Nasreen Monareng is a 28-year-old woman from the Calcutta Village just outside of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. Today, with our extended Londolozi community from around the world, we are celebrating the fact that Nasreen was the top 2020 Conservation Academy student at Good Work Foundation (GWF), Londolozi’s education non-profit partner.
Here’s what Nasreen has to say about being a woman in the conservation industry. Just a quick warning before you press play: You may just find yourself in a new career afterwards!
As part of Nasreen’s top student award, she had the opportunity to spend some time at EcoTraining’s Pridelands Camp where she put her guiding and tracking skills to practice. Nasreen also met members of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching unit, an all-women unit who protect rhinos via “boots on the ground” but also by being role models in their communities.
“Since childhood I’ve always wanted to see myself working in the bush,” says Nasreen. “It is where I get my peace and it’s something I love and enjoy doing. Being a guide is what I dream of everyday, which is why I gave my all in this course.”
In Nasreen’s own words, her mind was “mixed up” after she graduated from high school and opportunities were few. By chance she found herself on a GWF digital learning campus where she completed the entry-level Bridging Academy course before being accepted to the Conservation Academy. This year 308 students – mostly between the ages of 19 and 30 – are enrolled in GWF’s Bridging Academy course across five digital learning campuses in Mpumalanga. Over 70% of these students are women, all determined to improve their English, communication and IT skills so that they can unlock opportunities for personal and career development.
Nasreen’s dedication to improving her English has allowed her to hone in on her storytelling and bush interpretation skills, while her thoroughness in 2019 during her IT module allowed her to get ahead in 2020 when large parts of learning were forced online. What’s next for Nasreen? She is already talking about doing her Field Guide Association of South Africa (FGASA) Level 2 Guiding qualification and she cannot wait to become a professional guide.
Nasreen, we wish you every success on your journey. May you inspire more young people who love nature but are held back by the belief that conservation is a “man’s world.” Conservation is a world for all of us and now, more than ever, conservation needs young people, like you, who are willing to step forward with passion, curiosity and awe for the natural world.