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Surfs Up: making waves to promote development and change


Surfs Up: making waves to promote development and change

Supporting young people to develop skills in the water and on land, sportanddev share the work of organisations using surfing to promote development in communities around the world.

In 2007, this year's Laureus Action Sportsperson of the year, Kelly Slater, joined a local Isreali surfer and created waves in Gaza by teaching a young girl to surf. Now Surfing 4 Peace run a girls surf programme and have just completed The Gaza Surfer Girl Project, designing and manufacturing 'Islamic Swimwear' for female surfers in Isreal.

Check out other organisations making waves around the world:

Waves for Development - Peru

Waves for Development offers impoverished coastal communities innovative education and surf voluntourism programmes that take advantage of surfing resources for meeting community development goals and reducing poverty.

Programmes include:

  • English and Environment classes -  now local students can study subjects not ordinarily available
  • Weekly surf classes - to local youth free of charge, with an emphasis on Girls Only surf classes
  • Beach Clean Ups - part of an environmental conservation curriculum
  • Accredited Surf Instruction and Culinary Studies programmes
For More information, visit the Waves for Development website

Waves of Hope - Nicaragua

The Waves of Hope surf programme is integrated with a local tourist lodge, to offer young people the opportunity to invest and engage with the communty, by using surf as a tool to increase education, health and economic resources. 

Programmes include:

  • Surfing lessons - instilling self-confidence, positive relationships and leadership
  • Education - offering scholarship programmes, tutoring programmes, vocational training and English classes 
  • Healthly Living - distributing seeds, garden materials, and information about food and nutrition
  • Opportunities for investment - raising money to restore schools and community facilities like water wells and solar panels
For more information, visit the Waves of Hope website

Surf Aid International - Islands near Indonesia

Surf Aid International works in hard-to-access and remote villages to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions.

Programmes include:

  • Community Basic Health - to significantly improve the health and wellbeing of the Mentawai and Nias people
  • Education and training - A global education programme providing free downloadable resources for teachers
  • Water and Sanitation - creating structures for sustainable and healthy management of water supplies
  • Emergency Preparedness - a community based risk management programme forvillages prone to natural disaster
For more information, visit the Surf Aid International website

Umthombo Street Children - South Africa

Umthombo works with the national Department of Social Development South Africa to deliver surfing programmes to former street children. Creating a safespace for social and youth-care workers to empower children to address trauma they may face. 

Programmes include:

  • Outreach (street work) - child and youth care workers identify children on the street and engage them to find alternatives to street living
  • Reintergration and Aftercare - provide families of street children and street children with social care to be reintegrated back into the family
  • Campaigns - to end the forced removals, operations and sweeps of street children in Durban and to end glue sniffing among street children
For more information, visit the Umthombo website

Isiqalo Foundation - South Africa

Isiqalo Foundation

runs sports and educational programmes. Waves for Change is Isiqalo's flagship programme: A pioneering surfing / HIV prevention programme using integrated learning rooted in surfing to educate young adults about HIV.

Watch a new video about promoting HIV/AIDS awareness messaging through surfing from the Isiqalo Fuondation 


Article type



Mel Paramasivan


Monday, February 6, 2012 - 23:00

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