Surfers Give Back to Mentawai Islands
NZ doctor Dave Jenkins’ SurfAid International charity is having a profound effect on the inhabitants of Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands. The picture-perfect beaches are a playground for wealthy Western surfers, yet locals have continued to suffer high death-rates from diseases such as malaria, measles and tetanus. In 1999 Jenkins founded SurfAid to “improve the health of people living in isolated regions connected to us through surfing” by providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets and education on nutrition and hygiene. Since the charity’s inception, malaria rates in SurfAid’s pilot villages have fallen by more than 75 percent. SurfAid gained support from NZ and Australian government aid agencies and surf industry giants Billabong and Quiksilver following the 2004 tsunami, and were able to immunise 16,000 children and deliver 300 tonnes of emergency aid to the region.