Spirit of Big Five Active Projects
The Spirit of Big Five Foundation reflects the core beliefs of Big Five to conserve and protect the best of what our planet has to offer. That encompasses conserving and protecting wildlife; working for poverty alleviation for some of the most vulnerable among us; education and healthcare for the next generation; and preserving the integrity of our global cultural heritage.
Anti-Poaching Patrols in Kenya
According to the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, almost 100 elephants a day are killed by poachers. The fate of rhinos is even worse. And the fate of Africans who depend on tourism for jobs to support their families and put food on the table is hanging in the balance.
A comprehensive study by National Geographic shows a decrease in poaching as a result of the tourism-funded conservation efforts in Africa’s frequently visited countries versus the unattended wildlife in the nations that have yet to develop a tourism infrastructure. The study showed that in West Africa, 84 percent of deceased elephants were poached illegally, while the more popular East Africa and Southern Africa registered markedly lower illegal kills – 59 percent and 51 percent — still far too high but coming down in some areas.
In Kenya’s Chyulu Hills, the Spirit of Big Five Foundation recently made a donation through Campi ya Kanzi to the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) to fund anti-poaching patrols to protect endangered elephant and rhinos from the illegal ivory trade. The funds will cover three community rangers for six months, plus the operational costs for anti-poaching patrols also for six months. MWCT operates on land owned by the local Maasai community that forms part of a vital wildlife corridor between the Amboseli and Tsavo West National Park. The ecosystem harbors a rich biodiversity including threatened wildlife populations of lion and elephant. 70% of the wildlife in the ecosystem depends on community land for their survival. The rangers are from the local Maasai community of Kuku Group Ranch, and operate under a formalized partnership with Kenya Wildlife Service. Currently, 44 community rangers have received formal training at KWS law enforcement training school in Manyani.
The main duty of the rangers is to protect the natural resources of the Maasai community, conserving the wildlife and habitat of their land. That includes rangeland monitoring. For that, they use a special tool developed with the Zoological Society of London called SMART, Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool.
This conservancy has one of the lowest poaching rates in Kenya. This partnership enables Big Five’s guests to get an exclusive, close up look at how these anti-poaching patrols work and what it means to be a Maasai ranger working on the front lines to protect wildlife.
Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra
“On our recent trip to India, my wife, Usha, and I took time out to research more of the meaningful ways that Big Five can help the lives of people in need. Our journey took us to Bhartiya Samaj Kenva Kendra, a nonprofit organization that aims to help some of India’s most impoverished children. When we paid a surprise visit to their main center in Pune, we were completely captivated with the outstanding work being done to better the lives of the babies and young children we met. We were so moved by these beautiful children and the work of this organization that we decided to make Bhartiya Samaj Kenva Kendra our newest project.”
Mahen Sanghrajka, Chairman
Spirit of Big Five Foundation
In 1979 in Pune, India, Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra (BSSK) was founded as an Indian Charitable Trust and registered under the Bombay Public Trust Act of 1950, with the aim of providing welfare services to families and children in need, regardless of caste, creed, community or religion. BSSK is licensed to look after children from newborn babies to six years of age, understanding that the first six years of life, the formative years, are the most crucial stage of the child’s growth and development. BSSK is able to help some 160 children at any given time and the organization endeavors to give children the best nutrition, medical care, warmth, love and emotional security possible. They are cared for by a team of child development and social workers, caretakers, nurses, doctors, psychologists, teachers, therapists and volunteers – the latter come from as far as Germany and the United States.
The group’s main principle is to preserve and maintain a child’s birth family whenever possible. Always, the overriding concern is the best interest of each child. BSSK makes concerted efforts to restore a child to its birth family when a crisis has been overcome. Or, it may mean finding a place for a child in foster care and, for orphaned children, adoption. Sometimes, it is as simple as making sure that each child’s birthday is celebrated and documented. Beginning in 1980, BSSK has been able to offer sponsorships to help children from poor families to pursue their education. These sponsorships help strengthen each family by improving the children’s future prospects, preventing school drop outs, child labor, institutionalization and delinquency. They currently have about 800 children in their educational sponsorship program. BSSK also supports economically challenged children and their families through regular health clinic visits and nutrition programs.
The Spirit of Big Five Foundation supports the fundamental philosophy of BSSK – that every child has the right to a healthy life in a safe environment. Give a child the chance to compete in the world.
Blind Foundation for India
More than 15 million people in India are blind, and two million of those are children. With the knowledge, medicine and equipment now available, up to 80 percent of blindness cases are curable or preventable.
Big Five has worked with the Blind Foundation for India since 1989. The company funded the acquisition of an especially equipped SUV as well as a mobile ophthalmic van, one of a fleet of 121 such vehicles that are used throughout India in free outreach “eye camps.” Through these camps, medical teams have subsequently restored sight to more than 170,000 individuals, and have examined and treated more than one million people. The foundation has distributed over $600,000 to key medical partners throughout India for eye sight check up of 750,000 school-going children, provided glasses, medications and Vitamin A as necessary, and vaccinated against measles. They have also distributed more than 10,000 Braille and mathematics kits to blind children in all Indian states.
Kenya Self-Help Project
Active since: 12-01-2006 | region / location: Kenya / Kendu Bay
Kenya Self-Help Project (KSHP) is a U.S.-based organization dedicated to improving the social and economic future of 12,000 children in western Kenya. Its in-school programs promote gender equity and advance education opportunity.
Some 40% of the region’s primary-aged schoolgirls do not finish grade 8. Adolescent girls miss nearly a week of school each month due to lack of sanitary supplies. The absence of girls’ health and AIDS-prevention education contributes to 25% HIV/AIDS prevalence among Kendu Bay girls, compared to the national average of 6%.
Since 2011, this small 501(c)(3) non-profit has successfully reduced girls’ school dropout 98% – from over 200 girls a year to just four girls. Donor support of this program provides in-school Girls Club education, life skills training and monthly ‘Dignity Kit’ supplies for over 3,400 adolescent girls. Its Girls Empowerment program has eliminated pregnancy in 23 partner schools and improved girls’ high school eligibility from 43% to 100%.
Rural families living on less than $2/day cannot afford school fees for their children’s secondary education. Through KSHP’s Scholarship program, dedicated sponsors have enabled more than 200 high achieving impoverished Kendu Bay students to gain high school education. 90% of these students qualify for full university scholarship – a double return on their sponsor’s high school support.
Due to severe lack of textbooks in village schools, rural students are at severe disadvantage on national exams required to qualify for high school. KSHP’s Primary School Resources program supplies core subject textbooks and class readers to improve learning at 23 village schools. Since 2014, donors have helped students improve national exam performance 26-50% and boosted girls’ high school eligibility to 100%.
In all, more than 11,500 children benefit from KSHP donor-supported programs. The project has become a model for rural education development and social empowerment.
Willoq Andean Village
Willoq is a remote Quechua community that strives to keep their culture alive while seeking to improve the lives and future of its residents.
Since 2002, Big Five, in conjunction with Peruvian Odyssey, has worked with the residents of this small Andean community to improve their living standard, and have supported regular campaigns to prevent disease and provide medical attention to those in need, including hospitalization; and sponsored a health and education day. Big Five also helped fund restrooms and other needed public facilities for both local residents and visiting travelers.