Aiming to ignite a passion for environmental conservation and cultural heritage in the fragile regions of the Indian Ocean, Cora Cora Maldives’ General Manager Justin Swart and Director of Human Resources Muiz Mohamed have succeeded in a remarkable Zen paddleboard challenge. Together they have accomplished a stunning 186 km paddleboard circumnavigation of 21 islands in Raa Atoll, covering all inhabited islands and resorts. The #ReconnectinRAA campaign aims to expand awareness and commitment to conservation, and features beach clean-ups, marine conservation talks, symposiums, and cultural performances – all of which empower individuals to make a significant impact not just in the Maldives but across the world.
Teamwork underpinned Justin and Muiz’s success. And #ReconnectinRAA underlines this critical element with a powerful rallying call for individuals to join forces in various ways:
- Reconnect with Nature: By promoting sustainable practices and raising awareness about environmental conservation, participants recognise their role in protecting nature.
- Reconnect with Culture: By celebrating and preserving local traditions, music, dance, and artistic expressions, participants appreciate the rich tapestry of Maldivian heritage within Raa Atoll.
- Reconnect with the World: The event encourages people to broaden their horizons and reach out to the global community. Through the Zen Adventure of a Lifetime Campaign, people from around the globe can take part, matching the distance covered during the challenge in their own communities. This global movement fosters a sense of collective responsibility, inspiring sustainable choices, and contribution to positive change on a global scale. On completion, participants will receive Blue Tiki Coins, which can be used to plant mangroves.
Event milestones came thick and fast: the largest Beach Clean-Up Activity in Raa Atoll and the Longest Distance for Inflatable SUP Paddle Board in the Maldives.
Justin Swart, General Manager, Cora Cora Maldives, commented: “ReconnectinRAA was always meant to unite people and bring all walks of life together to create unity. That we most certainly did achieve. Paddling alongside my friend, Muiz, whom I wholeheartedly trust, has taught me a great deal about myself and the relationships we build along the way. This was and forever will be one of my greatest memories.”
The campaign objectives have a strong focus on launching Raa Atoll’s environmental awareness campaign #ReconnectinRAA. Key aims include reconnecting with the vibrant fibres of culture woven within each island, showcasing the beauty and cultural essence of Raa Atoll, raising environmental awareness and celebrating cultural heritage, Promoting Environmental Initiatives, Beating Plastic Pollution and Protecting Marine Life, and creating awareness of the challenges faced by low-lying countries, particularly in the context of climate change.
Dr. Abdulla Mausoom, Maldives Minister of Tourism, congratulated Cora Cora Maldives for undertaking such challenging and meaningful initiatives and recognised the extent of the resort’s work in line with the Maldives Tourism Masterplan to be the most Sustainable Tourism Destination in the world. He named Raa Atoll the “Champion in Sustainability and Culture Preservation in the Maldives” and hopes that other atolls will follow suit with the good example it has set.
Muiz Mohamed, Director of Human Resources, Cora Cora Maldives, added: “Facing my fear of the ocean made this challenge seem tough at the beginning. But once we were out there, the calmness of the sea eased our worries and anxiety so much that we forgot how physically demanding the challenge was. The peacefulness and beauty of nature surrounded us – a reminder of the beauty we need to protect to ensure our kids can enjoy the same paradise we are experiencing now. By empowering freedom footprints of change, we can maintain this paradise for generations. And with my friend, Justin, by my side, I kept paddling forward no matter what challenges were thrown at us.”
Cora Cora Maldives is pioneering the campaign through its commitment to sustainability and is guided by the pillars of its Freedom Footprints Programme, focusing on Environmental Stewardship, Community Empowerment, Cultural Preservation, and Partnerships for Positive Impact.
Since it opened in 2021 Cora Cora Maldives has collaborated with neighbouring islands to forge a better future for all, in the belief that even the smallest efforts can create a huge impact. Its ReconnectinRAA activities to date include the 186km Paddleboarding challenge of Justin and Muiz, Beach Clean-Up Activities on all inhabited islands of Raa Atoll, Seminars about Marine Life and Plastic Pollution, Cultural Presentations on the Islands, and the Environmental Symposium Call to Action: #BeatPlasticPollution #SaveOurSeas #Protect30x30. Cora Cora Maldives’ commitment to protecting the environment has been continuously recognised as it has been awarded the Green Globe Certification for two consecutive years. This impressive feat was particularly admirable as they were awarded the coveted certification within the first nine months of operation.