MEET FRANCISCA & RITA
SOMA FOUNDER & GENERAL MANAGER
Currently, SOMA is the only infrastructure in place for young women to learn to surf, and though the limited resources and well-established gender roles present their own sets of challenges, SOMA founder Francisca Sequeira maintains a positive vision for the future.
Originally from Portugal, Francisca first visited the islands as a flight attendant in 2017, and has been drawn back ever since, with the belief that surfing can be a stepping stone to so much more in terms of self-discovery, especially for young girls. However, while surfing is a powerful tool, she believes it needs more, hence the development of SOMA.
Shortly after, fellow Portuguese-born Rita Xavier joined Francisca as SOMA’s General Manager. Together, the two handle the day-to-day operations that keep the organization running, from house visits to surf pickups, to helping develop future programs within SOMA.
SOMA began with Francisca knocking on doors and asking if the young girls inside wanted to come surf with her. Luck would have it that the first door she knocked on happened to belong to Maura Selva.
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"Seeing them deciding to go out to the water and taking their surf boards, it's very transformative. It's when I feel like we are accomplishing our mission."