Surf.for.Change is a Germany-based non-profit organization aiming to utilize the windsurfing sport for children and youth to create positive social change within communities. We work in places where institutional structures for providing education and social development are absent or weak and where problems and traumas reside in the minds of young people. Through engaging them in a regular sports activity, we seek to empower underprivileged children and youth in developing countries and challenging life-situations. Our main focus lies on children from families with a weak socioeconomic background and young people with traumas from situations of war, conflict and poverty. We give them a space to develop their personalities in a friendly and supportive environment and to take a break from their daily sorrows. Engaging them actively in a sports project with others, those young people´s physical and mental well-being is fostered. The psychological and social stabilization resulting hereof provides them with better life perspectives and lets them acquire valuable life skills which enable them to handle difficult life circumstances. Surf.for.Change can provide these young people with a life-enriching experience and the possibility to develop their character in a team of peers from different social, ethnic and religious backgrounds. As a consequence new opportunities open up to them and the potential for change is created.
The windsurf sport requires a high degree of discipline and determination for those who would like to advance in it. It is an activity which also needs a high degree of commitment. Windsurfing is furthermore a sport tightly connected to the experience of nature and freedom. Through engaging people in windsurfing, their awareness of the importance of nature and the forces of natural power will be raised. A windsurfer has to adapt to changing weather circumstances and adapt his behavior to the forces of nature. By engaging in water sports young people can be led to taking care of the environment, learning to respect it and keeping it clean. They become interested in the ecosystem and marine environment because their hobby depends on it. By exercising together on the water each windsurfer learns to handle the environment and weather conditions all by himself. He or she learns to observe and act prudently and independently from others, making decisions on his/ her own. On the other hand the windsurfer experiences how important it is to keep an eye on his fellow surfers and to take care of their needs. A windsurfer out on the sea has to be attentive to others in case they have a problem such as damage of their windsurf equipment or in case they find themselves in difficult weather conditions or another problematic situation. Changing winds and weather conditions can hereby pose a great challenge on each individual. Each time such a challenge is faced and overcome a positive experience of success is being created. It is this experience which we are keen to letting young people experience. It makes them put their sorrows aside and enables their personality to grow.
In countries where windsurfing is a popular sport, it is mainly exercised by tourists or rather wealthy segments of the population. Buying the necessary windsurf equipment is costly and equipment rental stations (if there are any) charge high prices. The same is valid for windsurfing classes: They are expensive and economically weak people cannot afford to learn this sport. We at Surf-for-Change would like to make windsurfing a more „equal“ sport because we believe that windsurfing can especially benefit the marginalized youth.