We had a chance to chat with Larry Bell about his family’s foundation and the Blue Bag Program while we were at SCI, Reno. The family’s story, of the loss of their daughter, is a tragic one, however, what they’ve created is an inspiration.
New Partnership with International Wildlife Fellowship Foundation Moves Bell Family Blue Bag Program Forward in Africa
SCI Foundation is proud to announce a new partnership between our Foundation, the Ellen and Larry Bell Family, and the International Wildlife Fellowship Foundation (IWFF) aimed at helping those in need in Africa through an expansion of the successful Safari-Care Bell Family Blue Bag program. This new partnership provides Blue Bags and funding for IWFF to purchase and distribute items that will aid in the humanitarian relief and social responsibility efforts for needy individuals in Africa. The funds were provided by SCI Foundation from a special grant provided by the Bell Family.
“Working with like-minded groups like IWFF greatly expands our ability to reach those in need around the world,” said SCI Foundation president Bob Benson. “By supporting local communities and helping to meet their humanitarian needs, we hope to further our conservation mission by helping to alleviate some of the pressures facing wildlife in some of the poorest areas of Africa. If wildlife is to survive, the people living in these areas must see a benefit. We’re hoping, with IWFF’s help, to provide that benefit.”
IWFF’s efforts distributing their Bell Family Blue Bags have been impressive. Since December, Blue Bags containing items like food, clothing, toys and other supplies have been delivered to many places including a Macacasa Village where 120 very poor people live; a foster home where 7 children from terrible conditions now live in a safe and happy home; and to Grace House Shelter for the Homeless in Krugersdorp where 55 adults and 10 small children live.
Through their program, numerous Blue Bag deliveries have also been made to local schools including the Booysens Beertjies Nursery School in Pretoria where 100 small children from a very poor community attend school as well as to the Mangalana Community Schools in Mozambique where many of these children only eat at school, as there is no food in their homes. IWFF supports schools like these through the delivery of Blue Bags containing food, clothing and supplies, so that the children can learn English and get a good education, so that they can find jobs and do not have to turn to poaching to make a living.
Also supported through deliveries of meat, groceries, cleaning materials and clothing via Blue Bags have been the Kungwini Centre where 200 physically and mentally challenged adults and 30 children live and the Elandspoort Child Welfare Centre, where 65 kids from a very poor community come to do their homework after school and to enjoy to what most of them is their only meal of the day. To many of these children, which come from the poorest of families, going to an orphanage where they would receive three meals a day and sleep in a warm bed sounds like going on holiday.
IWFF’s Little Feet Project works to help meet the medical and other needs of children born with club feet like two little boys from a very poor area of Booysens taken away from their parents because of neglect and abuse, which now live in a foster house with five other children that IWFF also supports. IWFF organized for their feet to be fixed by a doctor and Blue Bags were delivered to help with food, clothing and medication for the two boys during their recovery.
“We are very grateful for the partnership between ourselves, SCI Foundation, the Bell Family and Amy Bell Charities,” said IWFF CEO Retha van der Merwe. “This partnership has made a huge difference towards the life changing projects that we aim to do, thereby showing that hunters do care.”
In addition to its humanitarian work, IWFF also directly supports several African-based conservation efforts including the VULPRO Vulture Sanctuary, a rescue center where Vultures poisoned or shocked by electric fencing or wires are rescued, healed and released into nature, and LET IT SWIM at the Josini Dam, an anti-poaching project that looks to stop southern/common reedbuck from being poached and tiger fish from being illegally netted greatly affecting angling-based tourism and the economics of the area, which is the largest and one of a very few places in South Africa where the iconic tiger fish species breed and occur naturally.
Together, we are working to make a real, tangible difference on the ground in Africa. Partnerships like this one greatly expand the reach of much-needed humanitarian programs like the Safari-Care Bell Family Blue Bag program, providing relief and alternatives to poaching and illegal hunting and trapping, supporting wildlife conservation efforts where it matters most. We thank the Bell Family for their generous support and IWFF for their ongoing commitment to helping those in need across Africa.
To learn more about this and other SCI Foundation Humanitarian Services projects, visit SafariClubFoundation.org. To learn more about IWFF, feel free to contact Retha van der Merwe at firstname.lastname@example.org.