Riley Devan, a 13-year-old boy in Grade 8 at Selborne Primary School in East London, has already helped to raise more than R25,000 for organisations that work to save his favourite animals: the critically endangered rhino.
Riley’s Rally for Rhinos started in 2014 after a Rooting For Rhino campaign at his school. “My Dad and I both chose the rhino as our favourite animal. We wondered how sad it would be if they were extinct by the time I became a dad. I wanted to do something to help save the rhinos, so I started thinking about ways to raise money for the organisations who work to save these wonderful creatures.”
Riley, with lots of help from mom, Meg, began selling cookies and popcorn at school to raise funds. Soon Riley had a great idea: creating a dice-type game called Rolling Rhinos. The game is played by rolling two little resin rhinos and scoring points depending on how the rhinos land, with the first player to score 100 points winning the game.
Every part of the game is made locally in East London, creating local economic benefits too. The polyester resin rhinos are made in a local family-owned décor factory. The game inserts and labels are printed locally and even the bags are sewed by a local NPO using Shweshwe fabric, synonymous with the Eastern Cape.
The games are sold for R100 each at markets and via the Rolling Rhinos Facebook Page, and for each game sold, R25 goes to rhino protection efforts.
To date, Riley’s Rally For Rhinos has donated R8,300 to the Chipembere Rhino Foundation and R6,000 to The Kariega Foundation from the game proceeds and other fundraising. A further R11,000 was raised from a Global March for Elephants and Rhinos (GMFER) event hosted in 2014 and was donated to the Kariega Foundation, in honour of the courageous Thandi, who has been inspirational in Riley’s eagerness to make a difference in the fight against poaching.
Riley recently received the Lord Selborne Award for Environmentalism from Selborne Primary School, in recognition of his efforts. He hopes that a campaign to promote Rolling Rhinos to primary schools in our region will continue to raise the much needed awareness and funds.
“Riley is so grateful and feels very fortunate to have had the honour of meeting amazing people like renowned veterinarian, Dr William Fowlds, when he was invited to assist in a recent rhino collaring, facilitated by Dr Fowlds together with Chipembere Rhino Foundation. It is a day he’ll never forget and has reaffirmed his passion for playing his part in the war against rhino poaching”, says Meg.
“We chose Chipembere – an Eastern Cape-based Rhino Foundation – as our beneficiary, not only because they are local, but also because of the great work they do,” says Riley. “If we all work together, we can win the war against poaching! All of the small things that each of us do make a big difference.”
For more information and to get your Rolling Rhinos game, visit www.facebook.com/rollingrhinos