Hi, my name is Veta Wade , from Happy Hill, Montserrat. In 1997, at 17 years old I was evacuated from Montserrat to the United Kingdom, due to the eruption of our Soufriere Hills volcano. It caused a total devastation of more than half of our tiny island.
Approximately ,fourteen years later, I returned to Montserrat, determined to make my contribution to its redevelopment.
Growing up on an tiny island (approx 40 square miles) surrounded by the sea I was not able to swim. My parents were also scared of the sea and could not swim. As a teenager living in the UK, I taught myself to swim and later became certified as an Eco Diver & AIDA Freediver. This background has allowed me to now share my passion for the ocean with my community.
I started my ocean kids club, Fish 'N Fins in July 2015. It is available to children between the ages of 7 - 14 year old. Local children get swimming and sea safety lessons, go snorkeling, learn to identify fish, coral and invertebrates, and patrol our coral reef for marine debris and invasive species such as lionfish. Our program is creating the next generation of Caribbean ocean leaders, particularly profound for an island where few of us have ever experienced life under the sea!
I am proud to say that in less than one year, over 150 of our local children have been enjoying the ocean.
My story has also been featured in the coastal science online publication, Hakai Magazine , and Discover Montserrat !
However, ur biggest challenge is funding, which has been limited to my personal funds, as well as those of my family, friends, and a few interested local residents. I need your help to ensure the sustainability and growth of this unique program, for Montserrat and our youth; the value of which is immeasurable.
Your contributions will be allocated as follows:
Sponsorship of 25 Fish 'N Fins Kids (1 year) £2,056
Building Refurbishment £ 10,285
Swim & Snorkel Gear £1,244
Safety & Support £16,174
Project Management & Support £20,722
Fish 'n Fins Wear £2,777
Children's Entertainment £1,386
Staff Training £6,630
Total = £71,750
Go Fund Me and help to ensure that our program becomes self sustaining, and delivers quality training and resources to our children, so that they can continue to enjoy and learn about our magnificent seas irrespective of their social or financial background.
Already our children are loosing their fears of the sea, they are learning how to protect it, they are learning about careers in and around the ocean, they are developing strong life and sea safety skills equally and without gender distinction. All of which is having a positive spill-off to their parents, who now also want to learn to swim, snorkel and make responsible choices as it related to our Ocean. The impact of Fish 'n Fins is tremendous!
If you have ever travelled to the Caribbean you will have recognised how few locals can actually swim. Fish 'n Fins is changing this and with your help we will have the kick start we need to develop our project into it's next phase.
Support our movement; we need £71,750 , please Go Fund Me!
In return for your kind donation to this cause, I will be providing fortnightly updates on the progress of our program including photos and video clips.
P.S. Here are a couple testimonials from a parent and student on their Fish 'n Fins experience.
Cherise Aymer, mother of 9 and 10 year old, Elissia and Elisha Daley: “Fish ‘N Fins was a very educational experience for my girls. They thoroughly enjoyed the time spent swimming, learning of the underwater world and the instructors. Before Fish 'N Fins, they were afraid of the sea now they are more confident in the water. Thank you very much for the valuable services provided and hope there will be a repeat next summer.”
Renee Brade, 11 years old: “Fish 'N Fins is great, I really want to become a marine biologist!”