Aloha Bangladesh 2012
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”
Today, we sent back 2 of our Bengali friends with a team of 10 STN staff for the 8th annual, month-long Bangladesh trip.
The journey all started eight years ago, when the founder of STN looked at a map and noticed that Bangladesh had the longest sand beach in the world.
Shortly after that, a handful of people touched down in Bangladesh, and through meeting one lone surfer in Bangladesh, the sport of surfing and the culture of giving back began to take roots in the country.
We’ve been going back to Bangladesh for several years, so what’s different about this year?
In the previous years, STN has been teaching surf to the locals and helped them establish a surf club. We’ve held an annual surf contest and provided food for the street kids involved in the surf contests. As the old proverb goes, we were able to ‘feed’ them temporarily, and teach them how to do some things for themselves. Now, the connections have been made, the club is established, and we see that it is vital to move into intently teaching them ‘how to fish’: rising up leaders of integrity to benefit the community and their whole country, one person at a time.
Two young men from the Bangladesh Surf Club, Shahadat and Aziz, have spent the past four months in Hawaii learning surf culture, leadership skills, and how to serve selflessly in the community.
They, along with 10 other STN staff , will be teaching the young men and women of Cox’s Bazar how to be leaders using some of the same materials that is taught in our Surfers Leadership School.
Along with training leaders, the team will be teaching English to the kids who have little or no opportunity to get an education, and focusing on giving the girls in the community a chance to learn to surf. At the moment, there are not many girl surfers as it is still a cultural taboo in many ways, yet we have seen the positive impact and freedom and confidence it has brought to the girls.
The surfing will still go on, the contest will still happen, and now is the time to bring the tools to the Bengali surf communities to be movers and shakers in their community and to be ‘Surfers Giving Back’.