Waves For Change (W4C), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that trains young people from Khayelitsha and the surrounding areas to swim and surf, got a big boost on Thursday February 23, when Breadline Africa handed the organisation two shipping containers.
The containers are to be used as a storage facility for the organisation at Monwabisi Beach.
W4C works with children from poor communities, equipping them with various skills. Waves For Change founder and director Timothy Cowbear, said in 2008 he discovered that children from poor areas were not exposed to swimming and surfing. It was three years later – in 2011 – that he established the organisation, focusing on mental conditioning.
Mr Cowbear strongly believes that surfing and swimming can play a pivotal role in training youth to deal with numerous life challenges.
A total of 230 children attend the lessons every week, but he hopes to reach 300, instilling in them the importance of helping each other.
Mr Cowbear said they were grateful for the donation and that they were always looking for people to sponsor them to expand their services. “The number of people drowning in the beach (Monwabisi) has now decreased. This beach is now a safer place because there are always people around. We have also trained a few local coaches who have gone and got better jobs,” he said.
Mr Cowbear said they would add academic programmes to improve their school performance. However, funding remained a major challenge.
Breadline Africa director, Marion Wagner, said she had followed the successes of W4C and seen its impact on the youth. She found their work to be inspirational and hoped to see the project growing. “We are thrilled to have donated these two shipping containers, and we hope that we are making a meaningful contribution to shaping the lives of these young people. We encourage them to continue doing the sterling work they do. We hope to see many of the children reaching their dreams,” she said.
W4C site manager, Lunga Sidzumo, said they have branches in Port Elizabeth and in some parts of the Western Cape.
He added that their branch was the biggest. He said when the organisation was started it had only one shipping container which was used for keeping their equipment. It now has five.