Singapore-based Australian schoolteacher gets Humanitarian of the Year
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 18 November, 2014 - SurfAid founder Dr Dave Jenkins presented the award to English at the recent OzForex SurfAid Cup in Sydney, Australia. English competed at the fundraising event with his team, dubbed “The Paddlers”, and they won the surfing section.
Dr Jenkins said that English has been SurfAid’s most prolific individual fundraiser in the 14-year history of the non-profit organisation that focuses on community development in remote areas of Indonesia.
“Jackson English is someone who inspires us to do and give more,” Dr Jenkins said. “Not only is he one of the world’s best paddling athletes, a father of three young children, and head of department in one of the best and biggest high schools in Asia, but he has helped SurfAid save more children than any other volunteer fundraiser.”
Dr Jenkins said that every year English leads the charge by example. “He has inspired his school and the children of the United World College of South East Asia to action. Overall, Jackson has been responsible for raising more than $500,000 for SurfAid and it is very fitting to honour his efforts by awarding him the SurfAid Humanitarian of the Year Award 2014.”
English said it was a great honour to receive the award. “I accept this on behalf of everyone who has contributed to the incredible work that SurfAid does year in, year out for the people of the Mentawai Islands, off West Sumatra, Indonesia.
“With three healthy children of my own, it breaks my heart to go out to the Mentawais and see young kids suffering from diseases that are easily preventable,” he said.
English said it was fortunate that Singapore has an outstanding community at the United World College of South East Asia who support SurfAid and the work they do.
“Through a number of student-led initiatives we have been able to hold events such as the Swim 4 Life, Beach Clean Up and Spirit of Akasha surf movie nights, supported by Quiksilver and Wavehouse Sentosa, to raise vital funds and awareness for SurfAid,” he said.
“On a personal level I've been able to bring together my love for the Mentawais and open-ocean paddling together and use events such as the Molokai 2 Oahu paddleboard race to spread the word about SurfAid.
“We are all in a position to be able to help others. I've been lucky enough to combine the passions I have for surfing, paddling and education to inspire others to do great things to help people who really need it. And I look forward to supporting the great work that SurfAid does for many more years to come.”
On a personal level, English is moving back to Australia next month after more than 10 years living in Singapore and working at UWCSEA.
“It's time to move home to the NSW Central Coast where my wife Anna and I originally come from and where our kids have never lived. Living and working in Singapore has been an extraordinary experience and something I will never forget,” he said.
“While we move on, SurfAid in Singapore is in great hands with a group of close to 30 high school students and more than 150 primary school students part of weekly learning activities that focus on SurfAid and the amazing work they do.
“The SurfAid Global Concerns activities and particularly the Swim 4 Life, our annual event for SurfAid, is one thing I look forward to hearing more about in the New Year as I start searching for a new job in Australia."