to know that wildlife is important.  The children will know and they will create awareness about conservation.  Our teacher Sir Staben was a good teacher, he teaches us excellently.

Tanyaradzwa Chireke

We learned about conservation, African Animals, African Habitats, African Cats, African Countries and the last module was called Tracks and Signs.  We did learn something new like about the quagga which has become extinct.  The learning was very helpful to me because I learnt things that I have never known before.  I enjoyed the big five game the most.  I think they should improve the population of the giraffes so that they will increase.  The teacher is very intelligent and he is very smart when teaching.

Kembo Muzika

I learned about leopards that they can change their diet easily.  I learned about something new like quaggas are now extinct.  I learned that the lions in the game park are vulnerable and some are attacked by diseases like FIV and TB.  The learning was helpful in giving me knowledge about the lions and zebras.  I enjoyed most learning and completing all the 6 modules at AEC and I enjoyed playing the big 5 game with the tourists.  The  teaching was great and the teacher was smart.

Blessing Munetsi

At the AEC I learned how to conserve wild life.  I enjoyed most the big 5 game in the AEC.  I think in future we should stop cutting trees.  I can say the teacher was a good teacher and the learning was helpful to me because he knew what I did not know.

Sandra Matumba

At AEC we learned that conservation is taking care of something and we must protect animals.  At AEC we learn about quagga is extinct.  It was found in South Africa and is subspecies of zebra.  And big 5 are mostly dangerous animals in the savannah grassland and we learn about small 5.  The learning was helpful to me because we learnt about animals we did not know.  At the AEC we enjoyed learning and we must protect animals.  Sir Staben is very good teacher he can teach us good.

Paidamoyo Nyoni

At the AEC I learnt many topics like conservation, African Animals, African Habitats, African Countries, African Cats and Track and Signs.  In the module of conservation we learn that we must conserve wildlife and vegetation.  Due to being careless about conservation, some animals have become extinct and others are vulnerable.  Examples of animals that have become extinct are bubat, quagga and dinersole.  African lion is vulnerable.  The learning was very helpful to me.  I learned that we must conserve nature for us to have enough oxygen to breath and for us to know that if we stop hunting and poaching wild animals, tourists will come to see them and tax will be given to the government for it to build roads, schools and more clinics.  At the AEC what I enjoyed most is learning about Africa and conservation for wildlife and vegetation.  In future I think we must conserve nature and protect our wildlife from becoming extinct.  The teaching was very good, I wish Mr Porovha to be my teacher forever.


Meanwhile, Antelope Park volunteers have given the street children who attend Gweru’s Drop-in Centre a early Christmas celebration in the form of a movie night.  The children were so excited about the event that they had dressed up in their best clothes and arrived early.  Drop-in Centre coordinators told volunteers that the children had been waiting around since early afternoon in anticipation. 

One volunteer, Lauren, had this to say about the occasion:

In Gweru there are roughly 70 children living on the street.  Community volunteers from Antelope Park regularly help these kids by providing assistance at a place known as the Drop-in Centre.  The centre is a place where street kids are able to come and learn basic English, maths, draw, play and be given a meal.  As a pre-Christmas surprise, the Antelope Park volunteers held a movie night.  A group of 35 kids turned up.  It was a very successful night and it was truly rewarding to see the fun had by the kids.

Thank you to all the Antelope Park volunteers for creating a magical moment for Gweru’s street children!

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