Diving with Purpose:

Reef Conservation

through Local Empowerment

Coral reefs provide daily food and income for millions of people, give over 25% of marine species a home to grow up in, protect coastal communities from erosion, flooding and storms, create billions of dollars in revenue for tourism and other industries, plus combat climate change by converting carbon dioxide into oxygen (over half of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from corals). 

Cartagena's surrounding islands are home to healthy coral and thriving tourism. However, the Afro-Colombian island communities live in poverty due to a history of structural racism and environmental exploitation. With few formal job opportunities, the local economy on the islands is based on fishing, which can include unsustainable practices such as dynamite fishing, using nets that do not comply with regulations and capturing animals that are endangered. Regrettably, professional dive courses and training are too expensive for most locals and thus many have never seen a coral reef, do not benefit from the dive industry, and do not play a role in protecting their own ecosystem. 

 

We seek to change unsustainable fishing practices in addition to local unemployment by training select youth from the island town of Bocachica to see their reef and become professional divers. Tourists create a demand for professional dive guides and scientists need coral reef monitors--positions that could be filled by the native population if they had adequate training. 

To date we have taken over 60 island youth to see their own coral reef, many of which have completed PADI certification courses as well. 100% of their training is funded by our dive center, Paraiso Dive Cartagena. This project furthermore takes special consideration to educate and train young girls as it has been shown time and time again that empowering females through education and economic advancement leads to more equal, sustainable communities. 

Our new SINERGIA house! 

Presenting our new project Sinergia ("Synergy" in English), focused on "Diving with Purpose" which brings conservation and educational projects to our reef and community. We are building the house directly in front of the famous Varadero reef and in the town of Bocachica. Sinergia is a hub that provides infrastructure and logistics (such as accommodation, diving operation, office space, lab materials, etc) for scientists, universities, artists, monitoring and data collectors, and NGOs to carry out their marine projects on-site. We believe that this will increase conservation of Varadero reef and furthermore bring opportunities for education and jobs to Bocachica town. If you know of marine conservation or education projects that would be interested in connecting with Sinergia, please put us in contact!

Help Finish Sinergia for Conservation & Social Inclusion! 

Sinergia is already a reality and we have funds to build the house and its infrastructure. We also have formed alliances with 20+ organizations, both in and outside of Colombia, interested in working with or bringing their own research and projects to Sinergia. 

 

However, since Covid-19 arrived to Colombia in March, all of Paraiso Dive's business has been canceled and we are expecting no income from tourism for the next several months. So far everything for Paraiso Dive and Sinergia has been completely funded by ourselves, little by little as we have grown. For our first time ever we are asking for your help to finish Sinergia, specifically we are raising an additional $10,000US to help purchase final lab materials, running seawater tables for research, freezers for samples, office equipment, and reliable electricity and hydraulic systems. 

Our Youth Training Program Goes Global!

For the past year we worked with RedBull Media and Right to Roam Films to choose two girls from our program for their newest short film, which was released on May 12th. Yassandra and Laura, the main characters, have done all of their diving through Paraiso Dive and are two of many youth who we have trained.  

 

Over the past 3 years, Paraiso Dive has taken 60 youth from Bocachica and surrounding island towns to see and learn about a coral reef for their first time, including several who have completed PADI certification course and are on their way to become professional divers. We believe that you do not fully value something until you see it, and one of the best ways to protect the reef is by educating the local community about its value while also giving them a means to earn an income by protecting it.

Certified PADI Dive Resort

Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in Cartagena, Colombia

Email: paraisodivecartagena@gmail.com

Phone/WhatsApp: +57 315 718 9483

English / Spanish

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