Founder Kshisya Tachanskaya is using the healing powers of the ocean, but needs your help.
Kshisya Tachanskaya describes herself as a Ukrainian, mother of two kids, and a surfer. She runs Good Days, a charity surf camp for refugees from Ukraine. Before the Russian invasion, Kshisya had been part of Ukraine’s tight-knit surfing community and enjoyed the couple of windswells that the Black Sea delivered each year.
When the bombs started raining down on her neighbourhood a year ago, she had one clear strategy; to get her and her kids to safety and the ocean. Leaving her husband behind to help fight the Russian invasion, Kshisya grabbed her daughter Evdokia, 7, and son, Kornii, 11, one bag of clothing, and drove the 2500 miles to Portugal.
It was an obvious choice. A keen surfer, she’d travelled to Peniche for the last five years working in a surf camp, and knew the healing powers of the ocean. Knowing that other Ukrainian refugees and their children were nearby and could benefit, she started the Good Days Camp at Baleal.
“The idea of my camp was to help to switch the kids’ attention from the war to the world of nature and surfing, and give them back their childhood,” she said. “And I knew it would be an opportunity for the mums to relax, process what they’d been through, and organize their thoughts about the future.”
With support from other Ukranian surfers and through crowdfunding, Kshisya organised five camps last year and taught 145 kids how to surf. The ocean provided an incredible rehabilitation program and helped the families deal with their situation as the war raged on.
Of course, the conflict is showing no signs of letting up in 2023. And so Kshisya is keen to expand her operation to try and help as many displaced Ukrainians as possible. “I want to continue my initiative and this year organize one more camp for at least 20 families.”
That camp is to be held in France from April 30 – May 6, with the support of the Coastline Kollektiv Surfcamp. And while Kshiya has raised enough to cover accommodation, food, and surf lessons for ten families, she has set up a Gofundme page to ensure she can take in as many families as possible.
“Surfing can help the children gain confidence, patience, respect, and self-belief,” she said. “It is what they really need now. Any donations will help them believe that there are good days ahead.”