Apr 5, 2013
EXPLORE has been operating safaris for the past 20 years throughout Africa, and many EXPLORE clients have fallen in love with the continent and its people. Travelers are increasingly interested in making a difference in the places they visit, and EXPLORE prides itself on creating authentic, non-commercial exchanges with local people to facilitate this interest.
One recent example of the power of travel is the initiative of EXPLORE client/entrepreneur Steve King, who visited the village of Chiawa in southern Zambia. That community is a mere two hours from the Zambian home of EXPLORE founder Cherri Briggs and her husband, Richard Wilson, and an important area for Direct Impact Africa, the organization she and Richard created to foster sustainable economic development and food security, thus creating community support for conservating wildlife. What Steve King saw, from his unique point of view, was a rural community whose children desperately needed a space to play. He was inspired to take action, and in 2012 he returned to Zambia to begin working with the people of Chiawa to build the village’s first playground.
He was well qualified: In 1969 the Kings founded King Associates, a site-planning firm that would grow into Landscape Structures, which builds structures for children based on the concept of continuous play—an outdoor environment where linked play components provide a variety of challenges on the same structure. This concept is designed to help children develop motor skills, social skills, planning skills, teamwork and even conflict resolution.
While the playground was a fun project for DIA, there was an unforeseen effect: The women of Chiawa use it as a meeting place and it has become the epicenter of activities for the entire community. EXPLORE is proud to have been part of it.