Groundswell Aid is mobilizing surfers in the world’s most renowned surfing locations to help address the burden of poverty. It was born from passionate surfers scouring the earth for a perfect wave. Founders Roy Harley and Jeff Ryan created Groundswell Aid as a way to connect the surfing community to disadvantaged people that live only minutes away from the most impressive surf breaks around the world. The organization partners with local leaders’ in locations such as Mauritius, El Salvador, Chile and South Africa, and uses surfing as a way to inspire and mobilize these impoverished communities.
Jeffreys Bay is the new home to Groundswell Gardens, a homegrown project that provides sustainable ways to address food insecurity in surfing communities in South Africa. In 2017, 20% of South Africans struggled to access food. The Republic of South Africa reported that agricultural development and subsistence farming is an effective way to address the issue.
As a result, Groundswell Aid is taking unused land and transforming it into a community garden filled with fruit, and leafy and root crops. The project has built 36 garden planters so far and hopes to create 270 for the community. After the crops are ready for harvest, the food will be given to the locals and the gardens will be reused for a sustainable farming process.
Indonesian Mercy Huts
The Mentawai Islands Regency, Uluwatu of Bali and the T-Land of Rote Island are world-class surfing locations in Indonesia. However, the side of Indonesia that many surfers do not see is the 80% of people in Mentawai living in poverty in 2017. However, Groundswell Aid partnered with a grassroots project called Mercy Huts to address and provide resources to those suffering from poverty in rural Indonesia.
Mercy Huts creates beachfront surf retreats for tourists that then give back to the islands of Indonesia. The profits of Mercy Huts are invested in community resources that promote education for youth, community development training and creating a stronger tourism industry. The tourism industry, which includes surfing tourism, is vital to the Indonesian economy because it is predicted that tourism will account for $141.3 billion annually for the country by 2027.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, impoverished communities are more susceptible to high mortality rates. It is also predicted that 49 million people in the world will sink into poverty by the end of 2020. Groundswell Aid is mobilizing surfers to help address the impacts of COVID-19 on poor surfing communities through the organization’s Groundswell Aid COVID-19 relief campaign. The campaign has raised more than $10,000, which has been donated to surfing communities in Indonesia, South Africa and El Salvador.
Groundswell Aid has created an impact as strong as a wave crashing against the sand. The organization is mobilizing surfers through a variety of projects that address poverty and the issues that come along with it. The humanitarian work that the organization has completed is helping relieve many people from the burden of poverty, while also providing opportunities for local leaders to become involved with their communities and move one step closer to ending poverty for all.
– Josie Collier