Ending Cycles Of Violence, One Wave At A Time

Over the past year, award-winning South African Surf Therapy organization Waves For Change has partnered with fine artist and photographer Jared Aufrichtig. Together with participants from Waves for Change Surf Therapy courses running in Cape Town’s most violent townships,  the team implemented numerous photography workshops to document life in the townships and how Waves For Change is changing lives on a daily basis.


Jared said, “‘I’m honored and stoked to have been working with Waves for Change over the past year here in South Africa’ says Aufichtig, who has lead the series of creative workshops using “Photo-Voice” and ‘Art Therapy’ techniques to show how surfing is helping youth mediate the effects of trauma and make positive life choices.”

In township communities where up to 20% of young people exhibit emotional symptoms consistent with Post Traumatic Stress, Cape Town based NGO ‘Waves for Change‘ is fusing adapted surfing sessions with evidence based therapy programming to improve the wellbeing of children and young adults effected by violence or abuse.

Waves for Change‘ is launching an award winning film to raise awareness of how surfing is being used to address escalating levels of violence in South Africa’s townships.


Statistics That Inspire Waves For Change:

  • Violence: More than 50% of W4C participants have:
    • seen a shooting or stabbing
    • started a fight
    • been a victim of violence
  • More than 50% of W4C participants exhibit signs of emotional or conduct disouthsorder on entry to W4C
  • Over 60% of W4C participants display improved emotional wellbeing and conduct after 1 year of programming, as reported by parents and teachers.
  • Mental health:
    • Only 1% of South Africa’s mental health staff are allocated to youth
    • 75% South Africans with a mental illness have not received any treatment in the past year
  • Scope of Waves for Change’s reach this year:
    • 16 adults trained, certified, and employed
    • 250 participants a week reached
    • 150 homes visited
    • 40 teachers trained in mental health


About Waves for Change:

Waves for Change is the award winning initiative of Ashoka fellow Tim Conibear. Operating in some of South Africa’s most violent and unstable communities, Waves for Change works in partnership with local community members to deliver Surf Therapy programs that help young people effected by violence and abuse develop the coping mechanisms and emotional resilience needed to reach their true potential. Waves for Change is bringing the power of surfing to communities with no history of Ocean use, in contexts were high levels of violence and poverty have formed major barriers to successful aid interventions.

Waves for Change operates in three Cape Town townships that experience high levels of violence and poverty. The program reaches 250 young people each week, who receive 8 hours of programming delivered by trained local community members: the first members of their communities ever to surf. Waves for Change combines adapted surfing sessions with therapy sessions rooted in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Key partners of Waves for Change include Comic Relief, Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, Vimto soft-drinks, Surfing South Africa, Reef South Africa and the Ashoka Foundation.


#SurfTheraphy #WavesforChange




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