Waves for Change provides a child-friendly mental health service to at-risk youth living in unstable communities. Through access to safe spaces, caring mentors, and a provision of weekly Surf Therapy sessions, W4C gives children skills to cope with stress, regulate behaviour, build healing relationships, and make positive life choices.

How it started

Waves for Change started in 2009 as a small, informal weekend surf club for a handful of children from Masiphumelele in Cape Town. Every weekend co-founders Tim Conibear (from the UK) and Apish Tshetsha (a local Masiphumelele youth leader) would take the children surfing at Muizenberg beach.

As the weeks went by, the founders discovered that the children weren’t only coming because of the fun they were having, but they also came because they felt safe, heard, and connected.

Despite living in a community where they experienced an average of eight traumatic events every year, which decreased their self-esteem and impacted their physical health, the Waves for Change children had little-to-no access to much needed mental health services. Tim and Apish saw the surf club as an opportunity to try to meet that need.

Support during COVID-19

Waves for Change supports physical distancing without emotional isolation. They are translating their surf therapy into a remote delivery programme through their network of skilled youth coaches in the communities.

They need financial assistance to adapt their surf therapy programme:

  • R250 (monthly) towards internet data for youth coaches, who need to deliver a reliable remote service to children in the programme
  • R400 towards food boxes for families of children in the programme
  • R640 towards a telephonic debrief psychologist (cost per month)
  • R1 500 towards one-on-one mentorship for surf coaches (cost per month)

Click here to donate. 

Other ways to get involved:

  • Follow their social media for mental health updates
  • Share this campaign
  • Create a fundraiser to inspire and motivate your friends
  • Get your employer on board