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Recycle Swop Shop Community Enviro Initiative for Kids

White Shark Projects, an adventure tourism company based in Masakhane, Gansbaai in Western Cape, South Africa began in 1989 and have been offering white shark diving and viewing tours for years. Since then, they have continued to grow as a company into environmental projects and initiatives like white shark conservation. Read about their latest “Recycle Swop Shop” launched in December 2007.

The “Recycle Swop Shop”

KidsThe latest in White Shark Projects’ has been community based environmental initiative that also helps kids in the community to work and earn points towards every day items including clothing, toys and school supplies.

The Recycle Swop Shop is an empowerment initiative for children in Gansbaai, and its aim is two-fold:

1) To clean up the community and teach environmental awareness
2) Help provide basic needs of children

Gathering on Tuesday afternoons, children bring bags of tins, bottles, plastics and other recyclable rubbish from the streets to the Swop Shop in Masakhane. The shop opens at 14h00 and long before opening, children are already gathering in lines with their rubbish in bags and even on wheelbarrows! In return for these recyclables, the kids receive a number of points in relation to how many bags they brought.

Shop manager Tobega Wiwashe boasts: “Last month we collected 1 500 kg of recyclables! We’re really excited about the recycling of these resources and, at the same time, seeing litter in the village being cleaned up.”

“Swopping” in for the goods

Kids Now the fun begins! You can see the smiles on their little faces while they are waiting to trade in their points for items in the Swop Shop. For example: one bag of tins will get you a bar of soap, two might get you a roll of toilet paper or a pencil, four a second hand t-shirt and so on. The more valuable the items, the higher the price, just like a real store.

Many of the children already have a mind what they hope to “swap” for. One little girl came into the shop and immediately went to an Ice-Snow Doll apparently been eye-ing that item for quite some time. One boy not wanting any other items had opted for pants and a shirt.

This initiative is an eye-opener that gives children the responsibility of taking charge in cleaning up their community and at the same time, promoting recycling habits and goal achievement. It is also an initiative that bridges the gap between different cultures because of the goal to promote environmentally friendly initiatives for the future.

White Shark Projects is a responsible tourism operation that is not only working in harmony with nature but is also taking a giant leap in empowering and sharing with their local communities.

For more information on White Shark Projects, please visit: http://whitesharkprojects.co.za

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