Lucille Sive is making a difference by working collaboratively with community and conservation initiatives in Africa
Toronto-based Lucille Sive is the epitome of a successful businesswoman who has worked tirelessly as a team player and risen to the top of the corporate ladder.
Known as ‘The African Queen,’ and ‘one of the most powerful women in travel’ and last year Lucille was appointed CEO of The Travel Corporation’s Africa division.
A meaningful success story also lies in how, throughout her 32 year career, Lucille has continued to help and work alongside those in need .
By dedicating her time to causes that she’s passionate about, Lucille has been a positive force in ensuring that the environment that tourists visit are being protected and the unique African communities they see are being maintained.
I think the biggest success is the fact that we’ve been able to partner with many different projects
Here, Toronto-based Lucille tells Nativa World about her work and why collaborating with non-profits such as the Amy Foundation has had a big impact….
Lucille, what compels you to help others?
I’ve always felt the need to give back somehow. I’m happy that through African Travel, Inc., we’re able to support various community and conservation initiatives in Africa. It all started about 10 years ago when we began to support the Amy Foundation.
Which philanthropic endeavors are you involved in?
I don’t consider myself a philanthropist, but I do feel it’s important to give back and give a hand up, not a hand out. In partnership with the TreadRight Foundation, African Travel Cares helps preserve, protect and build a better future for the communities and the environments we visit. Currently, we’re also involved with the Amy Foundation, Save the Rhino, Me to We and Shamwari Game Reserve.
We’ve teamed up with these specific partners because they all support the core focus of the TreadRight Foundation, and that is ensuring that the environment and communities we visit remain vibrant for generations to come.
I’ve been so fortunate in my life that I think it’s very important to give back.
How has collaborating with others helped create change?
I think the biggest success is the fact that we’ve been able to partner with many different projects ranging from immersive volunteer opportunities, rhino conservation and local community development. I’ve been so fortunate in my life that I think it’s very important to give back. Especially in Africa, there are so many less fortunate people. I think people have this misconception that they may not have enough to help, but in reality, every little bit does help. If everyone thought they couldn’t do anything, nothing would get done.
Which moment on your journey has been particularly inspiring for you?
A couple of years ago, my husband Robert and I went to celebrate Christmas at The Henna pre-school at Lion Sands River Lodge. We got involved through my friend, Thembi who works there and it was one of the most amazing experiences we’ve ever been a part of. That year, we built new toilets for the kids, helped with water and also paid for an awning to be built after a tree that was used for shade fell down. At the children’s Christmas party, we hosted a lunch and gave away 60 dolls that my friend knitted and the responses from the children is something I’ll remember forever. Truthfully, I believe we get more out of these experiences than they do, but it also makes you realize how such small acts of kindness can impact someone so much.
How have you partnered with the Amy Foundation?
The Amy Foundation is a non-profit organization that offers programs to develop and empower youth living in the challenged and vulnerable communities within the Western Cape. Through African Travel, Inc. we work with the Amy Foundation by donating musical instruments and supplies to their after-school programs, and by giving guests the opportunity to tour and participate in activities with the children at the after-care centers around Cape Town.
However, I think the real story here is how the Amy Foundation was created. Amy Biehl was only 26 when she was killed after being caught in a protest in Gugulethu in 1993. The four young men who killed her were all sentenced to 18 years in prison, but later applied for amnesty. In an act that was shocking to many, Amy’s parents Linda and Peter Biehl, forgave the men and through their support and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the men were granted amnesty. Now, two of the four men work at the Amy Foundation to ensure a brighter future for thousands of children and to help keep them out of gangs and off the streets.
Not only is the foundation doing spectacular work with youth in Africa, but I think this story of selflessness, forgiveness and inspiration shows us what can be accomplished if we look at the bigger picture and see how our actions can really make a positive impact on others.
What does it take to build and lead a travel business?
I think it takes passion about the product, being very hands on, a bit of tenacity and also caring about your staff. I also think it’s all about 5-star service and always remembering that when making decisions.
When you travel on business, what do you miss when you’re away from home?
My husband and my cats.
Which travel essentials do you always bring with you on a business trip?
My iPad and Blackberry.
How can we get involved in the projects you’ve partnered with?
There are various ways guests of African Travel, Inc. can get involved. Through our partnership with Me to We, guests can add the Kenya Community Experience extension after their trip. They will spend 4-days in the northern Maasai Mara during an immersive volunteer experience and help to build a new school, learn about the local economy and interact with mamas in the community. In Tanzania, guests can dedicate a bit of their time by helping to build much-needed school furniture. In most areas, three to four children typically share one desk, so new furniture is always appreciated.
If guests who travel with African Travel, Inc. don’t have much time but would like to help rhino conservation, starting this year, when guests book Majestic South Africa, a $50 per couple donation will be made in their name(s) to go towards the building of a rhino boma at Shamwari Game Reserve. The rhino boma will be a safe haven to rehabilitate injured or orphaned rhino, until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild.
Photography courtesy of The Travel Corporation