Our goal is to educate, engage, and inspire future generations in conservation
We run two Junior programmes in the Bay of Ranobe; Junior Reef Doctors and Honko Junior Guides. The aim of these programmes are to actively engage children in conservation and sustainability in order for them to become community ambassadors, to help spread awareness of key environmental issues now and in the future.
Junior Reef Doctors
In 2013, funded by the Julie Ghosh Memorial Scholarship Programme, we implemented ‘Junior Reef Doctors’ to provide extracurricular environmental lessons to the brightest school children from Ifaty. Julie (pictured below) volunteered with Reef Doctor in 2009 and was passionate about helping the people of Ifaty, especially the children. Sadly, Julie passed away in 2013 but her legacy lives on in the Junior Reef Doctor programme. Reef Doctor, the ‘Juniors’, and their parents are immensely grateful to the continued generous donations made by Julie’s father, Mr Biku Ghosh, to the Julie Ghosh Memorial Scholarship that makes our Junior Reef Doctors program possible and provides local children wonderful opportunities they would never have otherwise.
The scholarship is awarded to children between the ages of 8–12 who have performed the best in national school exams and who have an excellent school attendance rate. The main aims of the scholarship programme are:
To teach children about the environment and conservation.
To support the general education of the children by paying their school fees for one year and by providing educational materials every term.
To actively engage the children in the work of Reef Doctor in order for them to become conservation ambassadors, to help spread awareness, and to facilitate local community-NGO relations.
The programme aims to raise awareness of the issues affecting their marine ecosystems and to educate the children on how to use marine resources in a sustainable way for their future preservation. It also aims to inspire the children to continue their education and be proactive in conservation matters, now and in the future.
To date, working with the local school teachers, Reef Doctor has awarded scholarships to 15 students. The Junior Reef Doctors attend weekly sessions at the Reef Doctor base every Saturday morning. The theoretical and practical (interactive) lessons provided complement the government’s environmental education programme. We also run several field trips throughout the year including visits to other conservation NGOs in the area, whale watching excursions, and snorkelling trips. Every year the scholarships are re-awarded, providing the opportunity for other school children to participate. We also involve the Junior Reef Doctors in our awareness raising community days and fundraising events. Meet each of our Junior Reef Doctors here!
Honko Junior Guides
In 2015-2016, our Junior programme was adopted by Honko to form the Honko Junior Guide programme. The objective of the programme is to train young members of the community (aged 10-14 years) to become mangrove guides, and teach them concepts in basic mangrove and wetland ecology, the importance of natural ecosystems, the idea of sustainability and, above all, a love and respect for nature. Its aims to empower and equip children with the tools they need to become future leaders of sustainability in the local, national, and international communities.
These guides-in-training are gaining the theoretical knowledge and practical skills to become local mangrove ambassadors in their villages and families. They learn the importance of mangroves though fun and interactive educational activities, and participate in regular mangrove replantation events, beach cleans, and other mangrove management events. They also perform and present at community events such as World Mangrove Day, and take part in educational exchanges with the Junior Reef Doctors and other NGOs in the region. The Junior Guides are also taught French in order to offer them as many opportunities as possible for their future.
The Reef Doctor Honko Project continues to run this programme, with plans for programme expansion to include children from two other villages in the near future.