Youth in South African townships are regularly exposed to high levels of violence, neglect, poverty and volatile domestic lives. On average, South African youth experience 8 ‘highly traumatic’ events each year (compared to the UK/USA average of 4.8 per lifetime). Compounded over time, these have led to young people in the country developing emotional conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dysthymia and depression – conditions that compromise their ability to regulate behaviour, engage positively with their peers and achieve at school.
Waves for Change (W4C) uses surfing to engage the hardest- to-reach and most vulnerable youth in their communities and recruit them into programmes that address trauma, help them build resilience and support them in their educational and professional aspirations. It trains community members in surfing and in social work and turns disused township beaches into hubs for skills training. W4C was established by Tim Conibear who started offering surf lessons on a voluntary basis to youth from Masiphumelele who were mystified by it. Soon he realized the power that surf had in engaging youth and saw how emotional issues both affected them and prevented them from pursuing their objectives. W4C has now grown beyond its humble beginnings and aside from Masiphumelele, Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha (where between 59-82% of households live below the poverty level) in the Western Cape, has opened branches in the Eastern Cape (Port Elizabeth and East London) as well as Harper in Liberia.
EMpower’s 4th grant to Waves for Change will contribute to the salaries of three key staff and support them as they implement a programme of work seeking to expand the organisation’s programmatic reach while at the same time increasing the funding it receives from national and provincial government.
Primary Location: Cape Town
Funded Since: 2015
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.