Listen: Dave from Christian Surfers Cronulla chats to Graeme Burrill
Cronulla Beach will become a hive of compassion-driven activity on Saturday October 19, as Christian Surfers Cronulla holds their latest Paddle Against Poverty event.
It’s a fundraiser in which surfers and stand-up paddle boarders complete a paddle route starting at Gunnamatta Bay, and gathering sponsorship, in support of people living in poverty in developing nations.
This weekend’s fundraising goal is $15,000, and proceeds will go towards the charity Mercy Huts in Indonesia.
In a chat with Hope 103.2’s Graeme Burrill, Christian Surfers rep Dave said Paddle Against Poverty has been going for nearly 20 years, and more than 100 paddlers now gather each year for various Paddle events.
Reducing Poverty Through Ethical Tourism
This year’s fundraising recipient, Mercy Huts, is a unique charity that comes under the umbrella of the organisation Groundswell Aid. Mercy Huts establishes not-for-profit beachfront retreats in Indonesia, to empower communities living in poverty through tourism.
By setting up beach huts for holiday-makers, Mercy Huts is able to create education, employment and training opportunities for locals.
The first of these huts is on Indonesia’s Rote Island.
The charity was birthed when Australians Matt and Nat Thistlewaite, and Sally and Paul McMahon, were personally impacted while visiting communities in East Indonesia and seeing the great need there.
They established the charity in 2012 with a desire to lift people out of poverty.
Paddling and Barbecue
Paddlers in Saturday’s event will paddle as a group out of Gunnamatta Bay and through Port Hacking, into Bate Bay and around Shark Island, finishing at Eloura Beach.
The route is considered an endurance event and requires good fitness, a good paddle board, and water confidence. Support crew will travel with the group by boat and jetski. The paddle ends with a barbecue on the beach and a meet-and-greet with the crew from Mercy Huts.