From the Sea to the Classroom: The Wavemakers Shaking up the Cox’s Bazar Shoreline

Cox’s Bazar is home to a vibrant and growing surfing community. For them, the horizon is the limit, and they can surf to their heart’s content. The children who make up this community come from impoverished, troubled families. Most of them have little or no formal education as the pressure to drop out of school to earn money for their families is too great.

To help these boys and girls, and to turn the tide on how surfing is perceived in these conservative communities, JAAGO Foundation and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) partnered together to create the Surfers’ Megher School. This school is designed to equip them with the learning and skills they need to lift themselves out of poverty, and it eases the burden of supporting their families by providing each student with monthly food rations.

Currently, the students are attending live digital classes, conducted by trained teachers from Dhaka, on Bangla and English languages, numeracy and financial literacy, environment and tourism, safety, healthy living, and digital literacy. All students are provided with tablets and internet packages to attend the classes. Additionally, our learning centre has a lab facility for face to face digital literacy classes. Students participate in daily online classes with their monthly allocated internet packages. Even during the covid pandemic lockdown restrictions, their classes never stopped.

To ensure they receive the nutrition they need and to help support their families, each student gets BDT 4000 worth of monthly food allocations. Within this budget, they choose their food based on their needs from a range of basic supplies. In addition to this, these children are also receiving lifeguard training every week from a certified lifeguard trainer. This training opens avenues of gainful employment for them in future.

Sumaiya, one of the students of the Surfers’ Megher School, says, “I had to drop out of school because of my family’s financial problems. I’m very grateful to Surfers’ Megher School for allowing me to continue my education. I find my math classes especially useful since I can use this knowledge to help my father in his business.”

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