In the impoverished community of Ocean View lies a team of dedicated and inspiring people... A group of disabled men and woman from the Ocean View Association for Persons with Disabilities (OVAPD) proves that anybody with commitment can make a real difference to conservation, while learning new skills and bringing in a small income for the OVAPD centre.

BirdLife South Africa has been lucky to work alongside the OVAPD for over 4 years, in a project that sees the team constructing bird scaring lines (streamer lines to scare seabirds away from the danger area on fishing vessels). These lines have successfully reduced accidental albatross mortalities in our local fisheries by a staggering 90%.

For projects like these to succeed, BirdLife South Africa relies on the support and generosity of individuals and businesses to provide much-needed sponsorship. One such sponsor is Total South Africa, who has generously provided two rounds of funding (since 2009) to the Seabird Division for the Bird scaring line project.  

Nyameka Makona, the Sustainable Development Manager of Total South Africa, has made it her personal goal to visit every project she supports. She believes that strengthening relationships and meeting the people who actually do the work is an important part of sponsoring any project.

Recently I spent a fun-filled day with Debbie Gonsalves (OVAPD centre manager) showing Nyameka around the centre, where the heart of the project lies. While at the centre Nyameka was able to see the bird scaring lines first hand, meet the team behind the scenes who construct these lines, hear about how successful this project has been and also see some of the other projects happening at the OVAPD (e.g. recycling of clothes hangers from department stores).

A big thank you for the support Total South Africa and we hope to have Nyameka visit the project again in the future (being from Johannesburg, I don’t think she will hesitate to come again!) 

Below: Nyameka Makona, Sustainable Development Manager of Total South Africa, shows her support for seabird conservation.