Soon-to-be, 10-year-old Romario Valentine is using his birthday to support birds for a second time after his previous birthday crowdfund was a massive success.
Durban, South Africa (22 June 2021) – Romario Valentine (9), a pint-size planet warrior and artist from Umhlanga, Durban, has dedicated the last 4 years of his young life to protecting our planet.
Fully focused on his passions, namely bird and marine conservation, climate change, and deforestation, Romario has remarkably completed 162 beach clean-ups to date, planted over 26 trees across 4 continents, and last year he raised over R31 000 on BackaBuddy to support the Umgeni River Bird Park instead of birthday gifts.
A Rising star
Despite only being in grade 4, Romario has become a rising star in the conservation space.
He recently made history by becoming the youngest Ambassador for Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that recycles flip flops that wash ashore by transforming them into vibrant, colourful marine and wildlife sculptures with the help of local artists.
On the 17th of June 2021, Romario was selected by the UNCCD “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification” to highlight climate change and land degradation to represent them at their Desertification and Drought Day.
The United Nations have also featured him, 50/50, Extreme E’s Virtual Series Launch, National Geographic Kids, Global Citizen, and appeared as one of 35 activists in “What a Wonderful World”, a book by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and Lydia Hill, to be released in the United Kingdom, August 2021.
Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy
Romario celebrates his 10th birthday on 26th July 2021; staying true to his selfless nature, he has once again decided to forgo birthday gifts to raise R30 000 on Backabuddy instead, to support two charities close to his heart, Birds of Eden and Zeitz Foundation.
As Romario blows out the candles on his birthday cake this year, he only has one wish, which is “to restore habitats for biodiversity and to leave a legacy for other children and generations to come.”
Since the launch of his crowdfunding campaign, Romario has already raised over R12 500 towards his fundraising target, with contributions from 45 donors both locally and abroad.
Funds raised will allow him to fund the completion of a 30x30m aviary at ‘Birds of Eden’ in Plettenberg Bay, Western Cape, which will house critically endangered abandoned African Grey Parrots.
He also hopes to plant 250 trees, in line with the Zeitz Foundation’s goal to plant 1 million Acacia trees over the next 10 years to help decrease the effects of climate change and increase our biodiversity.
“I would like to see an International Children’s Tree planting day. Where world leaders and tree organisations team up with schools and communities to plant trees together. Children involved in reforestation programs from a young age, will help them become better citizens for the environment and slow down global warming.” – says Romario
Birds of Eden in Plettenberg Bay is home to 3,500 birds. They are Africa’s largest free-flight bird sanctuary. Forest birds, such as the Knysna Turaco “Loerie”, are on the decline due to habitat destruction caused by deforestation. The Zeitz Foundation in Kenya is a non-profit tree conservation organisation. In 2020, they planted 100,000 Acacia trees in the shape of a rhino, combining art and nature, both of which are close to Romario.
Their reforestation program aims to plant 1 million Acacia trees over the next 10 years. Trees like Acacia Karroo provide food for monkeys, giraffes, black rhinos, impalas, nyalas and kudus. The roots contain nitrogen bacteria that help with soil fertility and prevent soil erosion. Trees are vital for the survival of humans and biodiversity. They also help reduce carbon emissions in the air and reduce climate change.
If you would like to support Romario for his birthday, you can do so via Backabuddy here.