SURFERS NOT STREET CHILDREN - UMTHOMBO / O’‘NEILL

Surfing is helping empower the children of Durban

Tom Hewett has spent over 20 years working with street children. Through his passion for surfing, he has found a powerful tool in the transition from street life and helping heal the kids. They would originally watch Tom surf from the pier in Durban, and they simply asked if they could try it. The kids took to it, and immediately Tom realised that surfing could be a fantastic tool out of street life and towards something different in their lives.

Umthombo is an organisation based in Durban that empowers children that have found themselves living on the city streets, to be able to one day leave street life. The use of surfing as an activity has become one of the powerful drawcards, and the stoke of riding waves is having a profound effect on these kids.

“I got involved with O’Neill and Umthombo some years ago, when the team in South Africa told me about these street kids and the program Tom was running in Durban. says Rob Bain “I went to visit Tom , and was really blown away by the program and how stoked the kids were on surfing. What really resonated with me, was the when the kids put on their wetsuits, it was if they had suddenly put on a superman outfit. They became a surfer, and this instantly became empowerment, and gave them a huge amount of joy to go surf. For me surfing is escapism, and this was such an amazing example.

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