We’re so excited to spotlight SurfAid. It’s an incredible organization, and thanks to the funds you helped raise from our Kelly Slater and Shane Dorian campaign in Fiji, they’re continuing their inspiring work in remote villages in Indonesia.
Started in 2000, SurfAid is the brainchild of Dr. Dave Jenkins. When he was working as a doctor in Singapore, he took a surf trip off the coast of Sumatra and enjoyed some of the world’s most perfect waves. He decided to venture inland, and what he witnessed changed his life. Women and children were dying from treatable causes that could be prevented with small changes like basic hygiene and better breastfeeding practices. Dr. Dave held a clinic that evening, and upon returning to Singapore he left his job, sold his house, and started SurfAid.
One of our favorite things about SurfAid is their approach. They believe that if you simply hand things out, changes made won’t be long term or sustainable. So they take the time to educate communities—on things like washing hands before delivering a baby, or sleeping under a mosquito net to prevent malaria, or the nutritional benefits of vegetables. And when they have a clean water project underway, it’s the community that digs the trenches for the water lines. Or if a water pipe breaks, or something else needs fixing, the local people are able to manage the problem with their own resources. SurfAid is there to facilitate, but they take a step back and let the community find the solutions.
This story of Ibu Luseria, a resident of Eruparaboat, is a perfect example of SurfAid’s philosophy.
Eruparaboat was one of the hardest hit areas during the 2010 Mentawai tsunami. The tsunami took the homes and livelihoods of the community, and the survivors were forced to move to higher ground, where they are slowly trying to rebuild their lives.
Ibu Luseria is the head of the women’s church group in her community. She used her influence and status as a leader to mobilize the women and, together with SurfAid, they completed the hard manual labor of digging trenches for water pipes to run from a natural spring, through a solar powered unit, to tap stands throughout the village. Pretty unbelievable. “Water is so important for our lives and health,” Ibu said. “I want to contribute with the rest of the community to get clean water into Eruparaboat. Together with SurfAid it is possible!”
Thanks to the funds you raised, SurfAid will be able to continue to bring fresh water to remote villages and save and improve the lives of people like Ibu Luseria. How inspiring is that? Thank you! It’s such an honor to work alongside you to support incredible organizations, just like SurfAid.