Episode 033: Amanda Prifti, Co-Founder of SeaSisters Sri Lanka, Surfer and Surf Photographer

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Months later, she was back to Sri Lanka, but this time for a bigger purpose- empowering the women of Sri Lanka through swimming and surfing. Amanda met co-founder Martina Butscher and they both decided to set up an NGO on the south coast to encourage more women to step up and break gender stereotypes. That is when they founded SeaSisters, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering and creating a safe space for women by teaching them to swim and to surf.

Despite the worldwide campaign for liberalism and equality, gender roles still create biases and limit the participation of women in social, economic and political affairs. This is especially observed in rural communities where tradition confines women inside the home. SeaSisters intend to rouse women to get out and improve themselves. The ocean is for everybody and connecting with it is a way to help the female community find their place. Swimming is also a skill that is not necessarily taught to girls in Sri Lanka. With SeaSisters, Amanda and Martina are on a mission to bridge that gap between genders and create a happy and safe space for mothers, daughters and sisters alike to enjoy the privileges of the ocean.

This exchange with Amanda speaks how great a woman can be without the boundaries imposed on her by prejudiced opinions. Amanda reveals the challenges and legal issues they faced to make SeaSisters come to life and how they were able to overcome each one of them even when their funds were running low. Their passion to empower women and break stereotypes became their fuel to set bigger goals for the next season. Amanda also shares how interested ones can apply for internship and other ways to help SeaSisters continue their mission. Sri Lanka is a paradise, not only for surfers, but for everyone.

As a surf photographer, Amanda talks a little about this profession and the must-haves for those aspiring to enter the field. If you are into visual arts, surf photography comes also as a splendid choice. Our world is so beautiful that no lens can fully capture how stunning it is. Everybody, regardless of gender, is accountable in sustaining our only home.

Episode Highlights:

  • 02:55 Academic Research Turns Sea Search
  • 06:08 Seasisters- In Touch with Womanhood
  • 12:37 Conquering the Fear of the Ocean
  • 16:10 Overcoming Obstacles
  • 23:38 Surfing for Sustainable Development
  • 28:24 SeaSisters Internship Opportunity
  • 29:15 Good News in Sri Lanka’s Political Climate & Tourism
  • 31:53 A Magical Surfing Experience in Sri Lanka
  • 34:51 The Surf Photography Profession

So today's conversation is a chat with Amanda Prifti. Amanda is an amazing young woman who started surfing later on in life. In fact, she took to surfing a few years ago when she traveled to Sri Lanka for four months to write her thesis. You could say she loved the lifestyle and the country so much.

“…as women begin to do something different, it'll start to change mindsets and expectations around gender roles… it doesn't matter if you’re man or woman, the ocean is for everybody.” –Amanda Prifti

She decided to co-found a nonprofit organization called SeaSisters with her business partner, Martina Burtscher. SeaSisters is empowering girls and women by teaching them to swim and surf. You'll find out what it's all about in the podcast. In this discussion, Amanda shares her story with surfing and with Sri Lanka, and the inception of her beautiful project. Today, Amanda is making a shift with the project to make it into a social enterprise. And we actually get into the nitty gritty of what a social enterprise is, and how it creates a financially sustainable alternative to the current project that has left Amanda and her business partner with a dangerously low bank account. Amanda is also a surf photographer and she shares some of her feedback in an ever-evolving digital landscape. Amanda's story is proof that you can make that shift and make a difference simultaneously, and she is really busting through the surfer stereotypes.

Connect with SeaSisters:

Resources Links:

Related Episodes:

Quotes:

  • 07:25 “I'm sure anyone who thinks back to their journey with surfing, it's a very up and down, challenging process where it builds confidence. It sort of makes you stronger in a lot of ways.” –Amanda Prifti
  • 11:06 “…as women begin to do something different, it'll start to change mindsets and expectations around gender roles… it doesn't matter if your man or woman, the ocean is for everybody.” –Amanda Prifti
  • 11:51 “One of the great things about it is seeing how everybody learns differently; seeing the pace and the sort of journey that everyone takes and just seeing the confidence that gets built...” –Amanda Prifti
  • 23:46 “When you reconnect local communities to the environment and the ocean, it spreads awareness of the challenges facing the environment, and then will foster a greater care for the environment and more sustainable practices. –Amanda Prifti
  • 339:49 “I think it's important to even just be there and show that it is something that women can do and forge forward in that space.” –Amanda Prifti
  • 41:32 “I wish that everyone has the opportunity to bond with the ocean and their environment and really experience the joy of surfing.” –Amanda Prifti

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