W4C is led by a management team of development specialists who have experience in both the corporate and NGO sectors, locally and internationally. Our coaches are trained and we enact internationally recognised Child Protection standards. With a track record of impact, robust governance practices and solid financial management structures and excellent fiscal management protocols, W4C is a trusted next generation adolescent mental health NGO working in both the Western and Eastern Cape of South Africa, with a head office in Cape Town. We have received clean, professional audits year on year
At a time when children’s brains are still flexible, our Surf Therapy service provides supportive and caring relationships which is key to reshaping the brain and responses to stress during adolescence.
- Evidence-driven Surf Therapy across five flagship sites in South Africa.
- Robust external research to generate learning to share with the sector.
- Best practice training and mentoring to support increased access to physical activity based, mental health and wellbeing promotion services across low and middle income countries.
The children and young people we work with are at the core of what we do. With them, we’ve created a set of values to drive our strategy and day-to-day interactions.
How it all started: Isiqalo
Waves for Change grew from voluntary weekend surfing sessions run at Muizenberg Beach, Cape Town, by founders Apish Tshetsha and Tim Conibear. Early research into the surfing sessions highlighted the valuable psycho-social support that was otherwise unavailable to the participants.
Understanding that the key to Waves for Change lay in mobilising passionate youth coaches, Waves for Change worked with universities and mental health practitioners to refine a coach training programme, pragmatic evaluation tools and a codified curriculum to leverage the social and emotional learning offered by surfing.
Founded as the Isiqalo Foundation Trust, Waves for Change delivers Surf Therapy courses through a network of South African Beach Hubs. Outside of South Africa, Waves for Change shares its training, curriculum and evaluation tools with an international network of partners: The Wave Alliance.
Surf Therapy with Mental Health at our core
Over the last ten years, Waves for Change has worked with community stakeholders, local and international universities, and referral partners to design and deliver a cost-effective and inclusive youth-focused well-being service. At the heart of our programme are youth from the same or similar contexts to our participants, who we recruit based on their values and commitment to being change-makers in their community. We support their work as surf therapy coaches by investing in their skills and understanding, and providing the resources – such as transport, lesson plans, surfboards, on-going management, and access to psychologists – they need to deliver impactful surf therapy sessions.
Where We Work
W4C operates Beach Safe Hubs in coastal communities affected by violence, poverty and conflict, where mental health services are often stigmatised and under-resourced.
Working in partnership with local community members, we identify, train and provide resources to Community Coaches to deliver the Surf Therapy service.
- Hout Bay
- Port Elizabeth
- East London
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you take volunteers at Waves for Change?
Can I apply to do an internship at Waves for Change?
I would like to apply to be a surf mentor, but I do not know how to surf. Can I still apply?
How can I arrange a visit to any Waves for Change site?
I am a journalist/photographer interested in visiting Waves for Change.