The Big Hearts Foundation is an organization which benefits society through nine different charitable initiatives run by volunteers in Sri Lanka. The collaboration between A Better Ocean and the Big Hearts Foundation was established in order to remove as much plastic as possible from the beautiful landscapes and beaches in Sri Lanka and to develop educational and informative materials for young people. er en samfundsnyttig organisation, som består af 9 forskellige velgørende initiativer, drevet af frivillige på Sri Lanka. Samarbejdet mellem A Better Ocean og Big Hearts Foundation er etableret med henblik på, at få fjernet så meget plastik som muligt, fra de smukke landskaber og strande på Sri Lanka samt at udarbejde uddannelsesmateriale til uddannelse og oplysning af den yngre befolkning.

To Rohana Amarakoon, founder of the Big Hearts Foundation and social developer, solving the issue is essential. He lives in Sri Lanka, which sadly is the country with the fifth highest level of plastic pollution in the world. Sri Lanka pollutes with more than 5,000,000 kilos of plastic every day, which is Rohana’s great motivation for making a difference.

The collaboration between The Big Hearts Foundation and A Better Ocean would not be possible without the help of the Sri Lankan people. Large groups of people have a lot of knowledge of the subject and are already making a huge contribution as volunteers. In 2019, a study on statista.com (https://www.statista.com/statistics/283354/top-10-countries-volunteering-time-for-charities/) showed that 46 % percent of the Sri Lankan population participates in volunteer work to some extent. This makes Sri Lanka the country in the world with the highest rate of volunteers per citizens.https://www.statista.com/statistics/283354/top-10-countries-volunteering-time-for-charities/), at hele 46% af Sri Lankas befolkning, laver frivilligt arbejde i større eller mindre grad. Dermed er Sri Lanka det land i verden med den højeste procentdel af frivillige pr. indbygger.

Of the nine initiatives that make up the Big Hearts Foundation, our collaboration will focus on these two initiatives:

Green map Sri Lanka:

Green Map Sri Lanka is The Big Hearts Foundation’s initiative focused on protecting Sri Lanka’s nature and educating its citizens about the importance of this protection. Sri Lanka has around 1,350 kms coastline, and much of this is unfortunately polluted with polyethylene, plastic waste and other non-biodegradable waste. Green Map Sri Lanka focuses on organizing clean-up events, and through the collaboration with A Better Ocean, these events can be held on a larger scale, and we can target and intensify the joint effort.

Garbage free Lanka:

Garbage Free Lanka is one of the main forces behind the organization of National Garbage Clean Up Day in Sri Lanka. In 2019, the event was met with massive support, from large numbers of people. On this one day, with the help of over 23,000 volunteers, in over 670 different locations, more than 140 tons of waste was collected in Sri Lanka.

At A Better Ocean, we are incredible proud of and excited about the fact that the Big Hearts Foundation, through this collaboration, will receive the funds to collect even more plasticwaste in the future, beginning in February 2020 where we held our first common clean-up event.

Coastal Ghost is a certified non-profit organization founded and run by Stefan Graunke and his mother, Valeria. The organization began with a goal to plan and carry out South Africa’s longest “Beach Cleanup”. The project took place in the beginning of 2019. When Stefan, his three Border Collies and his mother Valeria arrived home after 52 days on the road, they had cleaned 97 beaches, and the project had gained so much attention that many volunteers were so inspired that they offered to help, and several institutions and schools wanted to contribute to the movement. The organization is based in the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg. From here, the daily work to clean rivers and streams that lead to the Indian Ocean takes place. Additionally, clean-up expeditions to the northern and eastern coast are regularly organized. Over the last 14 months, Coastal Ghost has successfully held more than 120 clean-up events, and with the support they receive form A Better Ocean, they will be able to carry on this work on a larger scale. er en certificeret nonprofit organisation stiftet og drevet af ildsjælden Stefan Graunke, i samarbejde med hans mor, Valeria. Organisationen startede egentlig som et mål om at planlægge og udføre Sydafrikas længste ”Beach Cleanup”. Projektet fandt sted i begyndelsen af 2019. Efter Stefan, hans tre Border Collies og hans mor Valeria kom tilbage efter 52 dage på farten, havde de rengjort hele 97 strande, og projektet havde fået en sådan opmærksomhed, at mange frivillige nu var så inspirerede, at de tilbød en hjælpende hånd, ligesom mange institutioner og uddannelsessteder ønskede at bidrage til bevægelsen.

The organization is based in the largest city in South Africa, Johannesburg. From here, the daily work to clean rivers and streams that lead to the Indian Ocean takes place. Additionally, clean-up expeditions to the northern and eastern coast are regularly organized. Over the last 14 months, Coastal Ghost has successfully held more than 120 clean-up events, and with the support they receive form A Better Ocean, they will be able to carry on this work on a larger scale.

The work described above is defined by a meaningful goal. Stefan wants to increase awareness of the issues related to pollution of streams and waterways. He wants to inform the South African people about the state of their water territories and how this state gets worse every day as pollution and discarding of waste becomes a more widespread problem in the country.

Stefan has a great love of the ocean and its wonders. This is what drives his efforts to make a difference for South Africa’s water environments. He describes this love in these words:

“There is an energy about the ocean. Its tranquil strength draws the souls towards it. We will never understand what lies underneath her crystal waters or what makes her heart beat the rhythm of the waves. She supports life on this earth yet we strive to drown her in our greed. Why I love the ocean more than the land, is because there is no creature as cruel as humans who can survive in her deep blue. Being part of her is to be part of peace and freedom from hate.”

A Better Ocean is happy and proud of the collaboration with Coastal Ghost.

The Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation (CCEF) is a non-profit organization (NGO) in the Philippines. The organization works with a number of sustainable initiatives, often through local authorities and in collaboration with other organizations with similar goals. The CCEF is focused on clean-up and conservation of the Philippine coasts and coral reefs, which surround many of the country’s 7,107 islands. (CCEF) er en nonprofitorganisation (NGO) på Filippinerne. Organisationen arbejder med en række bæredygtige initiativer, oftest gennem lokale myndigheder og i samarbejde med andre organisationer med tilsvarende hovedmål. CCEF arbejder for rengøring og konservering af de filippinske kyster og koralrev, som omkranser mange af landets 7107 øer.  

CCEF’s vision: The management and sustainable use of Philippine coastal resources through active leadership and participation of coastal communities and stakeholders.En vision vi hos A Better Ocean hjertens gerne vil støtte op om.

CCEF works on initiatives and projects with 51 local authorities around The Philippines

The collaboration between A Better Ocean and CCEF is based on our common interest in saving specifically the marine environment from harmful plastic and other human-made non-biodegradable materials, which are sadly a too common occurrence in our nature.

The CCEF prioritize and concentrates a lot of its work on the coral reefs surrounding the Philippines. Auburn Patrick Samson, executive director of CCEF, states that the food chain in the reefs is very much threatened by human-made pollution in nature and especially in the ocean. Auburn and CCEF fear that we will be missing a large part of our access to food in only a few generations. The coral reefs also contribute positively to the country’s biodiversity and to generating jobs through tourism. 

Today, more than three billion people are directly dependent on food that originates in the ocean. Independent studies made by the UN and Save the Sea show that the number of people dependent on the ocean will increase to nearly seven billions (!) in just 20 years, assuming that we continue as we do now.

You can visit CCEF’s website to learn more about their many exciting projects. A Better Ocean is very happy to be collaborating with this organization.

Nature kids of Siargao (N.K.o.S) is a nonprofit organization on the Island Siargao, in the Philippines. N.K.o.S’ work consists of education, primarily of local school children. The children are taught about sustainability and how waste should be handled properly, as well as what can be done with it. In addition, cleanups are held regularly on the Island.

Nature Kids of Siargao has next to their education campaign, a production of various products such as pillows, beanbags and plant pots. These products are made from the plastic that is donated or collected from cleanups. N.K.o.S also receives plastic and styrofoam as payment for their products, which is a remarkable way to recycle plastic and other materials, especially when there are no recycling facilities on the Island. This process will in the end, create a sustainable cycle of products on Siargao.

For Nature Kids of Siargao, educating is a big part of the project as stated:

“All our on-going projects is pointless if education and understanding is not integrated in our work towards a healthier and

greener island.” – N.K.o.S.

  • The team behind A Better Ocean are happy about our collaboration, as we consider education of the problem, to be an important part of the solution against plastic pollution.

In addition to the above, the N.K.o.S. strengthens the local community by creating new work opportunities. This is especially important for Siargao, in these complicated times, as the population is affected by covid-19.

That is why A Better Ocean is proud of our collaboration with an organization, that will have funding to reduce waste flowing in the nature of Siargao with the help of more Cleanups, but also by educating future generations, sustainability and the importance of looking after our oceans.

Here is a pacture of the team behind Nature Kids of Siargao:

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