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Imake a Difference Funds Students Youth Rhino Summit

IMAKE A DIFFERENCE FUNDS KIWI & VIETNAMESE STUDENTS AT

INAUGURAL INTERNATIONAL YOUTH RHINO SUMMIT

The first ever International Youth Rhino Summit will begin this year on World Rhino Day (21-23 September, 2014) and charitable trust - Imake a Difference (est 2013), will fund the experience for three Kiwi students as well as financially supporting Vietnamese students with the support of the US government.

The summit is a worldwide call to action by the youth against poaching and all other forms of wildlife crime, organised by Rhino Art. It will be a focused gathering of 100 young conservation leaders of 15-17 years old from South Africa and other representative countries around the world.

Three students, one from each of Kristin School, Westlake Girls High School and Hutt International Boys’ School, will attend this year. Imake a Difference approached the schools offering the opportunity earlier this year, and all the students are required to do is bring home what they’ve learnt and share the message. Imake a Difference approached these schools because of their connections to the organisation. Peter, originally from Wellington wanted a local boys school to be given the opportunity as well as schools (Kristin School and Westlake Girls High School) that are located close to where the charity runs from. It is also indicative of how Imake a Difference works, always trying to make it possible for anyone to be part of this cause.

Delegates, educators, and conservation leaders, will be brought together at the symbolic IMfolozi Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa to directly address the current rhino poaching crisis and develop resolutions needed to stop it. The mission is to engage youth conservation leaders in rhino/wildlife conservation & protection strategies and empower delegates to become ambassadors for wildlife & conservation.

Luke Nouata (Y13) from Hutt International Boys’ School, who feels “privileged, humbled and exceedingly excited” to attend, says that it’s sad that even though we are all part of a global community, our insular view of the world means we aren’t often impacted by such issues. He believes he will be able to help spread the word and hopefully show people that an individual really can make a difference. He intends to continue learning about the impacts of environmental sustainability and conservation and take that with him into a degree in architecture at university.

The rhino have been one of Anna Chambers’ (Y12) favourite animals from a young age and now she wants to find out more about how she can help and what can be done about the poaching epidemic. Kristin School’s delegate Anna, believes we are very sheltered from these sorts of problems in New Zealand, and “so there isn’t really any awareness of these issues amongst [her] peers or New Zealanders”. She wants to make people aware so people can understand the severity of the problem and get on board because “we can really make a difference if we all work together”.

Westlake Girls High School chose Bryar Renshaw (Y12) and they will also provide the student chaperone Ms Pamela Wade (part time English teacher, freelance writer and Imake a Difference supporter). Bryar has some innovative ways to educate people on the issue and thinks that might be part of why she was chosen. She feels that being part of this is “such an awesome responsibility” and knows that we need to not only support the rhino, but stamp out the supply and demand that fuels this problem. Bryar particularly likes the idea that they’ll be camping in the thick of it, near the animals rather than being distanced from it all in a hotel miles away. She looks forward to “actually getting to see, hear and smell the Savannah”.

Each student went through a grueling application process, to prove their desire to make a difference and be chosen to attend. We’re sure we’ve got the best ambassadors we could find.

Pamela looks forward to chaperoning the students and having been before, as part of an Imake a Difference expedition, she is well equipped for what’s ahead.

As well as having the privilege to be part of sending these three students, Imake a Difference also had the unique opportunity to help Vietnamese students attend too. We support the Rhino Art programme which is running the summit and they wanted to include some Vietnamese schools who run the programme there too. Vietnam is one of the main users of rhino horn so the charity felt it was important that they be able to attend. Our funding couldn’t quite cover all of the costs so the US government is looking to pay the balance to make it possible.

Imake a Difference has many projects in place to help save the rhino from the rising brutality of poaching for their horn, but educating our children is the most important project of them all. Our children are our future and they hold the power to really make a difference for the rhino. Let their voices be heard.

For more information on the summit please visit www.youthrhinosummit.com or see the video here: https://vimeo.com/98441530

You can make a difference yourself at www.imakeadifference.co.nz by simply donating or buying the great pieces of merchandise up for sale.

- Ends -


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