Ellie spent time visiting and learning about the partnerships and initiatives with the communities we are working to empower during a visit to Zimbabwe in July 2017. The visit inspired her to assist with raising awareness of our work, leveraging on unique opportunities she has by connecting with and inspiring many people through her work in film and theatre.
Ellie stayed at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park and during her visit she learned about our projects in the area, including a visit to the Umtshibi Camp Pre-school, Hwange Main Camp Primary School and the Secondary School & some of the income generation projects in Dete. After her visit Ellie said that; “The thing that really resonated with me is the fact they are helping people and animals simultaneously. It’s such a great cause and one I’m really passionate about.”
The thing that really resonated with me is the fact they are helping people and animals simultaneously. Its such a great cause and one that I’m really passionate about.
Looking forward, Ellie will be working to run events and raise awareness in her endeavours around the world and will periodically return to Zimbabwe to visit the projects and see their progress. We are very excited to have Ellie on board.
We asked Ellie a few questions to help understand a bit more about her what inspired her to kindly take up the role as African Bush Camps Foundation Ambassador.
African Bush Camps Foundation (ABCF): It is really great that you have decided to support and help raise awareness about the work the African Bush Camps Foundation does in Zimbabwe, Botswana & Zambia. What made you want to take on the role of an ambassador?
Ellie: I went on holiday to Zambia and Zimbabwe this year, and whilst there I had the opportunity to see so much of the amazing work ABC do and it was just incredibly inspiring. Firstly, can I just say that it was an absolute honour to be asked to be their ambassador! All the things I saw, the people I met, their dedication to improving and making a better and safer life for themselves and the wildlife, there was no question for me to want to help.
ABCF: Where did you grow up, and has there always been an interest in community and conservation in your life?
Ellie: I was born in Surrey but grew up in a country village in Berkshire that has a great community which works hard to protect and conserve the village and surrounding natural areas, so yes I have grown up and have been instilled with a strong sense and knowledge and importance of both.
ABCF: Through your work as an actress in film, television and theatre you have a unique reach of people. What would be the key message about The African Bush Camps Foundation you would like people to know about?
Ellie: My message would be that when I saw what was being done by ABC, the way they work along-side the local communities, in a non-profit aid to conservation in partnership with the local people and also to help the wildlife – it made me feel humble and very lucky and ultimately want to help.
This was a life-changing trip for me.
Ellie: Oh wow the safaris were incredible experiences. Getting up in the early hours with the excitement of what you might see, set in the beauty of the surroundings, was jaw dropping in fact! I loved the elephants and was especially excited when we saw Cecil’s Pride!
All the guides are so knowledgeable that I learnt so many interesting facts!
ABCF: What is your favourite African wild animal, and why?
Ellie: The Elephants! When I watched them in their natural habitat, taking in their sheer enormity but yet seeing how gracefully they move both the young and the old together, just so beautiful and majestic.
ABCF: The ethos of our work is to partner with rural communities located in vulnerable wildlife areas to improve their quality of life and achieve long-term conservation. You visited some of the projects whilst you were in Zimbabwe. How did you enjoy meeting the Zimbabwean people and communities we work with?
Ellie: Where do I start! I met the Rangers, I met their families, I met children of all ages and actually didn’t want to leave! The people are so genuine and it was great to meet and chat to the children too. They were just beyond excited to show and tell me all about the new classroom and toilet facilities that are now being added thanks to the work of ABC.