let’s fall in love with the ocean

When it comes to inspiring our future leaders to deeply care for Mother nature and particularly ocean conservation, firstly they need to have a connection and love for the ocean and all its creatures. Children from Masiphumelele arguably do not have a relationship with the ocean, it is foreign to them. Therefore, how can we expect them to be passionate about the cause? Our aim for this outing to the Two Oceans Aquarium was to get them to FALL IN LOVE with the ocean and its rich biodiversity. We dove into the colourful world of penguins, sharks, stingrays, unique and pequliar sea creatures small and big. It was absolute magic for the kids, their faces lit up at the fascinating colours, sights and sounds. Our guide did a brilliant job at shining a light on the harsh reality that humans are destroying and polluting the ocean leaving many species in need of protection but also explaining simple things everyone can incorporate into their daily lives to be part of the solution. The role of the ocean in providing the oxygen we breathe is paramount and it is important that the children fully understand that.

a new mindset

The link between throwing a plastic bottle on the pavement in Masiphumelele township to landing in the ocean had never been clearly made before to some of the kids. After the outing it was beautiful to see how seriously they took littering and educating their community about it. At soccer practice the next week I saw a child pick up a plastic bag and hand it back to the man who threw it on the floor. In general, we could see a difference in how they cleaned up after themselves and wanted to be in a space that is enjoyable. Even small things such as how they pile their bags when arriving at Fishhook Football Club was done with more care compared to before when they left all their chip packets and biscuit wrappers lying around that we hand out. The impact this outing had on the children inspired us as an organization to keep up the hard work. At first, I would resort to anger when seeing them litter, but I’ve come to realize that it is not their fault. It is an education problem and lack of mentorship, as littering is not something they are taught to think about when basic human rights such as putting food on the table, itself, is a struggle. And I can understand that. Our next beach cleanup was a totally different experience compared to the first one. You could see they wanted to put in the effort. 

protecting our youth

On another note, something happened on this outing that had a profound impact on me as the founder of Bartosch Foundation. While most children would typically be focused on the cool fish, Melo who just turned 10 years old seemed more interested in the glass and how it is manufactured to hold so much water but more importantly asked me if it would break if someone shot at it with a gun. At such a young age, his frame of reference for the strength of the glass was a gun. It put things into perspective regarding how we need to do a better job at protecting our youth from trauma and violence. 

say no to plastic

I loved seeing them ask questions about how penguins can swim so fast, how sharks give birth and how whales mate. There is so much to learn. Our guide was very informative! A big thank you to the Two Oceans Aquarium for welcoming us with open arms. They fell in love with the ocean and all its mystery and power. 

Written by Petya Bartosch

Thank you for reading our blog. If you’d like to know more about our initiatives, feel free to Contact Us. Consider supporting our efforts by making a donation here to help us sustain the meaningful work we’re passionate about!

Share This Post!

Follow Our Journey! Sign up for our newsletter

The power to change the lives of South Africa’s youth for the better is in our hands