White Shark Project, founded in 1989, is renowned for its dedication to the conservation of our oceans. Projects as a company also feel that it is important to support our local communities. So 11 years ago we came up with a community based project that supports the community whilst helping the environment – White Shark Projects Recycle Swop Shop.

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to people in other parts of Africa who have taken inspiration from our recycling initiative. But first we will start where it all began…

In 2008, White Shark Projects Swop Shop was set up in Masakhane, Gansbaai. The Swop Shop trades every Tuesday afternoon and caters for the children in the surrounding Masakhane community. The children collect recyclable litter from the streets of their neighbourhood and bring it to the Swop Shop where they can trade it for points. They can then “spend” the points they have earned on goodies such as clothes, stationary, toys and even hair accessories. After the children have chosen their goodies they are then given a tasty mug of hot soup to enjoy which is made by the wonderful ladies in our kitchen.

Since 2008, the Swop Shop has been organised by an inspirational lady we fondly know as Tannie Nellie (‘Tannie’ being an affectionate title of respect in Afrikaans). Nellie is there every Tuesday to greet the children, swop their recyclable litter for points and help them choose their goodies.

Nellie has also kept a log of the numbers of children that have visited and astonishingly 47,501 children visited the Swop Shop between 2008 – 2018. That’s an average of 4,318 children per year.

Even today Swop Shop is still a success with over 1500 children visiting already this year. It is truly a wonderful way of giving children in the community a sense of pride for their neighbourhood whilst also caring for the environment.

White Shark Projects volunteers also get involved with Swop Shop and help the children pick out goodies to spend their points on. We always ask our volunteers to leave a comment on their experience of Swop Shop. One of our most recent volunteers, Anthony Beresford from Ashbourne, UK, left us the most wonderful comment:

“First time visit to Swop Shop, it was very humbling, very worthwhile project, well run and the children were lovely. I enjoyed helping but wish I could have done more and stayed longer. I took a few photos of the project and will thread the good work when back. Keep up this excellent project!”

Not only does this project provide much needed augmented support for the community, it reduces the litter polluting our streets and gives the children a sense of caring for the environment at an early age.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we will be introducing you to the people who have taken inspiration and started Swop Shops in other parts of Africa…

For updates on White Shark Projects Recycle Swop Shop follow us on our social media pages:

Written by Georgina Vermeulen
Marine Biologist at White Shark Projects

Published 1st July 2019