BREAKING WAVES, BREAKING RULES

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.

 

When I play in the waves, I forget everything else. 

Shobe Mehraz

 

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.


 

Whenever I catch a wave, it breaks after a few seconds. My life is like that.

Shobe Mehraz   

 

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.  


 



About the Crowdfunding

SUPPORT SHOBE

 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... 
 

FACts & NUMBERS: 


Why was the initial crowd funding goal of $35.000 changed to $60.000?

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.
 

Will the girls rely on crowdfunding forever?

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.
 

What happens to the donations?

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.
 

When will funds be transferred - and to whom? 

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!

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