Samara Foundation – a new seed is planted

“Striving with all our might with healing substances for the well-being and advancement of our fellow human beings and the world around us.”

The founding principle of Parceval is the common thread that runs through Parceval’s work, diverse as it is at times. It has led Parceval to become involved in different community projects, on very different shores.

From the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape and the verdant shores of Madagascar, to the arid landscapes of Somaliland, Parceval has initiated, with the support of its clients, several projects that have given back to the communities in which botanical raw materials are being harvested.

People are at the heart of Parceval’s work, and ensuring that all stakeholders benefit from the trading of botanical resources is an important part of how the business is run. Therefore Parceval has extensively engaged with the South African legislation arising from the Nagoya Protocol, an international agreement on the fair and equitable sharing of benefits that come from trading and working with genetic resources.

Parceval holds 6 Bio-prospecting permits to date which all have benefit-sharing agreements in place. However with the ever growing need to deepen this commitment and meaningfully engage with those connected to South Africa’s botanical resources, it was time to take the next step.

And so Samara Foundation was formed. A non-profit company that works closely with Parceval, Samara initiates community projects, grows skills and builds capacity and supports early childhood development in harvesting communities.

Samara also gives businesses working with Parceval an opportunity to support projects as part of their own access and benefit sharing commitments. In this way Samara and Parceval can grow the reach into local communities and make sure that value does flow back and they too benefit from the richness of South Africa’s biodiversity.

Every Seed Has a Future

Samara is about planting seeds of opportunity in rural communities where access to services, resources and sustainable income opportunities are hard to come by.

By focusing on various aspects to address immediate needs as well as to develop the potential held within a community and its individuals, Samara brings new energy, opportunities and points of connection for the communities.

NgwabeniProjects

Samara has several established projects running in the Eastern Cape, however has the flexibility and enthusiasm to create new projects within other harvesting communities and has a variety of project ideas it can offer to businesses looking to share benefits down the value chain. Samara does the research and groundwork needed to establish the needs in a community and find the relevant community partners in other geographical locations (even outside South Africa) to deliver project proposals that fit the unique objectives of a business.

Eastern Cape Crèches

Six under-resourced crèches, in Alice and near Whittlesea, where harvesting of botanical material takes place, are being supported with educational materials, equipment and infrastructure improvements. Samara believes that creating a space in which children feel safe and nurtured is an important first step in promoting learning and allowing children to develop to their full potential.

Capacity building and skills-training

A regular teacher training and enrichment seminar is given to the teachers of the crèches to further support early childhood development, as well as build the capacity of the people caring for the communities’ children. Resources and educational material are created for the teachers, tailored to the specific needs of the crèches.

Stitches of Hope

Samara is creating community projects that support the women in the surrounding community of the crèches by drawing and building on their handwork skills. By encouraging the women’s sewing and beading skills and teaching additional skills, the Stitches of Hope project will make toys and blankets for the crèches as well as products that can be sold further afield.

Connecting North and South, East and West

“We are all connected. What unites us is our common humanity.” – Desmond Tutu

Learning and sharing this truth is important in today’s world and Samara believes in connecting people from different cultures and backgrounds. Not only to connect through our shared humanity, but to share and bring new ideas to each other and learn from one another. Samara facilitates these interactions wherever possible, whether through fun days within a community and between schools, or with longer visits of volunteers or youth groups.

North meets South – a visiting Austrian youth group plays ball with the locals at Noluthando Day Care Centre. Photo: Louisa Feiter

 

For more information on Samara Foundation and its projects, contact Louisa on louisa.feiter@gmail.com