Surfers Not Street Children

 

Surfers Not Street Children is a charity that inspires change through surfing.

Founded by Tom Hewitt MBE, the charity was originally a maverick crew of social workers, carers and activists scouting the streets of downtown Durban. Since then, they have gone on to support and mentor over 3000 street children across three core programmes, one in Durban, Mozambique and a dedicated girls programme called ‘Girls Surf too’.

Stance has supported Surfers Not Street Children for the last five years and this year they wanted to do something a little different.

Driven by the famous quote 'you can’t be what you can’t see’ by the famous American Activist for children's rights Mariann Wright Edelman. They wanted to inspire the children on the programme to believe that they were equal and capable of surfing waves in the most unimaginable places.

'You can’t be what you can’t see’ 

 

Almost all the children in the programme have never travelled beyond their local townships or small villages in which they live. These were the children Stance wanted to inspire, so in the midst of storm Barra which was pummeling the UK, Stance invited Tom and three of the programme ambassadors out to the UK for a cold water surf trip that would push their boundaries well beyond the shorelines of South Africa.

The goal of the trip was to surf the world-famous, Thurso East, the most northern surf break in the United Kingdom and offer the ambassadors from the programme an experience that would not only last them a lifetime but also inspire thousands of street children back home to turn from street life to surf life.

  

 

We caught up with Sung Min Cho (Mini for short) and S’nenhlanhla Makhubu, (S’ne for short) to see how Surfers Not Street Children has shaped their lives.

Mini: My Name is Mini Cho, affectionately known as the “The Mozambican Surfer”. I’m 22 years old and I’m the first and only current Professional surfer from Mozambique. I’m also the Director of Surfers Not Street Children in Mozambique.

What age did you first step on a surfboard?

I started surfing much later than most modern-day professional surfers. My first experience in the ocean surfing only came when I was 14 years old.

How has Surfers Not Street Children helped you personally?

On the very first trip Surfers not Street Children did to Mozambique I was inspired by the ex-street kids that came up, they had such incredible life stories of overcoming tough living conditions and hardships throughout their life but in the water surfed incredibly well and seemed happy and at peace with life. It resonated with my story. It showed me the therapeutic and healing effect surfing and the ocean can have on us. It inspired and motivated me to do the same in my home country of Mozambique.

Whats one bit of advice youd give to your younger self?

To never set boundaries on your dreams. Growing up as the first Mozambican surfer I never thought I’d be able to travel the world and to be a part of international surf crews doing amazing trips like this one we did to Scotland in partnership with Stance. I never thought I would be representing my country on the world stage in surf. I never thought I would be the director of an incredible Charity like Surfers Not Street Children and be able to inspire other kids the same way I got inspired by them.

 

 

S’ne: My name is S’nenhlanhla Makhubu, but I go by S’ne Makhubu just to keep it short and sweet. I am a black female surfer from Durban, South Africa and started surfing when I was 9 years old. I was already familiar with the ocean because I also did lifesaving and was a competitive swimmer. Coach Sandile Mqadi from Surfers Not Street Children taught me how to surf. I started competing in surfing a few years later and participated and represented South Africa in the ISA Junior Championships in Japan in 2017. I now compete in QS events, and I am a proud ambassador of the Surfers Not Street Children #girlssurftoo program.

What were your first thoughts stepping out into the cold of the North Atlantic?

My first thoughts were “THIS IS CRAZY!” Never have I ever imagined myself surfing or even being near the North Atlantic, so I was really bewildered to be stepping into it.

How has surfing shaped who you are today?

Surfing has indirectly taught me so much about life. It has shaped me into a more intuitive, patient, optimistic and resilient person. The whole process of waiting for your turn in the line up and when your turn comes you have to trust your gut that the wave, you’re choosing is the best, if it’s not, you have to keep your head up and try again.

To someone wanting to get into surfing, whats one tip youd give them?

My one tip would be to DO IT! Surfing is so much fun and is also good for you mentally and physically. Enjoy the ocean! 

 

 

And lastly, we checked in with SNSC founder Tom Hewitt MBE about what this trip meant for Surfers not Street Children.

Tom Hewitt MBE: 

‘The Scotland Cold Water Adventure was an absolutely incredible experience for the Surfers Not Street Children Ambassadors from South Africa and Mozambique. Not only did it provide a once in a lifetime polar opposite surf trip experience for the team, but it gave us an opportunity to meet incredible people, learn about the super interesting local culture and share about our work with children living in incredibly difficult circumstances in Durban and Tofo. Huge thanks to our friends and partner, Stance Europe for their long-standing support and for giving us this incredible opportunity.’

 

 

Head over to our YouTube and join the Surfers Not Street Children team on their Scotland Cold Water Adventure: