An 8-year-old girl Afeefah Patel from Evans Park, Johannesburg, won the prestigious SANParks Kudu Award for wildlife conservation for writing a letter to President Jacob Zuma asking for his assistance in saving endangered rhinos.
Afeefah Patel, who has just finished Grade One, attracted the attention of SANParks who celebrated her efforts by making her the youngest ever winner of the SANParks’s Corporate Contribution to Conservation Award: Individual category at the 8th annual Kudu Awards in November 2012. Afeefah was concerned that her prize money was not doing anything to help save the rhinos.
Together with her family, Afeefah generously decided to donate R 5 000 of her prize money to the Unite Against Poaching Trust Fund to further contribute to the fight against rhino poaching. Unite against Poaching is an initiative of Unitrans Volkswagen whereby funds are donated to the trust for each vehicle sold within the participating dealerships. The pledges are channelled effectively and efficiently to fight the war against poaching through the SANParks Honorary Rangers.
On Friday 18 January at THE GLEN Volkswagen, Afeefah , supported by her sister Aminah handed over a cheque for R 5000 to Kevin Gillmer, Divisional Chief Executive of Unitrans Volkswagen ( member of the Board of Trustees, Unite against Poaching trust)
Since the inception of the project in September 2011, Unite against Poaching have pledged over R 5,7 million to the fight against poaching within SANParks. For information on how the funds have been used or how to participate go to www.uniteagainstpoaching.co.za
In her letter in the The Times new paper addressed to Zuma, Afeefah asked the president to look after the rhinos. Her letter sparked interest from the presidency and she subsequently received a letter from President Zuma which said: “I want you to know that our government has just been as highly concerned at the staggering numbers of rhinos that have been killed just this year alone. We are delighted to receive support from people like you who love the environment and want to see it protected for future generations. Please continue playing a part in promoting the safety of our endangered species. I am very proud of you! You are a very good South African.”