Giving Back

Giving Back

  • Fair Trade in Tourism Certified

Fair Trade in Tourism (FTT) is a non-profit organisation that promotes sustainable tourism development.

“We do this through awareness raising, research and advocacy, capacity building and by facilitating the world’s first tourism Fair Trade certification programme.

FTT awards the use of special label to qualifying businesses as a way of signifying their commitment to Fair Trade criteria including fair wages and working conditions, fair purchasing, fair operations, equitable distribution of benefits and respect for human rights, culture and environment.

By electing to stay at or use the services of an FTT-certified establishment such as Sani Lodge Backpackers, tourists are assured that their travel benefits local communities and economies, and that the business is operated ethically and in a socially and environmentally responsible manner”.

Dear Valued Sani Lodge Guest 

Simone and Russell Suchet wish to heartily thank each guest who chooses to stay with us and engage in any of the following;

  • help us to conserve our natural environment via correct waste management by dividing refuse into separate bins, switch off lights/heaters not in use to conserve electrical energy
  • enjoy the indigenous gardens that conserve water use and biodiversity plus have no chemicals used; only our own natural organic compost and attract beautiful sunbirds and butterflies
  • support the Crafts shop stocking Fair Trade/proudly local South African made products/ entrepreneurs trying to make an honest living using their skill
  • not smoking anywhere but in designated place allocated
  • volunteer to teach English
  • becomes directly involved in Community and social investment through joining a grass-roots tourism tour into Lesotho that sustainably benefits each Basotho stakeholder service provider and offer employment to tour guides.

Your presence here at Sani Lodge Backpackers means that you are supporting a Responsible Travel Destination which is committed to Fair Trade in Tourism’s principles of

Fair Share – all of our staff , tour guides, tourism stakeholders in Lesotho are rewarded with a fair share of the income from your accommodation stay, meals and tours

Democracy – all of our staff, tour guides, Lesotho tourism stakeholders have the right and opportunity to participate in decisions that concern them via regular meetings

Respect – this ensures that both us as host and guests should have respect for human rights and the natural environment as well as cultural sensitivity via positive engagement and appropriate conduct on our Lesotho tours, Zulu visits , rock are walks and school volunteering.

Reliability – offering reliable and consistent services of high quality standards for welcoming guests,accommodation, food and tours> Our staff receive on-going in-house training as well as external training in fields of catering, hospitality management ,maintenance and machine use skills.

Transparency– our staff are thoroughly interviewed at each Fair Trade audit by FT assessors to ascertain their level of happiness in our employ. At our last audit, the assessors relayed that they had never been to a place where each staff member was so happy in their job and that they were well paid. Staff are kept up to date on all business policies and remuneration including salary raises and annual year end bonuses is based on staff assessments . The tour price for each guest is shared transparently and equitably amongst all stakeholders offering services and including guides.

Sustainability – our networking in Lesotho has been designed to promote sustainable self-employed livelihoods enabled through responsible tourism and use of existing resources, therein protecting the environment and cultural identity.

 All our staff were previously unemployed and once recruited , trained to fulfil tasks within different sections of the Lodge. Job promotion is internal. 

All of our staff participate in a project at the local rural primary school designed to improve English literacy and conversational skills of the pupils.The staff members who are not confident to teach English employ their maintenance skills at the school where jobs are always needing doing. Each staff member of our team of 15 goes to the school for three hours every term.  

We support Fair Trade products and crafts made by single entrepreneurs or groups of women and always give preference to local procurement and South African made products.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for choosing to stay with us as leaders in the field of Responsible Tourism. The more people who know about what this means, the more people will have the knowledge to be discerning about where and how they choose to spend their holidays and to whom and how their money is distributed so that more people at grassroots level will benefit. We are firm believers that Responsible Tourism can alleviate poverty through job creation. We have proved this through the tours we offer in Lesotho where our partners are independent beneficiaries taking great pride in their culture, via visible and significant Community upliftment through our volunteering / literacy programme and our rock art walk fees contribution to the Khomani San people .The result is a loyal, happy and long standing team of skilled employees who take great pride in their own culture and beautiful country and love to share this with guests.

‘Sala Kahle ‘! ( ‘stay well’ in isiZulu)
Russell, Simone, Scholar, Mirriam, Mbali, Jennett, Thembeka, Khanyi, Thobile, Nonhlanhla, Jabu, Ernest, Bellson, Rodger, Rosanne

  • Volunteering

Would you like to help teaching English to local Zulu children?

It will enrich your life as much as theirs as you will learn so much from the experience especially if you are considering teaching as a career.

BACKGROUND

Simone and Russell, owners of Sani Lodge Backpackers, who are already involved with social upliftment and school support projects in Lesotho, approached Kwapitela Primary School, just 6 km from Sani Lodge in 2013,with view to finding ways of assisting the Educators and learners at the school, on a long term basis. Russell and Simone Suchet met with the Headmaster, the Educators and Governing Body of Kwapitela School, to discuss practical and sustainable ways of assisting the school. Bringing volunteers to help with teaching English became the focus of the project thus initiated. The grades concentrated on are Grade 4 to 7. Conversational English was found to be the weakest area as this is always the most difficult part of learning a new language. The Department of Education verbally instructed all Educators at rural Government schools to introduce English as the medium of instruction to learners from Grade 4 only, leaving the learners with just four years to master English well enough to write their final Primary school examinations at the end of Grade 7 and High school entrance tests in English. They are not allowed to write their examinations in their mother tongue despite South Africa having 11 distinct languages. This puts rural learners at an immediate disadvantage. Our hope is that all rural Government schools introduce English as the medium language of instruction from Grade 0 to allow learners to realise their full potential and afford them the opportunity to gain acceptance to good High schools through achieving better pass rates in all subjects. The children are delightfully keen and eager to learn and engage with those interested in volunteering their time to help them master English. They are materially poor children, yet they are rich with enthusiasm and their sense of fun is awe-inspiring. Anybody who has learnt a new language themselves, knows the difficulties and can identify with the same problems they encountered. Hearing, speaking and reading all contribute to learning faster and more efficiently.
So successful has this program been that the Headmaster reports an ongoing significant improvement in conversational English and confidence of the pupils. Feedback from volunteers has also been overwhelmingly positive – “Most enjoyable, rewarding and life-changing. A privileged experience!”

REQUIRED

  • The ability to speak and read English fluently, with a love of reading stories, patience , praise and encouragement for each pupil
  • The desire to engage with local Zulu children, sharing your skills and giving up your time of 3 hours daily between 11.30am and 2.30 pm weekdays, for a worthy cause.
  • Be fun and creative via word games, songs, acting out plays. We supply you with guidance and tips on activities.
  • Be open to interacting with children to find out more about their own unique culture and share your own too.
  • Please read the document in this kit list


THERE ARE 3 WAYS TO GET INVOLVED:

  1. Simply volunteer some of your time during your stay with us. This is best arranged in advance.
  2. Join one of the two special packages listed below. This gives a day spent Volunteering combined with another fun/interesting activity at the Lodge.
  3. If you have a minimum of a week to devote to volunteering, we are offering a free dorm bed.

NOTE: VOLUNTEERING IS ONLY AVAILABLE WHEN SCHOOL IS OPEN, MEANING IT IS NOT AVAILABLE DURING WEEKENDS, SCHOOL HOLIDAYS OR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS. ANYONE VOLUNTEERING AT THE SCHOOL IS REQUESTED NOT TO HAND OUT SWEETS OR FOODSTUFFS OF ANY KIND TO THE CHILDREN. PLEASE TALK DIRECTLY TO OR EMAIL RUSSELL IF YOU WISH TO DONATE FUNDS TOWARDS BOOKS, FIREPLACES, SPORTS GEAR , WINTER WEAR AS HE CAN GIVE ADVICE ON HOW BEST TO GO ABOUT THIS. WE NEED TO ENSURE THAT ANYTHING DONATED IS APPROPRIATE FOR ALL THE CHILDREN OR CAN BE FAIRLY DISTRIBUTED.