First Car Rental goes the extra mile deep in the Kalahari

First Car Rental

First Car Rental transports three San children from the Kalahari to Johannesburg.

First Car Rental was approached by non-profit organisation, Nine Human Needs, who needed a large vehicle to transport precious cargo from the Kalahari to Johannesburg and back during the December holidays.

Kalahari San

(L-R): The three San children, Paulina, Jadre and Etienne

This precious cargo was three amazing San children taking their first steps into their future.

Nine Human Needs runs a Wellness and Sustainability programme in the Kalahari for a local community where the last of the 300 San (Bushmen) reside.

The Bushmen, especially the second and third generation (the San were removed from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park), find themselves tangibly having to deal with all the pyscho/social and economic issues as a displaced community such as HIV/AIDS, TB, hypertension, diabetes and alcohol abuse.

Five kilometres from the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (KTP) there is a little settlement called Welkom where a few of the San families live.

They chose Welkom as it is where the children are able to receive good primary schooling, albeit in very humble conditions, under the watchful guidance of the headmaster, Mr Julies.

It is here that three San children - Paulina (13), Jadre (11) and Etienne (10), all from one family, (their mother is the niece of David Kruiper, leader of the ‡Khomani San who passed away in 2012) - displayed great potential and have been offered the opportunity to receive better schooling in Upington.

Lee-Anne Pace

The children during their recent trip to Johannesburg

Prior to taking this last step, their parents, Nooi Ghariseb and Maria Kruiper, thought it prudent to allow them to explore Johannesburg so that they may experience other ways of living.

During their Johannesburg adventure, the children learnt how to use an iPad (schools are moving away from text books) and other Western norms. Paulina was also kitted out for her debut at Upington High School.

Says Sharon White, Executive Director - Business Development for Re-Action! Consulting, "Whilst in Johannesburg these three amazing kids had a very different Christmas and holiday but adapted really well to the experience. As we drove out of OR Tambo Airport, Etienne (the youngest) said, 'Ooo hene, beter ek my oe styf toe maak, die kare baie paaie maak my benoud' (ohhhh best I close my eyes, there are far too many cars and lanes and I am starting to get very anxious). "Shopping and outings were paced so as not to overwhelm them, however they showed their true genes with their determination and natural ability to adapt."

"Bushmen in our hearts"

Lee-Anne Pace

The children at home with their family in Welkom

The children have all returned to Welkom in the Kalahari.

The three siblings, who are keen to receive the best education, and yet honour their heritage, have decided as a team that they would all like to attend schools in Upington, and if possible, go together next year as this will help them survive in a world that is foreign to them.

Paulina, Jadre and Etienne are, as they say, "Bushmen in our hearts".

Paulina and her family are waiting to hear if Paulina has been accepted to the school in Upington as she was number 25 on the waiting list. If not, she will have to go to a local high school, which is not so local - 160 kms away from home.

As young as they are, these children are able to track wildlife, recognise all flora in the Kalahari, and can identify birds high in the sky or by their call, and instinctively understand all local animals and their habits as if they are all one.

The Kruiper family and Nine Human Needs thank First Car Rental for their generosity and look forward to sharing the next adventure of the Kruiper Three!

Read more about First Car Rental's Corporate Social Responsibility Projects projects by clicking here.

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