Have you ever had a dream about making a positive difference that would impress Mother Nature and King Neptune?? Have you inspired great support which led to your dream becoming a miraculous reality? This is the kind of magic that materialised for Tony Lubner when he established the Orca Foundation! Read how his dream has benefitted Lunchbox Theatre audiences.
It all started with a walk that became a journey, for many including Lunchbox Theatre. While hiking high up on the hills of the Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay, South Africa, Tony and his friend, Mark Valentine, were overcome by the awesomeness of the marine life in The Bay Beautiful. They began dreaming about ways to conserve the bay and its inhabitants for generations to come.
Tony had already established Ocean Blue, a boat-based whale watching venture, so it was the perfect opportunity to establish a wing which would focus on marine research, conservation and education. The aptly named ORCA (Ocean Research Conservation Africa) came into being in 2000.
On that dreamy, fateful day the two hiker friends could not have imagined that they would influence the lives of so many young people from across the globe who would be drawn to volunteer in the enchanting little seaside village of “Plett”.
They could not have imagined that these generous young volunteers would contribute towards educating the youth of South Africa … not only about the importance of Marine Protected Areas but about the birds and the bees and even the trees! Some of the children who have benefitted over the years had not even been born yet!
Since 4 November 2008, ORCA Volunteers have contributed towards the staging of nearly 120 out of the 600+ show performed. This means that the volunteers have helped Lunchbox educate around 26 500 children in total out of the +/-130 000 children who have benefitted from live theatre shows. That is, on average, 13 000 children per year!
Naturally, The Whale Show is the most popular choice as it aligns so well with ORCA, so the volunteers have contributed towards the staging of 70 Whale Shows. However, they have also helped us to save our precious water through The Last Drop. They have helped to call a halt to littering through the What a Waste Show. They have saved countless dog’s lives through A Dogs Life. Children have a better understanding of the delicate balance of nature and the importance of conserving our natural environment and animals through The Great Eden to Addo Adventure and our tremendous Tree Show. And they have saved the lives of young South Africans through Thand’ Impilo, a show which teaches youngsters how to take care of themselves and avoid contracting AIDS and HIV.
ORCA started with the development of a bay management plan utilising the help of two Rhodes University research students, Kyle Smith and Kelley King. Enthusiasm for the program snow-balled into the creation of the Volunteer Program. Volunteers from all corners of the world came to know and love the ORCA Foundation’s research, conservation and education initiatives and of course, the lovely Bahia Formosa – meaning Bay Beautiful.
Lunchbox Theatre extend a huge high five to visionary, Mark Valentine and of course, the charismatic, Tony Lubner! By making their dream come true, many children have a healthier view of the world we live in.
If you know of any volunteer organisations who would like to experience the same impact and satisfaction as the ORCA volunteers have, please put us in touch?
You can read all about how we have helped to educate South African children which have led to saving the lives of people and our animals and protecting the environment on the Lunchbox Theatre website.