In 1999, on a surf trip to the Mentawai Islands (a chain of about seventy islands and islets off the western coast of Sumatra in Indonesia) Dr. Dave Jenkins, physician and surfer, fell in love with more than the epic waves - the Mentawai people. These people, mostly women and children, were dying from preventable and treatable diseases like malaria, measles, cholera and tetanus.
Once Dr. Dave returned home, he couldn’t forget the people he had met in Mentawai. A year later, in 2000, along with his long-time friend Dr Steve Hathaway, they co-founded SurfAid International, a non-profit organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering through community-based health programs.
“The mission of SurfAid International, a non-profit humanitarian organization, is to improve the health, well-being and self-reliance of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing.”
When the Asian Tsunami struck in 2004, followed by the 2005 Nias Earthquake, SurfAid expanded its operations to Nias. According to its Website, “With the support of the New Zealand and Australian Governments, the global surfing and wider community, and most importantly the Mentawai and Nias people of the affected areas themselves, SurfAid has come to exemplify the healing power of cross-cultural partnerships.”
SurfAid is always coming up with fun events that you can be a part of – think art auctions with a portion of the proceeds benefiting SurfAid, or Swim4Humanity, Kick4Humanity and Paddle4Humanity days. Bookmark their EVENTS page to stay in the loop on events happening near you!
This is how a simple surf trip ended up changing the world. Don’t you just love people like this?!
Do you know SurfAid? Have you ever participated in one of their events? We’d love to hear from you in our comments section!