We made this little video for the kids to see how much they have grown and see the change over the past few years. Not all the change has been good, kids have come and sadly gone. But we are grateful for the fun we have had and for all the people that have met along the way and that have partnered with us to make this dream possible.
We can’t thank you enough for the love and support. I (Venessa) just returned from Bangladesh a few days ago, after being gone for over a year. Rashed will be staying there for an additional month to check in with the leaders, the kids, and their families and prepare the kids for the upcoming surf contest. It was definitely an amazing trip- the kids have grown so much, almost every single one of them is enrolled in school, receiving tutoring, riding shortboards, improved in their skateboarding skills, bringing and sharing what they have learned with their younger siblings. Also to see the kids acting like a typical adolescent teenager with an attitude- makes me respect my parents so much more, I don’t know how parents do it. Rashed, Roshiid, and Sukkur have been so patient and incredible leaders- even when the kids make it very hard! My heart couldn’t help but break to see and experience what the club was like without two of our original girls- one is now working in a garment factory in Chittagong, and the other has chosen to stay home and learn the ways of cooking and preparing to be a wife soon. As much as it was their choice, I wish that there would have been a way to convince them to stay, to be able to give them their dream. It was the first time I let myself deal with the heartbreak of all the time and investment in their lives and to have them walk away because they were tired of the fight and having to stand up for themselves. We could only do so much, and at the end of the day we want to help people who also want to help themselves. We are grateful and holding close the kids who are continuing to be changemaker’s in their community in hopes that one day they will have the chance to be the first in their family to go to college, get a job, maybe represent Bangladesh and surf in the Olympics (one can dream). When Allison created the original gofundme page in 2015, I would have never thought we would now be a registered non-profit, have our own website, and that we would still be able to provide food bags, education and surfing. We are ever so grateful to you for partnering with us and being a part of making these children’s journey a better one.