Paddling Against Poverty

Paddling Against Poverty

When up to 100 surfboard riders take to the ocean on Saturday 19 October, they’ll be paddling for the lives of those they don’t even know.

Riders ranging in age from seven to 70 will engage in a five kilometer ocean paddle along Sydney’s southern coast — up the Port Hacking River, into Bate Bay, around Shark Island, and into North Cronulla beach.

This year, the event will raise money for Mercy Huts, Rote Island, Indonesia — a not-for-profit retreat that donates to impoverished local communities to empower them through education, employment, and training.

Cronulla’s event organiser, Dave Lovell, has taken part in the event for the past five years. He says the best thing about it is the comradery.

“It’s a great personal challenge to paddle the distance but the unified engagement to support people less fortunate is empowering,” he said.

Founded 19 years ago in Wollongong, Paddle Against Poverty events are now held in multiple locations across the country. Organisers say that they have raised more than $100,000 for charities which focus on alleviating poverty in the third world.

Mercy Huts was established in January 2012 to empower people living in poverty in remote Indonesia. This region is the most severely affected by poverty and has the highest malnutrition and infant mortality rates in all of Indonesia. Locals live on less than US$1 per day.

Past recipients of the money raised by Paddle Against Poverty include: Compassion Australia, Waves for Water, and World Vision.

The paddle will be followed by BBQ meet and greet with Mercy Hut founders Matt and Nat Thistlewaite

The 2019 Paddle Against Poverty starts at Gunnamatta Bay Park at 9am and finishes at North Cronulla Beach at 11am on Saturday 19 October.

Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor

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