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Project information

Waves for Change

W4C develops beach side drop-in centres in township communities in South Africa, where surfing has never existed and beaches are disused. Targeting marginalised and neglected youth, centres provide extra social support to youth involved in street gangs, substance / physical abuse and street life.

The project is ongoing throughout the year subject to sufficient funding.

Charity information: The Isiqalo foundation

The Isiqalo foundation logo
  • Need


    W4C works in under-resourced ocean-side township communities where the burden of poverty and poor public services leave young adults from disadvantaged, broken or unstable backgrounds at high risk of neglect, violence and abuse. W4C aims to prevent marginalised youth living on the fringes of Township communities from dropping out of society and to integrate youth who have dropped out into new support structures which provide access to further social care.


    W4C uses the unique aesthetic of surfing to integrate marginalised youth from broken family backgrounds into new social structures (drop-in centres). Here, strong local adult role models (W4C Coaches) provide access to quality social support and care. W4C beneficiaries are hard to reach due to involvement in street gangs, street life, substance abuse or abusive family backgrounds. W4C offers a safe and attractive shelter and connection to the care and support at-risk youth need to flourish.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To prevent marginalised youth from broken backgrounds from dropping out of school.


    » By working with schools to identify vulnerable youth / youth at-risk.
    » W4C runs daily programming, using integrated surfing games to develop social skills, social awareness and new value and skill sets in vulnerable youth

    What success will look like

    W4C conducts monthly stakeholder visits with partner schools to evaluate and monitor W4C beneficiaries' progress.

    Aim 2

    The development of pro-social behaviour in marginalised youth involved in anti-social behaviour.


    » By engaging hard to reach young adults over a period of 1-3 years and connecting them to strong adult role models.
    » The use of non-formal educational programmes, rooted in surfing, to educate about social awareness, self management and forming positive values.

    What success will look like

    W4C uses pre and post programme surveys to monitor the change in knowledge and behaviour in participants.

    Aim 3

    Job creation in communities with 50% unemployment


    » Opening leadership positions within W4C for youth with incomplete educations.
    » Offering further non-formal training, internships and education to allow W4C leaders to take on increasing control and management of W4C over time.

    What success will look like

    W4C drop-in centres are driven by locally trained community members. W4C is able to demonstrate this using organigrams, video blogs and pictures from coach training.

    Aim 4

    The integration of street children, orphans & vulnerable youth into new support structures & care.


    » W4C works with community stakeholders to identify street children, orphans and neglected youth and integrates them into W4C drop-in centres.
    » W4C works with leading referral partners to connect vulnerable and neglected youth to quality follow-up care.
    » W4C employs full time councilors and social workers at drop-in centres to offer in-house support to vulnerable youth.

    What success will look like

    W4C keeps records of all beneficiaries passing through community drop-in centres and shares the successes in an annual report and quarterly newsletter.

  • Impact


    W4C creates safer and fairer communities for marginalised youth by increasing the capacity of under-resourced township schools and community groups to recognise and refer hard-to-reach young adults into W4C programming. W4C can demonstrate impact through the number of beneficiaries who report increased safety and inclusion at home and at school since joining W4C and the number of schools and programme stakeholders who show increased understanding of the rights of the most vulnerable.


    We partner with local schools to ensure we have adequate exposure to the community, with a steady flow of students. Every entrant is identified and entered by their school, ensuring we are working with kids that are identified as 'at risk'.

    We also partner with local health organisations and counceling services to offer appropriate referral centres to participants.

    We invest in new equipment to keep our centres well stocked and also train our coaches in first aid and lifesaving.


    We report quarterly to donors and also publish a quarterly newsletter.

    We regularly update our website, twitter, facebook and youtube accounts allowing daily interaction with our donors.

    We publish accounts and annual reports on our websites.

    All donors are invited to visit us in Cape Town!

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £10,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £2,500 Food provision of daily meal
      £3,500 Equipment Provision of surf boards and wetsuits for W4C drop-in centres
      £4,000 Social Worker Provision of in-house social worker to W4C drop-in centre

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Donations £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Waves for Change has 2 locations. Site 1 is Masiphumelele Township, on the Atlantic coast of the Cape Peninsula. Site 2 is at Monwabisi beach, next to Kuyasa (Khayelitsha Township - largest in the Western Cape). Neither township has seen surfing before and has no history of ocean use. Both have HIV prevalence of 25%+, and youth unemployment in excess of 50%. Site 2 - located at Monwabisi - sits in the middle of an area associated with high levels of youth-lead gang violence and street children.


    Youth from broken family backgrounds between the ages of 10-21 years old benefit as participants of the programme. Adults between the ages of 19-29 benefit as coaches of the programme. Referral schools benefit by gaining an outlet for problem youth. Families benefit by accessing social care. Waves for Change also produces resources, including the first ever township surf magazine, which is shared at local libraries and clinics. W4C also runs annual HIV education holiday camps with City Council.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Waves for Change project has grown out of several years work and research within South African townships. The project looks to employ only locals from the area and as such has developed a very close, sustainable relationship with the community. The programme has sound management and is overseen by a board of independent trustees. Waves for Change was a winner at the 2011 Beyond Sport Awards and is Short-listed as 'Best New Project' at the Beyond Sport Awards 2012.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Timothy Conibear - Program Director

    Tim has worked in the Masiphumelele township for 5 years. He has a BA Hons from Bristol University, is a qualified Surf Coach and Lifeguard.

    Apish Tshetsha

    Head coach of the W4C programme in Masi, Apish is the first ever internationally accredited surf coach from his community.

    Bongani Ndlovu

    Coach development officer - Bongs is a former participant and is in charge of coach training. He is a great mentor and a 2013 Allan Grey fellow.

    Elizebeth Benninger

    Elizabeth is a PHD researcher in the field of Child Trauma. She joined W4C in May 2014 to begin researching the impact of W4C on its host communities.

Daily meal for members of W4C street child project

Daily meal for members of W4C street child project


Sponsor a child for a year

Surfing made me realise i am special. If surfing can change me, i am sure it can change you.

Luxolo Poncu - 16 Yrs Old - W4C Monwabisi