You have made dreams come true! Because of the numerous and generous donations collected in the last few months via the crowdfunding campaign, Shobe and her friends have now realized their dream of creating their own surf training program for girls in Cox's Bazar.
They still lack a physical location and enough of their own surf gear, but the young women in Bangladesh are used to improvising. As a result of all your support and thanks to Shobe's former surf instructor, Rashed, the first lessons exclusively for girls have already commenced, using surfing equipment from his club.
Additionally, Shobe and her friends are now paid a regular salary from the donations. The students receive a travel allowance to get them to and from the beach and a weekly food package to support their families, an approach that has proven successful with other clubs.
Many challenges still await the young women in pursuing the goal that their surf club will one day be able to support itself. But Shobe and her friends are incredibly grateful to those who contributed and have provided the support to get them this far.
The original fundraising target was reached during the International OCEAN FILM TOUR Volume 8; the amount was then raised to make surfing possible for even more girls going forward. If you would like to continue supporting the girls’ surf training program in Cox's Bazar, you are invited to do so via the donation account at the JAAGO Foundation, which is currently still managed by the filmmakers, Elizabeth D. Costa and Lalita Krishna.
To keep up to date on all that’s happening with Shobe and her friends, have a look here. On this page, Elizabeth D. Costa and Lalita Krishna post regular updates from Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh, it is highly unusual for girls to surf. Shobe Mehraz is doing it anyway. But she is still a long way from reaching her goal.
Cox’s Bazar, a coastal city in southern Bangladesh, is most widely known for having the longest sandy beachfront in the world. Everyday life for the community in this fishing port is influenced by their religious beliefs and the societal impact on the distribution of roles and power between men and women. In the film, we gain insight into what this means for a young girl like Shobe.
She has lived here all her life, under challenging family circumstances and the restraints of poverty. Shobe attends school and dreams of a better life, but she cannot expect any support from her family. Children and teenagers have to grow up very quickly in Bangladesh. Shobe is only allowed to surf because the surf club distributes food to the girls so that they can contribute to the family livelihood. Permission from the parents for young girls to surf is primarily financially motivated. Moreover, it is temporary.
Shobe is well aware of what lies ahead for her. Many girls in her neighborhood are already married by the age of 14. After marriage, their husbands may simply forbid them from surfing. This is exactly the situation Shobe is working hard to avoid. She is determined to stand on her own two feet and shape her own future. It was through surfing that she learned this is a possibility, so it's no wonder that the sport is so important to her.
Over the past few years, the surf club has become a kind of family for Shobe, and Rashed Alam, her surf instructor, like a surrogate father. The feeling she gets from surfing is the same that connects surfers all over the world, but the freedom she feels is different. Only in the water can she escape for a time from the restrictions that govern her life. These times are fleeting and rare, and they are exceedingly precious. They are moments from which she can draw strength, day by day as well as for the future.
Shobe, along with her surfing friend Aisha, is now planning to start her own surf club. This represents another step toward independence and demonstrates her resolve to take this path. Surfing is still met with oppressive community judgment in Cox's Bazar, but Shobe is determined not to be influenced by that.
The film shows us what a simple surfboard can do; it can provide self-confidence and the courage to challenge the status quo and, as best you can, take your life into your own hands.
Shobe and Aisha want to start their own girls-only surf club to pass on their experience and to influence the next generation of girls to become self-confident. You can support them in this endeavor via the JAAGO Foundation crowdfunding campaign. #supportshobe .
Go to Crowdfunding
You would like to support Shobe, but you need some more information about her project? Then keep reading...
The total of USD $35.000 is based on an initial budget by the girls created with help from local mentors and well wishers. It covers rental costs, salaries for 3 teachers, subsidies (food & transportation) for approx. 10 surf students, equipment, maintenance & ongoing expenses for approx. 3 years. Many more girls have shown interest in the initial training program, so more money means that more girls can join the program.
The Girls Club is intended to be a revenue generating model. The girls plan to simultaneously start a fee based teaching/training program which they expect to be self-sufficient in 3 years.
All donated funds are held in a separate account of the Jaago Foundation. The account is held in trust by the Jaago Foundation with oversight by the producers of the documentary, Lalita Krishna and Elizabeth D Costa.
Shobe Meheraz is the lead founder of the club. She is supported by Aisha Akhter.The funds will be released in incremental amounts as they reach critical milestones.
Follow us on Instagram to keep up on the foundation of Shobe's Girld Only Surf Club!