Raising a generation of confident young women through Surf Therapy

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(n.) Surfers Proud of the African Women

SOMA is a non-profit association founded in 2020 with the purpose of fighting gender inequality and early pregnancy in Portuguese-speaking Africa through a surf therapy program for girls. 

 
Our Program  / Surf Therapy

Free After School Program  ·  6 months  ·  Girls 6 - 18 years  ·  São Tomé Island, Africa

Francisca Sequeira com SOMA

“Surfing was my doorway and therapy, my way. And 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 is like seeing someone drowning and not giving them a hand!”

Francisca Sequeira 

Founder & Head of Intervention 

#1  SURF | Twice a week

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"We truly believe in the values that surf teach us and through our actions in this program we aim that these values are shared with the community of São Tomé. "

José Nuno Ferreira

Surf Manager

#2  ACADEMIC SUPPORT | Once a week

Created to foster a love for learning and increase school success rates, our classroom is a focused space where, once a week, our girls can study, do their homework and develop study, work and lifelong learning skills. 

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"It's a honor to help these girls dream big and make them believe they can achieve their dreams through education!"

Rita Vilaça

Academic Support Manager

#3  PSYCHOEDUCATION | Once a week

Once a week, our girls have a group psychotherapy session where they learn how to identify & express emotions, seek help and process trauma. SOMA Psychoeducation manual has been created in partnership with the organization Mar Me Quer.

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''Joining the two worlds  of surf and therapy is to live in an infinite ocean of possibilities to be healthier and happier. "

Dr. Maria Pais  Romão

Psychoeducation Manager

#4  EMPOWERMENT | Once a week

Once a week, SOMA organizes activities that promote self-esteem and confidence such as debates on the role of women, sexual education and many other workshops. SOMA empowerment manual has been created in partnership with "Por Todas Nós", "Oriunda" and "Kre Ser".

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"Some of the best things that happened in my life were the moment I started to be politically aware and the moment I started  to surf.  SOMA includes both, how could I not be part of this project?!"

Patricia Silva

Empowerment Manager

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Through the surf values of courage and comradery, we look to give these girls a chance to build their confidence and discover their potential. It is a bold ambition that needs all hands on deck, join us!

Tiara Teixeira,

Head of Product & Business

#5 SOCIAL ENTREPRISE
 Coming Soon

Designed to breakdown stigma, improve self-esteem, perseverance and social skills,  our surf program includes two surf lessons per week where our girls improve their surf skills and expand their minds through sea love, ocean conservation practices and surf sisterhood. A fun by-product is to develop great surfers! SOMA Surf Manual has been created in partnership with Joao Araújo e Instituto Politécnico de Viana do Castelo. 

 2
Editions in Sao Tomé

384
Hours of surf lessons 

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in a nutshell

60
Graduated Girls

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144
Hours spent on SOMA classroom

Coming Soon
Cape Verde & Portugal

Rapariga a surfar

About Us

Founded in 2020 | Non-Profit | Africa & Portugal

Raising the next generation of confident young women through surf therapy.

The closest place on earth to the middle of the planet, where the 0º latitude and 0º longitude points meet, you can find one of the world's least visited countries: Sao Tomé island… As the second smallest country in Africa, São Tomé saw the first local group of girls surf for the first time in late 2019 when our founder, Francisca Sequeira visited the island and invited a group of girls to a surf class... and just like that surf  literally 'took off' in the community of Santana and in the whole country! But so much more could be done! The fact that the no girls were surfing in São Tomé before represents the extreme gender inequality Santomense women face everyday. Knowing that this is a reality in the majority of the countries in Africa, and in an effort to support African girls, Francisca teamed up with mental health professionals, surf coaches and social activists to develop a complete surf therapy curriculum exclusive for girls aged 6-18 years old, becoming the first African surf therapy program exclusive to girls in the world. 

With an ambition to establish a gold standard program for women empowerment through surf therapy in Africa, SOMA has now 60 graduated girls. Its 3rd edition in Sao Tome starts in September 2022 . In 2023-24, we are looking forward to expand to Cape Vert and Portugal.  


SOMA is paddling towards a day where empowered women are surfing infinite waves of union , justice and sustainability across Africa.

 
 

Get Involved 

Travel & Volunteer

in São Tomé

MIN. 1 MONTH| PART-TIME 

Are you travelling to São Tomé? Stay with us at SOMA Surf House and help  our mentors in delivering daily activities of our program, from surf lessons  to helping the girls with their home work... and meet incredible people along the way!

Volunteer as a Mentor

in São Tomé

6 MONTHS | FULL-TIME

!Portuguese speakers only!

Each mentor is responsible for one of the 4 areas of intervention that has been allocated to him/her:

SURFING | ACADEMIC SUPPORT 

 PSYCHOEDUCATION | EMPOWERMENT 

Before departure, mentors will receive training (remote) and during the mission, mentors will be guided by each subject manager. 

 👉 Applications for the Sept-Feb '23 edition

are now open!

Join our HQ Team

Remote

MIN. 3-6 MONTHS  | 4HRS PER WEEK

SOMA back-office team are mostly  volunteers collaborating flexibly, remotely and async. If you a skilled marketer, content producer, social media guru, talent recruitment, economy expert or simply a passionate about gender equality, surf and have at least 4hrs/week to help, please reach out, we would love to have you on the team! 

Laura Castro

Editora chefe

Felipe Ramos

Assistente

Daniel Melo

Editor

Rafaela Mota

Designer

We are

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Francisca Sequeira

Founder

& Head of Intervention 

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Ailton
Abril

Santana Surf Club

President

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Rita
Xavier

General Manager

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Poné
Borges

Surf

Instructor

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Tiara
Teixeira Gaspar

Head of Product & Business 

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Rosy
Felix

Family Relations & Culture Manager

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Rita 
Vilaça

Field & Academic Manager

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Dr. Maria
Pais Romao

Psychoeducation 

Manager

 

Field Volunteers
Currently in São Tomé  for SOMA 3rd Edition (Mar-Sept '22). 

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Carlota Froes

Field Coordinator

& Academic Mentor

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Ricardo Teles

Surf

Mentor

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Matilde Assis

Psychoeducation

Mentor

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Laura Pausini

Women Empowerment Mentor

Our Partners & Sponsors

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