Former street kids make waves on the local surf scene

2014-07-01 00:00

A GROUP of former street children are literally making waves on the local surf scene. Initiated by Tom Hewitt, the project, Surfers Not Street Children, sought to offer orphaned children the opportunity to participate in the sport.

Hewitt, also recognised for founding the Umthombo Children’s Home, said that the home was still a passion of his but the Surfers Not Street Children project was another he took on in the hope of aiding orphans in what he called his “next chapter”.

“A team of eight are involved in the project, all of them are former street children but are all employed in careers relating to surfing. Some of them work at surf shops while others work as baristas along the beach; it really is a niche opportunity,” he said.

Although all eight, who are aged between 17 and 24, are now employed, they are still committed to the advocacy of street children, and use their success to inspire other street children around the world. The group are set to travel to Sierra Leone and Mozambique later this year to share their experiences and life stories and give surf demonstrations to other street children.

“The project is a mentoring programme; we are hoping to travel to more African countries so that the guys will be able to share their stories with others. The team compete in local competitions, and even though they did not make it through, two of them competed in the Mr Price Pro trials. One of the guys who is also a former orphan, Ntando Msibi, is a high-standing competitor and sponsored by Billabong,” he said.

Hewitt said that the group were invited to the event by local surf legend Jordy Smith and his sponsors, with whom the Surfers Not Street Children organisation work closely.

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