Sometimes Fate Brings People Together...
"Sometimes fate brings people together. And that’s how all this started.. When I first met Chuti and Sameer I saw two innocent kids surfing. It was a wonderful thing to witness their love for surfing. Absent of any fear or worries, it was all about having fun. Unfortunately, I have seen more kids like that on the beach before and a few years later I saw them lost. Mainly because of drugs. Some of them even ended up in jail. I felt I had to help them yet didn’t know exactly how.
One of the factors that increases the risk of kids making poor life choices is the school system. A lot of schools are not contributing enough to the child’s well-being and education. If the kids don’t do good enough in class, they will be neglected by the teacher. Parents often don’t even know. Kids feel embarrassed and left out and often end up not going to school anymore.
Surfing gives the kids something magical, it makes them happy, they excel at something and being in the water makes them feel free from any worries. Yet it also holds the risk of them becoming ‘lazy in life’, them not stimulated nor encouraged sufficiently and as a result of that making bad decisions which have a negative impact on their future.
As soon as I opened Layback I wanted to give these kids a platform to make sure they at least have a chance to fulfill their potential.
If you have stayed at Layback, you have definitely met Sameer and Chuti. It’s about having fun but at the same time they also get the chance to take part at some of our surf lessons. This is a possibility for the boys to get better at English and -if they’d like that- learn how to be a good surf instructor.
But it’s not just Chuti and Sameer. There are lots of children, boys and girls. I started small yet my dream was to create a foundation for local boys and girls.
Fate brought me in contact with Dinal and Kopi. And we realized we shared the same dream. So I have teamed up with them and we are proud and happy to announce the launch of the Weligama Surfers Club.
The mission of the club is to support the youth of Weligama for a brighter future. We are dedicated to promote surfing, the value of education, the preserving of the ocean and beach for future generations and last but not least increase the involvement of girls and women.
Obviously, the surf scene is big in Weligama. One of the goals is to teach the youth of Weligama how to swim and surf. We want to foster a positive image of young Sri Lankan surfers locally and globally through charity and competition. Hopefully some of these children will grow to represent Sri Lanka on an international level in the future.
The club would like to provide a safe, stimulating, supportive and inspiring environment for children to explore, learn and grow and have fun in the meantime. English classes will be offered and the club will make sure the children will go to school and receive the necessary attention.
The club is a duly registered non-profit organisation, approved by the Ministry of Sports and an official member of Sri Lanka Surfing Federation."
Written by Thilina Dananya for Layback.lk
Photos of Chuti is by Prakhar (instagram @akaw_frames), Rest of the photos are Sachin’s