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About WAKA

WAKA books for kids on global animal conservation projects

WAKA stands for World Association of Kids and Animals. It’s our way to share positive, inspiring stories about kids around the world active in wild animal rescue and conservation projects.

We share stories of young people who truly care about animals and are finding ways to help protect endangered wild animals whose habitats are shrinking and whose precious lives are threatened in too many ways.

These stories shine a light on young people who are kind, caring, and active in a variety of conservation projects … in many cases on a small-scale, grassroots level.

These stories are seeds. Stories are great tools to inspire and draw more kids into a connection with wild animals.

WAKA is a solution. The problem is losing not caring about the connections of people, wild animals, habitat, communities. WAKA helps kids see and build ways of caring, kindness, concern, and meaningful action. Kids can have a real impact on local environment.

And stories are tools to inspire, empathize, see connections.

WAKA is kid-level stories, planet-wide importance..

Let’s face it: kids are the next generations of caretakers of our planet. Let’s inspire them with stories that show the potential of kid power.

We hope the stories on this site will inspire you to think about ways kids can do something to help protect wild creatures who might need a helping hand.

How Can You Help?

How can you help? Share links to this site. Make a small donation. Read and support the programs and publications we profile.

Purchase the books in our own WAKA series for your own family. Or take our flyers into your local library, school or public, and recommend they acquire any or all of our titles.

There are four books in the series so far: about a girl in the Peruvian rainforest that helps save baby monkeys, about kids in Costa Rica saving sea turtles, about a boy in Thailand who lives at an elephant refuge, and about a girl in Coast Rica who is part of a kids’ organization called Kids Saving The Rainforest. The next two books in the works are set in Africa, in the region of the Serengeti.

WAKA Principles

For us, WAKA is World Association of Kids and Animals. We have also heard that waka waka is slang for “walk while working” but is translated as “Do it” (as in perform a task). Waka in New Zealand is a traditional Maori canoe. In Japanese, waka in poetry means something that is simple, elegant, and moving.

To us, WAKA means kids doing small things that have a big impact in helping wild animals survive and thrive – an essential part of saving our planet Earth in all its interconnected diversity.

Below are the core principles of our WAKA program: the WAKA Way.

The WAKA Way:

  • Think globally. Act locally. If each of us does something, we can make a difference in the world. The future of the world needs all to participate.
  • Small actions add up. Our daily actions have an impact. Pick a small thing to do, and start there. Small actions can address large problems.
  • Let’s share and celebrate stories of kids making a difference in wild animal protection projects around the globe. Knowledge is power; stories are meant to be shared. And celebrating good deed uplifts everyone!
  • Understand what it means to be a Global Citizen. On our planet Earth, we are all connected. Being a Global Citizen means acting in a way that shows you understand that that you do has impact on others, and what others around the world do has impact on you.
  • Believe in kid power! Kids can make a real difference, their actions have an impact. The future of the world needs more young conservationists to learn, act, and connect with each other. Let’s support and honor them!
  • Believe in the power of stories. WAKA stories, sharing what an single young person or a small groups of kids does to make a positive impact, are not isolated tales. They are the tip of an iceberg; they stand for the good actions of many others. Stories create a shape, an archetype, a portable set of ideas in our heads, to enable us to more quickly recognize and honor good works elsewhere when we discover them.
  • Books are windows and mirrors. They are windows that help us see into the lives of others elsewhere on the globe. They are also mirrors that help us see ourselves more clearly; to illuminate what we have in common with others who share our beliefs and passions. Kids around the world share much: patterns of being at home, having a family, going to school, helping adults with chores, playing, and such.
  • Where you live is special, too, and has environmental issues that need action now. Kids in a particular place, like Costa Rica or Thailand, might do things that seem very unique and special: saving sea turtle eggs to hatch in safety, or caring for an orphaned elephant. But we each can do similar things in our own places. Look more closely around you. There are wild animals in need, and endangered habitats in dire straits. And there are programs looking for your help, or things you can do on your own.

For more, click here for a message from the founder of WAKA, Cathleen Burnham, about the origins of this idea.