Disney has launched two programs that will benefit underprivileged South African children and conserve Africa's remaining lion populations.
After the glamorous South African premiere of The Lion King took place in Johannesburg a few days ago, the film hit theaters the following day and has since raked in an impressive R24.5 million. While the success of the Disney film has been colossal, it's about much more than crunching the numbers for the production giant.
At the South African premiere of The Lion King which took place on July 18th—International Mandela Day—Disney Africa announced that in collaboration with the Youthstart Foundation, a division of youth development organisation Primestars, it was launching an initiative that would send 10 000 high school learners from underprivileged communities to watch the screening of the film over four weekends in August. The initiative, which will also partner with the Endangered Wildlife Trust, is meant to spread awareness among the students with regards to the dire plight of lion populations in Africa. Additionally, it also hopes to see the students making their own pledges towards helping conservation efforts in whatever small way they can.
The initiative was inspired by the efforts made by South African radio station 947 in raising over R1 million in donations for 800 underprivileged South African children to go and watch the 2018 box office sensation, Black Panther.
Speaking about the initiative, Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager for the Walt Disney Company Africa, said that, "Our hope is that this initiative will be one step towards inspiring and equipping a new generation of conservationists."
Last month, Disney launched their "Protect the Pride" global campaign which seeks to protect the remaining lion populations and their habitats. Since the original version of The Lion King was released 25 years ago, almost half of the lion populations in Africa have disappeared. Disney has already donated USD 1.5 million to the Wildlife Conservation Network's Lion Recovery Fund and hopes that The Lion King fans will come together in the same spirit and raise double that amount in further donations.
It's a responsibility they've taken on that let's face it, they didn't have to and yet, they have. So let's all do our small bit to chip in and keep the circle of life going.
For more information on how you can make your own pledge towards the "Protect the Pride" campaign, click here.