Young man learning to row on a board made of a PET bottle: It changed my life – 03/26/2022

Mateus Nascimento da Silva grew up near the sea in Santa Catarina, but he didn’t have the courage to put his feet in the water. The course of his history changed a few years ago, when he, a student at Apae (Association of Distinguished Parents and Friends), discovered surfboards made from recycled PET bottles by Eco Garopaba. Based in the city of the same name, the NGO has been working in partnership with the association for six years, taking young people to take classes in Praia da Barra, on the edge of Lagoa Encantada, in SC. Today, at 24, Matthews rows standing on a standing paddle and already knows how to dive.

“In 2018, I met Carol and Jayrou in Apae. Before that I was too afraid to go into the sea and they helped me build the courage to start paddling slowly. The sea brings me so much energy and peace. I always wait for the day of paddling to come,” he said in a statement to sound echo. In addition, he says he has gained greater environmental awareness. “Echo Garopaba for me means caring for nature and the environment.”

The boy’s dream was to get acquainted with the press center Projac and Globo – and the NGO also helped to achieve this. “He wants to be a photographer and he wants to travel for the first time. We got tickets, accommodations and called our station contacts, where we’ve been on shows like ‘Jornal Nacional’ and Ana Maria Braga,” says Carolina Scorsin, creator of Eco Garopaba alongside her husband, surfer Jairo Lumertz. .

Carolina Scorsin and her husband, Jairo Lummertz, creators of Eco Garopaba

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“When I watched TV, I used to imagine what it would be like to be inside. My dream was to know how newspapers and soap operas are made,” recalls Matthews. He ensures that the experiences promoted by the organization changed his life. “I meet good people, go out more and make friends.”

Marilyn Ramos Nascimento, the young man’s mother, agrees, “Just watching his videos of him paddling over the board is a great victory. It brought him so many good things.” She says Matthews developed sequelae from an infection in the hospital soon after birth, at six months into her pregnancy. He was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).tea). “Thanks To work with an NGO, today he takes care of the environment, helps recycle trash at home and does a job compost. I learn many things from him,” says the mother.

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“I’ve lost my fear of water,” says Mateus.

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Founders Carolina and Jairo met 10 years ago in Praia do Rosa (SC). At the time, the surfer had just returned from Hawaii, where he lived from 2003 to 2011. And on the Hawaiian island of Oahu he began to get upset about the amount of trash in the oceans. So he decided to make something with recycled materials to draw attention to the need to conserve coastlines. Thus the first prototype of surfboards using PET bottles was born.

“I was pleased with the work he did and that’s how the history of the NGO began,” Carroll says. The two have started teaching environmental education classes in schools and hands-on workshops for children – they’ve already gone to more than 80 cities and taken more than 30,000 plastic bottles from Brazilian beaches. Today they do the cleaning effort, making their own plates and making earrings out of recycled milk cartons.

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Young man learning to surf on a recycled PET bottle board by NGO Eco Garopaba

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In 2012, the couple toured the entire southern and southeastern coast of Brazil taking the ecological board, as they call it, along with messages of conservation, environmental education and recycling while at the same time allowing young people and children access to sports.

Returning to Garopaba, in 2013, they founded Eco Garopaba, a non-profit association dedicated to environmental conservation, sports, and social inclusion. Since then, they have traveled to 14 Brazilian states and had the opportunity to speak with thousands of children and teens.

“Our mission is to make people aware of the need to preserve the environment, proper disposal of waste, reduce daily production of litter, reuse and recycle materials. As well as encourage sports and social inclusion through surfing”, Number.

Thinking of inclusivity, Jairo has also developed a panel dedicated to wheelchair users. “So that they can experience the fun of SUP paddling through this equipment,” says the surfer.

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