The Cape Leopard Trust has taken conservation to the youth in the best way, creating several ways in which to share the important message.
South Africa (09 September 2021) – The Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) was established to advocate for and protect the Cape Leopards that live in the Cederberg, Boland, Namaqualand, Cape Peninsula and Gouritz corridor mountains.
The Cape Leopard Trust is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation engaged in innovative research, conservation and education projects established to facilitate and promote the conservation of biological diversity, with a focus on the Cape mountain leopard as a flagship species.
It was founded in 2004 and currently has projects running in the Western and Northern Cape. One of those projects has been their book “Footprints in the Fynbos”.
Towards the end of 2020, the Cape Leopard Trust announced the launch of a conservation-themed children’s story and activity book called “Footprints in the Fynbos” (original English version) and “Voetspore in die Fynbos” (Afrikaans translation).
The project was a collaborative effort drawing on 16 years of CLT research, the lyrical writing skills of children’s book author Liza M Roux and the engaging illustrations of Judy Maré. These books, typeset in a dyslexic friendly font, quickly became very popular, and quite organically, the project continued to grow in leaps and bounds. From the outset, the vision was to make the project as inclusive as possible to reach a broader community of children and address gaps in the education sector for more accessible resources. It became clear that more versions and translations of the book were needed.
This vision culminated in the launch of several unique resources related to the book celebrating International Literacy Day, 8 September 2021. These education tools include the Xhosa translation “Imizila yeenyawo kwiFynbos”, a South African Sign Language video interpretation of the story, audiobooks in English, Afrikaans and Xhosa, a Braille series and the new release of a children’s song, Leeto the Leopard.
The braille version of the book was made possible by the Oak Foundation.
The braille embossed books are fitted with a unique QR code which, when scanned, opens an audio version of the story, which can then be followed in braille. Braille resources enable blind or partially sighted people to enjoy reading and provide an opportunity to access education and independence. However, braille resources are expensive and scarce. Learning braille and having access to up-to-date braille resources from a young age helps improve literacy in an important sector of our society.
All the assets are available for download from the website here. All the books are available for free via download. Physical copies can be purchased from the CLT store. For every book sold, an underprivileged child will also get a copy of their own.
Aside from the braille copies of the books in English, Africans and Xhosa, there are also South African Sign Language (SASL) videos and audiobooks voiced by Darren Simpson, Armand Aucamp, and Zolani Mahola.
The book has been a great project for CLT, but it is the total inclusivity of the project that makes it so great for South Africans.