Animals & Conservation
Animal welfare is a social problem which has far reaching consequences in terms of animal and human health, emotional development (or in the converse, the development of emotional and behavioural deviance), and the subsequent consequences to human beings, the environment and conservation as a whole. The foundational concepts of empathy, compassion, kindness and love that can be developed within a child that has had the benefit of a loving relationship with a pet in their childhood, feeds subtly but profoundly into every aspect of their adult life – the way they treat others, their family, spouse, children, friends and strangers.
With the right education during these developmental years, children can learn to embrace a value system that places kindness, stewardship, compassion, responsibility, activisim and respect for the sacredness of life at the top of the list. They are empowered to grow into defenders of the all life and of the beautiful planet on which we live. This has never been more important than now, as we deal with a society filled with violence, destruction, corruption, short-termism and self centricism. Within the variety of initiatives we have in place to address these issues, our activities are underpinned with welfare, healthcare, education, community and sustainability at the core of all that we do.
Our animal welfare work includes a rescue and rehabilitation centre for animals, adoptions and sponsoring, advocacy and regulatory work, education initiatives, training and behavioural interventions, human-wildlife conflict interventions, veterinary healthcare services, and, not least of all, prosecutions.
“I have seen firsthand how injustice gets overlooked when the victims are powerless or vulnerable, when they have no one to speak up for them and no means of representing themselves to a higher authority. Unless we are mindful of their interests and speak out loudly on their behalf, abuse and cruelty go unchallenged.” Desmond Tutu
Children & Education
When we look at the world and feel despair at the state of it all – big corporations profiteering, politically driven decision-making, compassion fatigue, gross irresponsibility and neglect, incompetence and corruption, avarice and ego-centrism – it’s natural to feel completely overwhelmed and disempowered. For parents it’s a scary place to raise a family and a worry to consider what kind of a world our children are going to inherit from us.
Children are without doubt, our greatest hope for a better future, and the children of today are more aware and more sensitised to the issues of this world than ever before. It is their burden to know of our broad neglect and implicit acceptance of the way things are, but it is also within their power to have a massive impact on what world their children will one day inhabit.
It is our passion to help solidify the foundations of a better future within our children. Our education initiatives include a broad base of activities from school visits, receiving schools tours to our facility and engaging children through story-telling, poems, books, songs, dance and theatrical productions. We believe that the more we can engage children around these issues, and expose them to beautiful interactions with animals, nature and the environment, the closer these issues will be to their heart as they grow into adults and become the new generation of custodians of our world.
Phoebe, the little puppy who started this organisation, is now a purveyor of books for children. Her books are bought by those who can afford one, and one is donated through our foundation to those who can’t afford one. The books are designed to be entertaining and fun, whilst underpinned by messages of love for all creatures, great and small, and to care for the earth and one-another. Children who pre-order a copy of any of the Phoebe Books titles will have their name listed within the book as “Friends of Phoebe” – Phoebe’s little helpers in spreading her message and story to all children on our continent.
The Mini and Youth Ambassadors program, are primary and high school programs designed to empower, inspire and upskill passionate kids! It is centred around animal welfare, wildlife conservation and the preservation of our environment, by providing educational activities around these topics, exposure to activities which have an impact on these issues and to empower children to have a voice and to utilise their creativity to become a part of the solution to the many problems in this space.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Community Sustainability & Women's Empowerment
One of our greatest challenges in Africa is the sheer scale of need across our continent. Almost everyone has seen the global fundraising initiatives for food shortages, displaced people, desperate children and the ongoing destruction of the environment, habitat and wild spaces. A lot of people have also witnessed the shortfalls relating to aid money – where initiatives can plug holes, but they don’t always create sustainability or provide sufficient skills empowerment and support to get the interventions across the line and the beneficiaries independent of the aid.
A key objective of the Cactus Foundation is sustainability. We are developing the foundations activities at each of the Cactus Foundation Centres to be highly self-sustainable, and this is where the community and women’s empowerment comes in. As part of our work at the foundation we are placing an emphasis on small business development and upskilling women from the surrounding communities to participate in our activities – this will serve not only to create employment, but also to educate and train women to develop and build small businesses, contribute to the fundraising activities of the foundation and to be a part of the solution to the many issues we are addressing.
Part of these activities, includes the development of ranges of traditional arts and crafts, children’s toys, dog leads, collars and harnesses, high end home décor pieces, foods and preserves, organic produce and a seedling nursery of indigenous plants. These items are to be sold through various channels to help derive income for the ladies, but also to raise funds for the foundation to enable the work with the animals and children beneficiaries.
The community centre is also intended to be a safe place for kids in need. Through partnerships with local authorities, the foundation is committed to facilitating access to healthcare, and providing social and mental health care support as and when needed.