Visitors have the opportunity to experience a very humbling way of life in the rural community of Woodlands, located on the fringe of the Victoria Falls Private Game. Here the 1200 residents (across 4 villages, 120 homesteads and 16000 ha) face extreme challenges, including the lack of basic services like ablutions, electricity and running water – exacerbated by a staggering rate of unemployment.
Most survive through subsistence farming, but this too is difficult due to erratic rainfall and direct competition with wild animals. It’s hard to imagine living like this. Yet the people of Woodlands remain determined to build a better life for themselves, making this encounter a deeply humbling and inspiring one.
Stanley & Livingstone (together with More Community Trust [MCT]) has committed to helping uplift Woodlands, and guests are invited to get involved. The tour centres on Masuwe Primary School, which does its best to give 160 learners a good education. The children are hungry to learn and – despite sharing buildings with livestock, studying by candlelight, and currently having only three teachers – they give it their all.
To assist, we are working on extensive upgrades to their learning facilities (including the addition of flushing toilets) and have installed a borehole here, along with two others in the community.
We aim to develop another facility enabling secondary education too, as most of the children drop out of school in Grade 7, with nowhere to move on to (some repeat Grade 7 again and again, just to avoid doing nothing).
Guests are personally met by a local representative, and are introduced to the children, as well as elders from the community. They also have the option to roll up their sleeves and get involved through one of MCT’s Get Your Hands Dirty initiatives on the ground.
Cost: US$50 per person (proceeds go to the school and community)