Starting out over 2 decades ago, Dreamcatcher struggled to find tourism and holistic community tourism development models that could work sustainably and effectively in Township Communities in South Africa. Our needs were to use a development model, which would access the benefits of tourism and turn the impoverished individuals and disadvantaged communities into enactors and job creators where they lived, as opposed to consumers and labourers only. Our approach was that the chance to create their own jobs in the lucrative industry could not come soon enough to those living in poverty and casting our search around South Africa. It was time to change the circumstances of locals to be involved in community-based tourism. However at that time in history, this was was not on the local economic development agenda or timetable for tourism growth development in South Africa.
This lead embark on a program of working “outside the box” at Dreamcatcher, turning to research and development of our own models. We dreamed and envisioned a time when discerning travelers would want to meet and interact with all the people and not only see nature and animals in South Africa. A time when the world would learn that it is ultimately the people who must make a community and a country work. Abandoning mainstream and orthodox development programmes, which we found were not working sustainably and inclusively in terms of local community circumstances, we developed our own development skills and models, which addressed the barriers to sustainable community development and environmental sustainability, which we called:
CHANGING LANES TO SUSTAINABILITY:
BUILDING PEOPLE CAPACITY TO END POVERTY
Our model actively pursues a new way to poverty relief to merging it with all of what South Africa is. We offer a solution focused and holistic outcomes based approach, utilisng the survival strengths, diverse lifestyles and talents of township locals as the unique product to access the wealth potential of tourism whilst consciously engaging actions which sustains the environment with the people not inspite of the people in it. Our development programmes include work with women,(predominantly but not exclusively) children, youth, projects that impact on the environment, educational, health and thus the social welfare of the tourism host community.
We are honoured and proud to share our work in this field, whilst simultaneously welcome engaging and involvement to work in partnership with an increasing number of Universities, Colleges, Schools and Development Institutions world wide, who are turning their attestation to considering best practice models to sustainable socio-economic and environmental development with communities which bring lasting and measurable benefits. We have an active programme of sharing of knowledge and conducting studies on the impact and outcomes of “alternative way” n comparative studies.