Milton Brown leads a group forum : Photo Marilyn Brown
SurfAid International Offers Unique Schools Program Free Online
Humanitarian organization, SurfAid International, is offering American students a unique opportunity to learn about global citizenship using the challenges and achievements of the non-profit organization as an example for action.
SurfAid, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, aims to improve the health, wellbeing and self-reliance of people living in the Mentawai Islands, off Western Sumatra, Indonesia – one of the world’s best surfing locations.
SurfAid runs community-based health, nutrition, and water and sanitation programs, plus disaster preparedness and emergency relief. These programs are critical to this area as the mortality rate for children under five in the Mentawai Islands is 93 per 1,000 live births – nearly one in 10. This is 15 times greater than in developed countries, where on average there are six deaths for every 1,000 live births.
Andrea Yoder Clark explains using the free online resources : Photo Marilyn Brown
Many village children in the Mentawai suffer and die because their parents have not been educated on the basic building blocks of life such as hygiene and nutrition.
A US 501(c)(3) organization, Surfaid International won the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (WANGO) humanitarian award in 2007. SurfAid’s US affiliate office is based in Encinitas, California.
SurfAid Education Director, Milton Brown, said the Schools Program, which has been operating in Australia and New Zealand since 2007, provides students from age 9 – 18 with the opportunity to learn about the people of the Mentawai Islands via wide-ranging subjects including Service Learning, Biology, Chemistry, English, Math and Social Studies.
“The program is about developing a value system that respects different cultures, different places and different needs … and then transferring those into actions which aim to make the planet a better place for all,” said Mr Brown, who is also the head teacher of Social Sciences at Barrenjoey High, a progressive school on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Australia.
California teachers discuss application of SurfAid’s teaching resources : Photo Marilyn Brown
The SurfAid Schools program is supported by international surfing company Billabong and the first workshop for US teachers was held recently at their Irvine, California, HQ.
Attendee Jennifer Kuklenski, a Special Education Teacher at Mission Bay High School, San Diego, CA, said the workshop was inspiring.
“Since I have been in high school I have wanted to be involved in education on a global scale as well as in my community. I am hoping to design a service learning project using SurfAid. The website will be an amazing resource for this and I am looking forward to being a part of the project,” she said.
Sandra J. Gonnerman, a National Board Certified Teacher from Lakeside Union School District, San Diego, said: “Thank you so very much for an incredible day in Irvine. Every moment was interesting, inspiring and opened my eyes to so much.
“I have a ton of ideas. This is SO important … we should all take a lesson from SurfAid founder Dr Dave Jenkins,” she said.