OF ORPHANS AND ELEPHANTS
The Boikarabelo Orphanage
Featured in the acclaimed documentary, Angels in the Dust, the Boikarabelo orphanage was founded by Marion Cloete, her husband, Con, and their two daughters. The Orphan Bracelet Campaign was inspired by the women and children that the film’s director, Louise Hogarth, met while filming the documentary.
Boikarabelo is an extraordinary village, using the traditional African model inherent in the Ubuntu values of cooperation and joint responsibility, which provides shelter, food and education to South African children. It is home to more than 250 children, with an additional 250 children who come daily from neighboring villages for food and schooling. No child is turned away.
This area of South Africa is also home to the Pilansberg National Wildlife Park where the culling of adult elephants has led to an increase in orphan elephants. During the filming of Angels in the Dust the Boikarabelo orphans were exposed to these orphan elephants with whom they have much in common.
Wild life custodians have noted that young elephants who have been orphaned often display unruly and sometimes violent behavior. It is believed to be a result of de-socialisation. When young AIDS orphans grow up in teenage headed households, which is the case in very many instances, this also leads to social maladjustment and problematic behavior later on.
Through establishments like Boikarabelo however, these orphans are given a new lease on life and a chance to rise above extremely dire circumstances. Like all these homes to the less fortunate, they rely heavily on donations to survive.