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A few months back, I had the pleasure of speaking with Hermann Vivier. Hermann wears several hats, such as Bitcoin HODLer, husband, and South African small business owner, but he is known for being the founder of Surfer Kids, BitcoinEkasi, and UnravelSurf. What drew my attention as a bitcoiner was the Surfer Kids Non-Profit. Due to bureaucracy and funding, Herman faced an uphill battle to get The Surfer Kids Program. He said it’s challenging to convince people to donate to a small organization on the fringes of society’s peripheral vision.
The ultimate goal is to create a circular Bitcoin economy in Mossel Bay, South Africa. I was blown away at how Hermann explained teaching local youth to surf in one of the poorest areas in the country. A decade-long mission is to empower youth from marginalized communities through surfing, community leadership, and bitcoin. Hermann and his team work with children between the ages of six and eight for boys and six and 10 for girls. They recruit from the younger age group because they feel that the earlier you learn, the more positive an influence they can have. Children adapt to surfing very slowly and have to learn to swim in the process. But the coaches are qualified, experienced lifeguards who understand the ocean with adroit insight.
Hermann’s permanent headquarters resides in a small building rented from the local municipality at Diaz Beach. The center has an active internet connection and a workspace where children are assisted with their homework and learn how to buy and sell bitcoin over the Lightning network. The cost of running the Core Surf Program comes to 500 rands, approximately 30 US dollars or 27 Euro per child per month. By donating at least 500 rands per month, sponsors enable the ongoing participation of at least one child in our Core Surf Program. The cool thing is you can donate using Blue Wallet or Muun to teach children about bitcoin and surfing skills.
Why Bitcoin in Mossel Bay?
Bitcoin is essential to the Surfer Kids Program because the coaches earn their salary in bitcoin and spend it in six shops in the township. These shop owners, in turn, can use bitcoin to pay supplies or expenses, allowing bitcoin to be a more substantial store of value than the rand to circulate and empower the purchasing power of all those who use it in the community. All of this happens over the Lightning Network, and Bitcoin’s layer-two scaling solution is designed to expand the transaction throughput of the Bitcoin network to a truly global scale.
The coaches receive hardware wallets to securely store their bitcoin and go amongst the township, teaching and encouraging others to save bitcoin in this way for the long term. Shop owners use the wallets, too, so there will be no need for bank accounts or lost funds. They know about the importance of self-custody. No one in the township can steal their cash anymore. Bitcoin is secure and is the best store of value man has created. It will change South Africa and ultimately the world into a bitcoin standard.
Elite Level Surfing Powered by Bitcoin
For the plebs out there, The Surfer Kids should be inspired by how powerful bitcoin can be when utilized for a good cause. The 5-day-per-week program allowed Owethu Sam Tabata, a participant in The Surfer Kids Core Surf Program since early 2016, to compete at the SA Grommet Games, and he won a bronze medal. The Surfer Kids was nominated for a South African Sports Award in 2018 and won its second Grommet Games Medal in 2019, proving its success at the 2017 event was not a fluke.
As the program continues to grow, more children will be exposed to surfing at a high level and, even more importantly, paid in bitcoin as a reward for their hard work. Hermann’s mission to unify the poorest in South Africa under a bitcoin umbrella is paramount. The goal to expand upon the empowerment already effected in this community by The Surfer Kids and, through Bitcoin, spread that empowerment further than the physical limits of the organization itself will open the minds of many and show that it’s possible. Because debates around ‘Why Bitcoin cannot work’ all miss the point.
Anyone wanting to donate to an organization that is professional, bitcoin-friendly, and high on the social responsibility list, please check out https://www.thesurferkids.com/donate; this is what bitcoin is all about — empowering the people financially by fixing the money and, in turn, improving the world. Bitcoin is permissionless secure money that cannot be looted or corrupted by governments, tyrants, thieves, or fools.
This is a guest post by Dawdu M. Amantanah. Follow him on Twitter @_Dawdu. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Satoshi’s Journal or Satoshi’s Entertainment Company.