Umthombo Surf Stars Flag

  • Award Entered:
    Sport For Social Inclusion Award
  • Parent Organisation:
    Umthombo Street Children-SA
  • Project Host Nation:
    South Africa
  • Overview of Project:
    Children’s psychosocial needs include being creative, happy and belonging. Street life often robs this from children living on the streets. This project aims to engage this group of socially isolated and excluded children, who were living much of their life high on glue in order to block out the traumas in their lives, in ‘high intensity’ programmes, capturing their attention for long periods daily and creating an environment where therapeutic services can be provided. Surfing provides them with a sense of excitement, freedom, courage and a newfound talent, which increases their belief in themselves as human beings, enhancing self worth and confidence. Teamwork and the access to child carers and social workers provides a sense of belonging as well as affection and love. Children participate in surfing competitions with other children, making them feel socially included. Beach games and sand play are used as non-directive therapeutic tools to stimulate disclosure of life stories and traumas and to ‘speak’ their innate feelings with support and guidance from trained staff. Surfing is also providing employment opportunities for older youth exiting this programme as they are being trained as lifeguards, scuba-divers and in surf shops and in other ocean related activities.

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