One small spend to save African Penguins

One small spend to save African Penguins

Handmade beaded bracelets are helping to save the endangered African penguin. The initiative is a partnership between non-profit social enterprise the Relate Trust, the Southern African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB) and retailer Woolworths.

Available at selected Woolworths stores nationally, proceeds from the sale of the bracelets will contribute to SANCCOB’s African Penguin Chick Bolstering Project, which focuses on rescuing and rehabilitating weak and abandoned African penguin chicks, including hand-rearing chicks from eggs. The project was started in 2006 and has since successfully released nearly 5 000 rehabilitated and hand-reared African penguin chicks back into the wild to bolster the wild population of this endangered species. This project is globally recognised as one of the most important solutions in the race to conserve the African penguin population.

SANCCOB has become synonymous with saving the endangered African penguin and treats more than 1500 African penguins every year and an additional 1000 other seabirds of various species. Since its establishment in 1968, the organisation has treated nearly 100 000 African penguins and other seabirds.

SANCCOB’s Executive Director, Dr Stephen van der Spuy, says, “We are thrilled and thankful to be the beneficiary of funds raised from consumer support to help us maintain our critical seabird rehabilitation services. African penguins are key indicators of the health of our oceans and the decrease in numbers of this endangered species is a clear indicator that marine wildlife is not coping.” Van der Spuy adds, “Partnered initiatives such as this, with the Relate Trust and Woolworths, help bring our cause to light.”

To date, Relate has sold more than 2.6 million bracelets for causes like SANCCOB – resulting in close to R50 million raised for charitable causes, while creating hundreds of jobs for the underprivileged. The key to this success lies in Relate’s unique business model, operating as a for-profit business instead of relying on handouts.

The organisation supports close to 100 causes, with bracelets sold in South Africa, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Relate’s core philosophy is that a lot of small purchases add up to make a big difference. All bracelets made by the trust contribute not just to the cause they are sold for, but also assist the senior citizens who thread the beads, the young Relate staff who are upskilled in their chosen future careers, and various other enterprise development initiatives.

“With the help of major retailers such as Woolworths, we are able to reach consumers who enable us to make a significant difference for organisations like SANCCOB,” says Relate’s CEO Neil Robinson.

“It is hugely important to protect and preserve all life on this planet, and we aim to do so while creating employment and learning opportunities in the process.”

The Relate Trust is a proudly 100% not-for-profit social enterprise which predominantly sells handmade beaded bracelets to raise money for charities globally, while creating jobs for the underprivileged.

For more information on The Relate Trust, please visit