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Gliding Waves of Resilience: SOMA in 2023.

Written by:
January 12, 2024
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For the past 12 months, SOMA has faced numerous challenges. However, we have also embraced learning opportunities, leading to substantial growth.

We have made peace with the fact that, as a small team and a newborn organization, we can't meet everyone's needs all at once. With that in mind, we have decided to focus on our intrinsic value and mission: “To increase the development and social inclusion of African girls through surf therapy.” And despite our best intentions and extreme dedication, it was a crucial year to accept our limitations as human beings and as an organization with few (and sometimes none) resources.

As the first project of its kind in Africa, using surfing not only as a sport but as a way to foster women’s personal development and social inclusion, it was crucial to start looking at the glass half full: Looking to our girls and what they have achieved so far, as well as reminding ourselves that we are doing our best (sometimes even more than it could seem possible) prevented us from falling into the trap of frustration and kept us motivated to lead the way and inspire other African countries.

In the midst of 2023 challenges, we have redefined SOMA’s theory of change (which you can consult in our annual report by the end of January) and made this year all about positive impact and forging an even deeper connection with the girls we live and fight for. Not adding more girls to the program and working exclusively with the existing ones, allowed us to test our new intervention model. Providing a daily meal, school material as well as paid tuition fees, are some of the SOMA stepping stones that already showcased a powerful evolution on the impact we have in each girl’s lives.

This past year was about SOMA girls. It was a heartfelt journey to see them lifting other African girls beyond the societal constraints, by simply sharing their story on a global movement called “Surfing through the odds”. SOMA girls made a powerful declaration by showing that each girl possesses the power to be anything she dreams and aspires to be. This went beyond a tale of girls riding waves; it was a narrative of asserting and demanding rights and amplifying voices that had been silenced for too long. SOMA girls are poised to transition from being mere participants in our narrative to becoming a dynamic symbol of change. This evolution will see them shift from beneficiaries to integral contributors within SOMA, actively shaping the mission we collectively strive for. The journey toward this future transformation is a testament to our commitment and sets the stage for a more inclusive and impactful tomorrow.

As we bid farewell to this transformative year, we let the warmth of this narrative linger, inspiring hope for a future where every dream is not only cherished but celebrated.

Here's to the closing chapter of 2023: A testament to SOMA's ability to adapt, learn, and emerge stronger, setting a promising foundation for a brighter journey in 2024 and a more inclusive tomorrow.

Francisca Sequeira

Founder and President

January 2024

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