My name is Sergi; I'm one of the founders of Monster Divers, a Scuba diving school and restaurant based in Pulau Weh, an island in the north of Sumatra, Aceh, Indonesia. Our school was founded eight years ago by Nico, Nando, and me, three friends from Catalunya, Spain.
I would like to start by saying thanks from all the Monster team to everyone who is reading this now; it's so beautiful to know that people are using their time to support people and organizations who need it, the world feels like a better place just by thinking about this. We are living in difficult and strange times for the last year, the pandemic has changed the way we live and the way we understand the world, and many people have suffered the consequences in many different ways.
With this text, I would love to introduce you a bit to the monster family; how Monster Divers was created, and what it has become during these years. But I also write this to share the critical situation we are facing right now and how with everyone's help we will manage to save Monster Divers, keep the job positions for the monster team, and help the families that most need it.
I want to be clear and I will try to explain the project, as detailed as possible. It is difficult not to extend myself while explaining something important like this, but I'll try to keep it organized and not too long for everyone to understand. I highlighted what I thought would be important for all to know, feel free to scroll down to the points that interest you more, and if you have time, read it all. And please visit our website and social media channels; I will add the links below to the website, Facebook page, Instagram, and YouTube channel for you to know us better; to know what we have been doing here in Monster Divers.
To make simple, during my explanation, I will refer to the owners of Monster Divers, Niko, Nando, and I as "we".
All the monster family and I are incredibly grateful to all of you for offering your help and support. I can just thank you, again and again, with all the team, and I hope to see many of you very soon!
WHY ARE WE ASKING FOR HELP
It's been already more than a year since the pandemic started. In March 2020, the Indonesian government ordered to close all unessential business activities. They also closed the external borders of the country for tourists, followed by different measures, as many other countries did to stop the spread of Covid. Some business sectors have slowly recovered since then, but the tourism sector hasn't recovered yet, at all. Free movement inside the country has been allowed very recently, with many restrictions, but Indonesian local tourism represents a very small percentage of the total tourism volume in the country.
It's May 2021, when I'm writing this, external borders are still closed for tourists. Foreigners can only enter the country for work purposes. They have to go through quarantine, PCR tests and meet several requirements to be allowed in the country. The closest future doesn’t seem so bright for tourism either: it seems the Indonesian government is focusing its efforts on reopening Bali first. As the top tourist destination in the country, it might be able to receive tourists with more controls and limitations. But there is no official schedule for reopening yet. Companies didn’t receive any official announcements or any clues so far.
Pulau Weh is not one of the main tourism destinations, so we can anticipate that it will take a bit longer for the situation to get back to normal than in other more famous tourist destinations in Indonesia. We also believe that after borders open, nothing will happen immediately and sure there will be a period of slow work and adaptation until companies can be sustainable and profitable again.
About Monster Divers: before the pandemic started, we had a team of 14 people. During this year, we tried to keep the team together hoping this won't last long but we received only five customers, in one year!! Obviously, that's not enough and it is not possible to maintain for that long, salaries, operational costs, administration costs, rent of the shop and restaurant, company bank loan, fixed expenses (electricity, water, etc.), and a minimum living cost.
The company didn't receive any income since the start of the pandemic. For a while, we hold on to the money that the company was saving all these years in case something extraordinary like this happened. This money is now over. We have been doing some jobs out of Monster Divers during this pandemic. They are allowing us to keep up with the company and personal expenses until now.
Monster Divers has been running for 7 years. It has been beautiful and rewarding to share our passion with others, and for sure an unforgettable experience. Like for any other business money is an important consideration, but it was never the main point for Monster Divers. Since the pandemic started, the company has generated big losses for us, still, we never put ourselves in front, we wanted to be fair and keep as long as we could with the responsibilities we believe any company must-have. Even when the working activities were completely stopped, we paid full salaries for our workers until May 2020 and after, reduced salaries until December 2020. Few of them still keep a small salary until today while others come now and then, to do some freelance job that helps them to go through these difficult times. We also took care of the work insurance and the medical care for them and their families until December 2020; and until now we are still offering our support and help when they need it.
But we never thought this pandemic will last for so long. We always thought by this time of the year 2021 we would be working, maybe not full-time, but with some tourists already. It has turned not to be like this; and right now, we are arriving at a critical situation: company savings are gone, and we can't sustain all of this alone, that's why we finally decided that was time to ask for help.
We aim to save the company; we will assume the responsibilities for a part of the money needed for this goal. The other part is the focus of this project and the one we are asking your help for: with this campaign we aim to guarantee full salaries and one meal a day for all the monster team; working insurance and medical care for them and their families; pay the rent of the shop and few more expenses the shop generates. This will guarantee that they can keep doing some activities here; and the most important keep providing a decent life for them and their families.
In the next section, I will focus exclusively on explaining the project itself and how the money will be spent. But before I would like to explain briefly what are the other expenses, that we (the owners) will take care of.
On our side, the reality is that the company still have a bank loan in Spain (it was needed a while ago to save the company for the first time). It is a monthly payment that we are taking care of for the last 4 years and we still have to repay for few more years. I want to say thanks to our families, that are helping us with that for a while now. We also owe some money to family and friends, which have helped us with some investments for the business during these years.
We also have some maintenance costs. We need to take care of the buildings, diving equipment, compressor, boats, engines, etc. regularly. The maintenance of boats and engines represents a high cost and must be done regularly; the diving equipment and compressor must be, cleaned, serviced, and maintained strictly so we can guarantee the safety of our customers when we will be fully operational again. And we have to be even more strict now that we haven’t been using them for a long time. Even with this maintenance that we did to the equipment during all this time, few things must be replaced by new ones already.
There are also always lots of work to do on the buildings and structures of the shop: the tropical weather, humidity, storms, salty wind from the ocean, etc. damage our wooden platforms, roofs, pumps, bikes... If we don't take constant and strict care of all these things, when we want to resume activities, nothing will be usable and the cost to replace all those will be too high.
It took us many years and efforts that are difficult to explain to get where we are now. We put a lot of love and spent lots of time creating many of the structures and spaces of our shop ourselves. It also took the collaboration of many people through all this time that created and left a bit of their art and soul on these walls. It has been a huge money investment over time, to slowly buy the diving equipment, boats, machinery, tools, etc. Taking care of all these things and keeping them functional and beautiful as they are, is completely necessary. It's a hard task that must be done.
There are also visa expenses, village payments, and many other unexpected expenses that will occur during the year as it has always been the case during these past years.
We will put all our effort to cover all these expenses, and for that, the three of us will spend this year in Spain. Our families are there; it will help us with our living costs, and will allow us to keep working to pay for all these expenses. As the owners, we believe is our responsibility. We fought a lot for this company during these years; we gave all we had; we worked very hard without any economical return. We won’t give up without trying it all, and this is probably our last chance to save Monster Divers.
It is also a fact that I would like to mention, that the only help that the Indonesian government has offered to companies has been tax exemption, but with no benefits at all, there are no taxes to pay. Companies never received any other help, economic or not, from the government to alleviate the consequences of the pandemic (at least that I'm aware of).
We have been here on the island since the start of the pandemic; we have experienced the whole process until today. Health and freedom wise the situation was easy here, and we lived this pandemic in a very relaxed way compared to many other places, but economically it has been very difficult. Many people have adapted to the situation; they changed their old jobs looking for some income to survive, but not everyone has been so lucky. Many people are unemployed and having difficulties due to the lack of tourism and work offers that is affecting almost everyone on the island.
I hope that with this summary, you will understand why we are forced and have no more options but to look for help with this crowdfunding campaign. In the next sections, I will try to explain in detail what is our plan for Monster Divers and how the money from everyone’s collaboration will be distributed and used.
THE PROJECT IN DETAILS
In this section, I would like to specify what we are collecting money for and how your collaborations will be distributed and used. As I said I will try to be detailed but concise. That's why I prepared a SUMMARY of the project details at the end of this section, you can scroll down and read that only, for a shorter but still global view of the project.
This crowdfunding campaign is organized by the three owners of Monster Divers: Nico, Nando and I in collaboration with few monster friends.
We believe that in a project like this, it is very important to be open and clear on how the money will be used. Many of you will donate without even knowing us, that's why we want to clarify that NONE of this money will be used for the personal benefit of any of us.
As I explained in the section before, the project has been thought to last for one year time and intends to help to cover a part of the money needed to save Monster Divers. We want to believe and hope that after this time tourism will be back and the company will be able to sustain itself again.
The money collected in this crowdfunding will only be used to:
– Pay the staff salaries and provide one meal per day.
– Cover work and health insurance for workers.
– Pay the monthly rent of the shop.
– Cover the daily operational costs of the company, government payments, and project fees.
Next, I would like to explain these points a bit more deeply.
This project will last for one year and will start as soon as we have collected 1/3 of the total target amount.
During this year, we expect the business to be stopped or very slow, but with your help, we will be able to pay the salaries and offer one meal a day for our staff. These eight workers are the remaining of the monster team. The others, due to the uncertainty of the tourism business, found new jobs during this year and hopefully, one day will work with us again.
Apart from this, and as Indonesian law requires, all our workers will have work insurance and medical care covered for them and their families all the time.
We think is fair that any profit that the company might generate during the next year from diving activities or other methods, will be distributed in this way: 50% will be added straight away to the team salaries in equal parts, and 50% will be used for the shop maintenance and the extra expenses that the diving operation generates itself (gasoline, extra electricity, water, extra working hours, transport, etc...
We are not the owners of the land where Monster Divers and the Monster Kitchen are located, we rented this land during all these years to a local family. They are a big family: grandma, parents and five kids under 12 years old live together under one roof. As you might imagine they have been going through very difficult times since the last year. Their only sources of income are a small restaurant on the beach (that isn't working regularly right now) and the income from the rent of our place. This is the only money the whole family has right now to maintain such a big team. Of course, we pay our monthly rent since the start of the pandemic; they reduced the amount a bit, due to the situation. With your help, we will be able to keep paying the monthly rent for the next year and help them at the same time to outlive these difficult times.
Your donations will also help with some fixed costs and operational costs that the company generates. Some of them, like annual building permits or garbage collection taxes are fixed annual costs that we can already preview, as well as the payment of this crowdfunding project platform fees. Electricity, water, gasoline, and others depend on usage and company activity, we made a calculation based on the previous year when the company was closed. If we open the activity generates more of those expenses but as I explained, we will use a part of the benefits of the diving activities to pay these extra costs.
I want to finish by saying that with this project, we are not only looking just for a momentary 1-year solution. The survival of Monster Divers is also what makes this project a continuous and long-term benefit for all the team and the community around; otherwise after this 1-year help and once the project is finished all will be over. We truly believe that what Monster Divers do and give, is good for the local community in the short and long term. The tourism business, in general, provides direct and collateral jobs to many people on the island, allowing them to evolve and improve their family's living conditions. It provides a better future in many ways for all of them.
To end this section, I would like to share a summary of the project explained in brief points.
This crowdfunding campaign is organized by the three owners of Monster Divers, Nico, Nando, and I.
The project will last for one year and will start as soon as we received 1/3 of the total target amount, we will share a publication about this on our social media when this happens.
This is how we will use the money from your collaborations:
– Work for the team will be maintained, salaries (according to the hours of work and the minimum professional salaries established in the law, from the government of Indonesia and the regional government of Aceh), and one meal a day will be covered for eight people that are the permanent staff in Monster Divers..
– Work insurance and medical care will be covered for the workers and their families, as the law requires.
– Pay the monthly rent of the land where the diving school and restaurant are located.
– Operational expenses like electricity, water, gas, government permits and the project fees.
During the next year, any profit the company might generate will be distributed in this way: 50% will be added straight away to the team salaries in equal parts, and 50% will be used for the diving equipment, machinery and shop maintenance, and the extra expenses that the diving operation generates itself (gasoline, extra electricity, water, extra working hours, transport, etc.).
This crowdfunding intends to help to cover a part of the money needed to keep Monster Divers alive; any other expenses not described here will be covered by the owners and NONE of this money will be used for the personal benefit of any of us.
During the year following the launch of this project, we will upload here, on our website and social media, the bills from all expenses, salary reports, invoices, and any other proofs of income or expenses related to Monster Divers; for anyone to freely consult and with the only purpose of being clear with everyone who is helping us.
DISTRIBUTION OF DONATIONS IN NUMBERS
Now, I would like to describe by areas the amount of money we calculated we will need for this 1-year project. I would like you to understand that some calculations are fixed and some are estimations of what we will spend, based on previous experiences.
I will add a short description for everyone to understand every point. Remember, we will publish monthly, salaries report, the expenses, bills, and invoices generated by the project, here, on our website and Facebook page, for everyone to look up freely.
To end, I will sum all of the numbers and give the total amount (target) we need for the project to happen during this next year. Also, I will give a short explanation of what we will do in case we meet and exceed the target.
– Salaries of eight people for one-year: Rp200,280,000 or €11,716
The minimum legal salary per month in Aceh – Indonesia, for 40 h of work per week is Rp3,200,000 = €185.
We added some extra money on some salaries for transport and work trips. With these basics salaries, it is necessary especially for the workers who live far from the workplace and have to come every day.
Six workers will have a half-time position and two of them full-time position.
In the event of extra working hours needed, because we might have customers or other events, they will receive extra payment (extra time per hour or full month salaries depending on the situation).
– Insurance and medical care for eight people for one year: Rp25,974,912 = €1,440
This includes work insurance and medical care for the workers and their families.
Work insurance and medical care for one person per month is Rp270,572 = €15
– Food for the staff: Rp31.200.000 = €1.809
This calculation is for one meal a day for all our staff, of course, this is an estimation; prices of rice, fish, chicken, and vegetables can change a lot on the island, depending on supply. We will add any money needed in case we made it short in our calculations.
– Rent of the shop, price per year: Rp60,000,000 = €3,420
Monthly payment is Rp5,000,000 = €285
– Fixed costs like tax payments, electricity, water, cleaning, etc. per year: Rp 25.550.000 = €1,780
Go fund doesn´t charge any fees to us but the payment platform charge us 2 different fees, 2.9% that we will to the total and 0.25 € for every donation, this last one is not possible to calculate as we don't know how many donations we will receive, we count already in this section for 1000 donations, in case there is more we will cover with this cost ourselves.
The rest of the calculation is based on last year's bills when the shop was closed and without any customers. The number might change during this year depending on government rates and the activity in the shop. Again, we will publish the expenses and comment on any changes monthly.
TOTAL/ TARGET AMMOUNT
€20.165 + 2.9% Payment platform fees
This will be the minimum amount for Monster Divers to hold on to for one year. We hope during this time the global situation will change. We don't expect things to be the same as they were before the pandemic but we hope in one year our dive shop will be able to sustain itself again. We wish that by then, everyone will be able to enjoy the ocean with us, eat our delicious pizzas and tapas again and the monster family will stay together, to share our time, knowledge, and energy with all of you for a long time!
WHAT IF WE EXCEED THE TARGET OR WE DON'T MEET IT.
In the scenario of meeting and exceeding the target, we will use the extra money to help the local community around us; we already thought of many ways on how we could do that. During these years many people have been collaborating regularly with us: freelance workers like bejak drivers, extra diving guides, boat drivers, and many others. They are part of the family too; we didn't forget them and we have been helping and supporting many of them during this year of the pandemic. Like many others, they are facing difficult times and we hope the collection will be very successful and we can help them too.
We also would like to extend the one meal per day to other people from the community around us that need it and will be grateful for that.
Of course, we will make a special mention of it and we will publish and explain every detail: to whom and how this money is being distributed.
In the scenario of not meeting the target, we will try our best to collect the money missing in any other possible way. If finally, we couldn't make it and the money will not be enough, of course, the money we collected will be used as we already described and we will make a publication explaining what are the measures we will take from that moment in front.
MONSTER DIVERS AND THE MONSTER FAMILY
Monster Divers was born eight years ago from the friendship, passion, and hard work of Nico, Nando, and me. We all come from similar backgrounds, born and raised in little cities around Barcelona. We were the ones who put the first pillars where all this project stands now. But Monster Divers is a family and nothing would have been possible without the help, work, and the soul of many others!
About the Indonesian part of the family, that is the one who shares day after day the time with us and the one that this call for help focuses more on; I will add some photos here for everyone to see how the monster family looks like. Almost of all, they have been in Monster Divers for years. It is a big part of their lives, and they are a big part of Monster Divers too. They all have different origins and skills but I will say that over the years we finally ended up putting together a team with one common feature: they are all good-hearted people, and for us, this is probably the most important quality for any human being.
Every company has a structure and working positions, but in our philosophy and our daily operation, since the start, we have wanted to try to be all as equal as possible. And I think in Monster Divers we arrived at a point of balance where we made this possible; it might be not the most effective or profitable way to run a business but it is for sure the most beautiful, friendly, and happy way of working together. We all worked together to bring Monster Divers to the point is it today, of course, few things had changed with time and more after the pandemic. In the future, many other things will have to change to survive. We all have to evolve: our needs have changed, and we have adapted with time. But we hope and will try hard that this essence, this philosophy based on equality, respect, and friendship will prevail and Monster Divers will never lose this soul that makes it such a special place to be.
During these years, so many people have joined us; they shared time and experiences with us. Many left a bit of themselves forever with us in Monster Divers, we will not be the same without those many bits of everyone who has been here and got to love this place. Many of you might be reading this right now, and it's going to support us in this difficult moment! I will not start a list of names because it will be huge, we are so lucky we have shared time with so many amazing people. But believe me, when I say that we remember you and bring you inside, we go through memories often in conversations, thoughts, photos, by seeing your drawings on our walls, your art, or just by remembering this very special moment you were involved in. I hope to see many of you very soon, until then I'll take the opportunity to send you a huge monster hug and to say "thanks for sharing part of your lives and experiences with us"! And of course, I want to thank you with all my heart for all the support that we have already received from you guys!
It is really difficult and sometimes feels strange to talk good about ourselves. I'm sure that we are far from perfection and also sure during this time we all made mistakes, it's a human condition too. So instead of saying more about us, I will invite you to please visit Trip Advisor and Google Reviews to see what the people that spent time with us think about us, what they felt while being here, and what was their experience in Monster Divers. Please also visit our website, YouTube channel, Instagram, and Facebook page. I feel this will be the best way for you to understand who we are and to build your own opinion about Monster divers.
THANKS FOR EVERY LITTLE HELP, IT MEANS A LOT TO ALL OF US
- Jordi Pinzell
- Louise Hodges
- Beatriz Briones Fernández
- Daniel Jones
- Marcos Medina Briones
Fundraising team: Equipo de recaudación de fondos (2)
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more