In January, North Steyne will host two men from Gaza, Palestine so they can learn all about surf lifesaving in the hopes of establishing a Nippers program and a fully-fledged surf lifesaving club there.
You will see Mohammed Saleh and Hasan Alhabil on our beach throughout the month and during their stay, they will learn surf lifesaving skills, understand how we run our Nippers program and Club, and absorb everything they can about the surf lifesaving movement and culture. Their hope is to return to Gaza and initially start a Nippers program which they want to have up and running by August 2020. They will then work to establish a surf lifesaving club there.
There are several drownings in Gaza each year, and with high unemployment and mass poverty, surf lifesaving will provide not only valuable services in keeping people safe on the beach but be an important outlet for youth to be involved in a sporting and social activities, both of which are rare in Gaza.
While at North Steyne, Mohammad and Hasan will participate in patrols, do board and surf rescue training, learn CPR and first aid skills, observe Nippers and find out about how to run a Nippers program, learn about how we manage and administer our Club, and help with various activities around the Club. They will also visit other surf lifesaving clubs and participate in a bronze medallion training course.
It is interesting to note that there is a strong tie with surf lifesaving in Gaza as Australian troops stationed there during World War II held carnivals on the beach. We hope that we can restore some of this tradition while improving the lives of young people and keeping people safe on the beach in Gaza.
North Steyne was approached to become involved with this project by the Northern Beaches Committee for Palestine which aspires to bring Australian surf lifesaving to Gaza. The project to bring some Palestinians to Australia to learn about surf lifesaving has been almost 5 years in the making, with North Steyne being involved for the last 2 years. There is widespread interest in this project and SBS will be filming Mohammad and Hasan in action on our beach during January.
Please make Mohammad and Hasan feel welcome during the month they are at North Steyne.