Kalpa Gandhari

Kalpa Gandhari, hailing from Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, is the programmes manager and former translator at SeaSisters. Founded in November 2018, SeaSisters is a social enterprise on Sri Lanka’s south coast, striving for a more inclusive and responsible surf community. Through the SeaSisters Swim & Surf Program, they create a safe space for Sri Lankan girls and women to enjoy the ocean, and influence mindsets around gender roles in Sri Lanka. She has studied Tourism and Hospitality Management and completed a Bachelor of Laws degree.

Describe the nature around you at the moment.

I live in a beautiful coastal village called Unawatuna in the southern part of Sri Lanka - it's green and beautiful. There is a small mountain behind my house and it is walking distance to the beautiful Unawatuna beach.

Where do you feel most at ease?

I feel most at ease at the beach. It doesn't matter what time it is, just sitting and watching the ocean and listening to the sounds of the waves gives me a calm and relaxed feeling. It's difficult to explain in words. I see a meditative rhythm in waves and with each passing wave all your worries go away.

What lessons about nature have you learned from SeaSisters?

I started to see and feel how beautiful the ocean is and how to reconnect to it through learning to swim and surf. I grew up near the ocean but as I didn’t know how to swim, I had a distant connection with it. When I was a child I used to go to the ocean with my father, but when I grew up and had a busy life I was disconnected from it. There was no reason to go there and there was always something else to do in life. So, participating in SeaSisters I started to realise how much I missed the ocean even though I live near it.

Which song, book or poem nurtured your relationship with nature?

Breathe by Becky Hemsley

What inspires you every day?

Every day is a new day and the opportunity to experience the beauty and possibilities of each day inspires me to keep going.

What rituals do you practise to keep you grounded?

I like to walk barefoot on grass and sand - especially on the beach.

How can we inspire others to take more responsibility? (question from #TheNatureKind interview with Helen Turner)

At SeaSisters our goal is to create a safe space for women to enjoy the ocean. But we are not only teaching them how to swim and surf. In our program we always educate them about environmental awareness. I believe when you start to become aware about the ocean then you start to love it - when you love something you always care. Sometimes it does not happen automatically in society but organisations like SeaSisters do it through their work. You can show people how to love nature and with love you are creating responsible people.

What question would you like to ask to the next person on #TNK?

When did you have your last sea bath?

You can find out more about SeaSisters here.

Photographs by Lasse Sahlin, Lizzie Goldsack, Lasse Sahlin and Siriwan Champorn.

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