Romario Valentine (9), a pint-size planet warrior and artist from Umhlanga, Durban, has dedicated the last 4 years of his young life to protecting our planet.
Fully focused on his passions, namely bird and marine conservation, climate change, and deforestation, Romario has remarkably completed 180 beach clean-ups to date, planted over 455 trees across 22 continents, and last year he raised over R31 000 on BackaBuddy to support the Umgeni River Bird Park in lieu of birthday gifts.
A Rising star
Despite only being in grade 4, Romario has become a rising star in the conservation space.
He recently made history by becoming the youngest Ambassador for Ocean Sole, a Kenyan company that recycles flip flops that wash ashore by transforming them into vibrant colourful marine and wildlife sculptures with the help of local artists.
On the 17th of June 2021, He was selected by the UNCCD “United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification” to highlight climate change and land degradation to represent them at their Desertification and Drought Day.
He has also been featured by The United Nations, 50/50, Extreme E’s Virtual Series Launch, National Geographic Kids, Global Citizen, and appeared as one of 35 activists in “What a Wonderful World” a book by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and Lydia Hill, to be released in the United Kingdom, August 2021.
Crowdfunding on BackaBuddy
Romario celebrated his 10th birthday on 26th July 2021, staying true to his selfless nature, he once again decided to forgo birthday gifts to instead raise R20 000 on Backabuddy, to support two charities close to his heart, Birds of Eden and Zeitz Foundation.
As Romario blew out the candles on his birthday cake this year, he only had one wish, which was “to restore habitats for biodiversity and to leave a legacy for other children and generations to come”
Since the launch of his crowdfunding campaign, Romario raised over R 24 000 exceeding his fundraising target, with contributions from 71 donors both locally and abroad.
Funds raised allowed him to sponsor 350 Acacia trees to be planted in the rainy season this October/November in the Segera, Kenya with Zeitz Foundation.
His trees included a variety of baobab, coral, blackbird berry, acacia, mango, mulberry, papaya, and pepper bark which were planted last week by women from the community.
The additional funds were donated to Birds of Eden, Plettenberg Bay in Western Cape to help with the completion of 30 × 30m aviary for abandoned African Grey parrots to have a safe home and live freely.
“Trees are life, they are important for our survival and help slow down global warming. When we take care of nature, we take care of ourselves. I am grateful for all the support from my parents and everyone around the world. I believe it is my mission to protect biodiversity. ” – Romario Valentine
Read more about Romario’s campaign on BackaBuddy
“As parents, we are honoured to have a humble, visionary son. Romario has been passionate about the environment and wildlife for several years. We will continue to support him the best way we can on his journey. We believe he is a Champion of the Earth. We are grateful to everyone who has supported his campaigns and his environmental journey to date. – says, Romario’s mum, Delsha Moodley
Follow Romario on Twitter: https://twitter.com/artistromario
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