Turning trash into treasure
What is Stefanie up to in the Seychelles? Enjoying a relaxing holiday? Far from it – she’s busy picking up rubbish from the beaches and using it to make art. With support from local people, she is helping to preserve the beauty of this island paradise. And we’re more than happy to do our bit by providing professional equipment – this is what being “Equipped for Tomorrow” is all about.
Here you can find out more about mybeachproject
“Hi, I’m Stefanie Wichmann. I came to the Seychelles in 2019 to work for a local agency, looking after German tourists during their holidays on Praslin … and I ended up staying.
On my very first walk along the beach, I noticed the plastic bottles lying around, and that gave me the idea for my project – just a few days later, I set up my Instagram account mybeachproject. To begin with, I just took photos of the bags full of plastic waste that I had collected on the beach, but this didn’t seem interesting enough in the long term. At some point, certain bits of rubbish started giving me ideas for designs that I could create spontaneously by arranging them on the sand. And that became my thing. In the space of a year, I picked up 40,000 pieces of plastic waste, an amount that both surprised and shocked me.
The goal of my project is to find creative ways of getting people enthusiastic about protecting the environment. Everyone can do their bit – even if it feels like something really small, it can inspire others. All of these small actions add up to create big change.
The Seychelles are truly a dream destination, boasting not only beautiful beaches but also breathtaking landscapes. We need to be more conscious of what we have here and how precious it is. Everyone on the islands – locals, foreigners working here like me and holiday-makers – should be doing their bit and reducing their environmental footprint as much as possible. The rubbish that washes up on the beaches is a big challenge for this island nation, and is to some extent beyond its control. But there’s a lot that we can do here, firstly to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce and secondly to dispose of it in a responsible way. It really energises me when I see that the community here is getting on board with this idea.
Last year, a group of local friends got together to form the Fresh Focus project. The goal of the project is to get young people more in touch with nature, to make island life more interesting and to provide new opportunities: they organise excursions with camp fires, find and maintain new hiking paths and have plans to share their surfing, slacklining, climbing and calisthenics skills in the near future. We have already been able to carry out several larger-scale clean ups together, including in the famous Vallée de Mai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the island’s main tourist attractions. In April, we collected around 370 kg of rubbish along the road here, an activity which got a lot of attention and support. This is an ideal moment to bring about change, and every step we take, however small, is a step forwards.”
If you would like to support Stefanie in her mission, you can find out more here: