Last week we did something special. The EDGE team had the privilege of bringing internationally famous artist Rob Prior to Limpopo, South Africa where we provided art supplies to underprivileged kids from a local community.
Rob painted with them, gave them art lessons, and we provided them with lunch and, thanks to our partner Itaga Lodge in the Mabalingwe Game Preserve, brought the kids on game drives to look for wildlife.
We also brought them to our partner Adventures With Elephants where they interacted with elephants directly, learning about the incredible animals and understand their value.
Art is a gateway to understanding and a life skill that reaches beyond limited opportunities. Many children recruited into poaching have never seen a rhino (of the 45 we picked up in the morning, only 3 had ever seen a rhino–and they live miles from them). While we work to support our partnered genetic elephant research program, we can easily build and inspire communities with resources and talent.
We want to keep this up and we want to expand this program with other communities and schools — and sustain what we’ve already done. Conservation must have a community buy-in, and to protect animals, communities must see that wildlife has value. These kids also need opportunity, and as we build this successful project into a program, we believe will see a change in these communities. Please help us.
Thank you to Adventures With Elephants, Rory Hensman Research and Conservation Unit, Itaga Lodge, Project Hope and photographer Casey Crafford for helping us with this amazing event. It was truly a blessing for us.
Rob’s paintings will be auctioned to support these efforts — if you’re in the LA area, stay tuned for a date for his gallery show. Limited edition, signed prints of his work are available now, here. Get one while they last. Buy one, and support this art program and all that we plan to do with it.