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The closest place on earth to the middle of the planet, where the 0º latitude and 0º longitude point meet, you can find one of the world's least visited countries... São Tomé island.

Empowering women and fighting gender inequality

As the second smallest country in Africa, São Tomé saw the first group of girls surfing for the first time in late 2020, when our founder Francisca Sequeira, went door to door to seek parental permission and to invite local girls for a surf class. Those efforts turn up the page of gender inequality and female surfing ‘took off’ in the community of Santana and in the whole country! But so much more could be done…
The fact that there were no girls surfing in São Tomé before, represents the extreme gender inequality Santomense women face everyday.
…In the middle of the Atlantic sits this nation where a heavy load of household duties are expected for most women and a society suffering from considering gender disparities and misogyny:

27.9% of women aged 15+

have experienced domestic violence (2019, UNDP)

There are only 24.4% of women

in Management positions. (UN Women)

Only 31.5% of women aged 25+ have secondary education compared to 45.8% of men

SAo TomE ranks 138th out of 191

on the United Nations gender inequality index. (UNDP Gender Inequality index 2021-2022)

Adolescent pregnancies reach around 27%,

one of the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa
(UN Women Global Database on Violence against Women)
Although being a country surrounded by the ocean, 48% of girls don’t know how to swim and are scared of the sea.
Knowing that this is a reality in the majority of the countries in Africa, and in an effort to support these girls, Francisca teamed up with health and surf professionals, social workers and activists to develop a theory of change that has been reviewed annually and adjusted whenever there is new evidence.

Team Soma

Francisca Sequeira
Head of strategy & General Manager
Rita Xavier
Head of Communications & Finance
Catarina Amorim
Head of Intervention & Human resources
Matilde Pinho
Head of Legal & Institutional
Tiara Teixeira Gaspar
Head of Social Business
Carmo Sotero
Maria Romão
Psychoeducation Manager
Mariana Rocha Assis
Surf Manager
Mara Santos
Women empowerment Manager
Filipa Rodrigues
Buddies Manager
Filipa Rebelo
Mentors Manager
Wazimila Carvalho
Headquarters manager
Rosangela Felix
Culture & Community manager
Poné Borges
Surf Coach
Francisca Sequeira
Founder & Head of Intervention
“Surfing was my doorway and therapy, my way. You can’t live by these two principles without sharing this treasure with these girls from at-risk backgrounds, living in vulnerable situations and exposed to repeated stressful events.

It’s like seeing someone drowning and not giving them a hand!”
Donate and help us get to the beach: