Liberia's national surfing championship in the small fishing town of Robertsport is not just about surfing -- it is an escape for a generation scarred by more than a decade of civil war and then an Ebola epidemic. “A lot of kids seem to surf as an outlet to take their mind off the struggle of life,” says Universal Outreach, which organized the competition at the African surfing Mecca. Acknowledging the sport’s positive impact, the government gave the surfers land, and NGOs helped raise over $8,700 to build the club. Universal Outreach gave three surfers scholarships to a tourism and hospitality institute in Monrovia, and is trying to persuade the International Surf Association to visit and certify some of the surfers as professional instructors.

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