Act Today for a Better Tomorrow: Onçafari’s Appeal
The Long Run is not a fundraising platform but during this challenging time, with the halt in tourism putting livelihoods and ecosystems at risk, we’re sharing our member fundraising campaigns that are most in need. Here we talk to conservation charity Onçafari about its Covid-19 appeal.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected Brazil?
Covid-19 has had a significant impact in Brazil, which unfortunately is now the epicentre of the disease. Due to the lack of infrastructure in the country, Covid-19 will still unfortunately severely impact the lives of many.
What are the consequences of this for your commitment to community and conservation?
Covid-19 is having a significant impact on our activities. As far as conservation is concerned, we still have half of our team working in the field with the monitoring of Jaguars and Maned Wolves. Still, with fewer eyes on the ground, due to the halt in ecotourism, poachers may take the opportunity to increase their illegal activities in more remote areas.
This pandemic has largely impacted our community as unfortunately, many of those that work within the tourism industry have lost their jobs. Fifty per cent of Onçafari’s annual income comes from ecotourism, and the complete stop in this activity has deeply impacted us. Despite all difficulties, we are fighting hard to keep everyone in our team on the payroll as well as trying to contribute with food, hygiene products, and medical supplies to the neighbouring communities where most of our employees’ families live.
What are your biggest fears?
Our biggest fear is the lack of governmental support in the neighbouring communities. We must gather enough funds to support them, so people don’t suffer. We have already made significant donations of food and supplies to hospitals, elderly homes and institutions for people with special needs in two of the closest towns from our main base in the Pantanal. Furthermore, we are worried about how long it will take for this pandemic to be over as we depend on ecotourism not only for funds but to achieve our conservation goals.
Can you give us examples of how the money raised to be spent?
All money raised will be used to keep all members on our team employed, as well as supporting neighbouring communities with food, medical and hygiene supplies.
We are proposing to not only keep all of our staff employed but also to help the following institutions in Miranda and in Aquidauana (State of Mato Grosso do Sul / Brazil). These are the two closest communities to our main base at Caiman Ecological Refuge.
Hospital Regional Renato Albuquerque Filho – Miranda
Hospital Regional Doutor Estacio Muniz – Aquidauana
Lar dos Idosos São João – Miranda
Asilo São Francisco – Aquidauana
Institutions for people with special needs:
APAE – Miranda
Associação Pestalozzi – Aquidauana
What guarantee would you give to people concerned about where their donations might go?
At Onçafari, we have not only a board of directors, formed with well-known people in business in Brazil but also a fiscal board of directors that overviews all our expenditures. We keep all donations and expenditure receipts on record and can demonstrate how the funds have been spent.
Here we speak to Onçafari’s Field Guide’s Adauto Souza Ferreira and Mario Nelson Cletto to find out how the situation has had an impact.
How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected your family and community?
“Due to the current pandemic, I have come back to Aquidauana, the community I am from, to take care of my wife and young child. I miss being with the team out in the field, but my wife needs my support in this difficult time.”— Adauto Souza Ferreira
“I’m happy to have the privilege to be out in the field while most people are confined to their homes. Conservation never stops, so it is important to keep our fieldwork during this crisis.” — Mario Nelson Cletto
What are your biggest fears?
“My biggest fear is that this virus spreads through my community. We do not have the necessary resources to deal with it.” — Adauto Souza Ferreira.
“My family and friends. I’m safe here in the bush, but worry about the people in my community.” — Mario Nelson Cletto
How is Onçafari supporting you during this time?
“Despite being home and unable to work during this pandemic, Onçafari is still keeping me on the payroll. I’m very thankful to them for keeping me on the payroll. I look forward to getting back the field soon”. — Adauto Souza Ferreira.
“I’m really thankful to Onçafari for helping the community where I’m from. I feel a bit less anxious during this pandemic, knowing that people are getting involved in helping my hometown.” — Mario Nelson Cletto
To support Onçafari’s Appeal, please go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/community-and-employee-fund
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