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From the football pitches of Frome to Africa! Local volunteer launches football boots appeal

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A FROME woman is appealing for donations of football boots to pass on to workers at a elephant orphanage in East Africa.

Daniela Scott, who volunteered for three weeks as a research volunteer for the Game Rangers International (GRI) – Elephant Orphanage Project in Zambia, says that up to 25 workers share 10 pairs of football boots between them when playing the sport at the end of a working day to relax – and there is shortage of boots in sizes 8, 9, and 10.

“99% of the staff are local men who spend three weeks working on site, with one week off,” explains Daniela. “There are over 20/25 guys on each three-week shift and they work, mainly, as keepers or scouts to these loving and graceful creatures

“It’s a tough life living on camp for three weeks at a time, away from your family. Also, as the site is powered by solar, there is little power for anything like a regular TV. However, the one thing all the guys really look forward to at the end of each day is a game of football. It’s a big deal. But, the guys can only play football if they have boots and due to very limited resources, the charity and guys rely on boots, balls and kit being donated. 

“These guys are proud, hardworking, genuine, and decent people, who show great dedication. Many are the main/only bread winner in their single or extended family. In a country with no welfare support of any kind e.g. health, education, transport infrastructure; spare cash is hard to find. I have nothing but admiration and respect for them. Hence me deciding to do this for them.”

Daniela is appealing for donations of football boots in a reasonable/good condition in sizes 8, 9, and 10.

“I will have to do some fundraising to be able to afford the postage to Zambia,” said Daniela, “it won’t be cheap. I hope to put together a presentation of my volunteer research work as a way of raising the money to cover the cost of posting the boots.”

To contact Daniela about donating football boots, email her at: danielascott17@outlook. com

Explaining more about the work of the elephant orphanage and her time there as a volunteer, Daniela said, “GRI was set up 10 years ago with funds from the David Shepard Wildlife Foundation and International Fund for Animal Welfare. It has a number of roles. 

“Firstly it rescues, rehabilitates, and releases orphan elephants back into the wild. These orphans are created by poachers and human elephant conflict e.g. a herd of elephants walking through a farm. Currently there is a herd of 12 elephants at various stages of release at GRI’s Camp Phoenix, in Kafue National Park. 

“Secondly GRI employ and train local people to work at Camp Phoenix to become elephant keepers, who nurse the orphan through its trauma, and to become scouts. They can then go on to become wildlife wardens. We need scouts with us when we take the elephants on their morning walk because the bush is dangerous. Over 90% of the staff at Camp Phoenix are local, rural people, who very much need employment.

“GRI also supports anti-poaching projects in partnership with the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife.

“GRI staff also work with schools on elephant projects, as well as working with local farmers on the issues they face with elephants and looking at possible solutions.

“My role was as a research volunteer, monitoring the behaviour of an orphan elephant herd of 12 elephants. So for three weeks I would walk with a herd of 12 wild elephants every morning, monitoring their behaviour – I was in heaven! I would go on drives to locate, record and monitor wild elephants.  It was an emotional roller coaster, particularly when we took charge of a six-month-old orphan, Iyanda Moon, only for her to die. We all cried.”

For more information, visit: www.gamerangersinter national.org

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