Indonesia

Indonesia: Christian surfers to teach boat building in Nias

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New South Wales, Indonesia-Relief -- Four surfers from Ulladulla, New South Wales, Australia are heading to Nias to teach local people about fiberglas boat production. The four people team is part of Local Empowermnet Assistance Program (Leap) that has been organized by Christian Surfers Association.
''Leap is a program to assist Indonesian village communities through poverty relief and small industry implementation, said Chris Welsh, a team members, as quoted by Milton Ulladula Times on Wednesday. He and his son, with two other people from Australia and five from South Africa, will go to Indonesia and will start its course on boat building in Sirombu, Nias district.

''Nias relies heavily on small canoes for transportation and fishing,'' Chris said. ''The traditional hollow log canoes take too long to build and there are too few trees of the size required left after the tsunami and earthquake. What we'll be doing is teaching them how to make fiberglass canoes.''

Chris added that apart from teaching about canoe construction and repair methods to enable people have their own boat, the team will also teach the people to market the boat to wider region.

''Leap's aim is to provide not only an efficient and practical solution to the problems encountered using timber canoes, but also to provide an income-generating small industry for members of the community.''

''At the end of the project, there will be a number of community members skilled in fibreglass construction who are then able to pass this skill onto others, or run their own canoe making businesses.''

Chris and the team are paying their own way for the trip, but said the villagers would appreciate any donations the community could give towards the cost of the canoes.

''Villagers are given a micro loan through LEAP for the cost of the canoes that are fitted out with safety and fishing gear, and don't have to pay the loan back until their business is established,'' Chris said. © dro