Global Reach: Grantee Partners

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The Isiqalo Foundation (Waves for Change)


Youth in South African townships are regularly exposed to high levels of violence, neglect, poverty and volatile domestic lives. On average, South African youth experience 8 ‘highly traumatic’ events each year (compared to the UK/USA average of 4.8 per lifetime). Compounded over time, these have led to young people in the country developing emotional conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dysthymia and depression – conditions that compromise their ability to regulate behaviour, engage positively with their peers and achieve at school.


The Isiqalo Foundation is a small non-governmental organisation which uses surfing to engage the hardest- to-reach and most vulnerable youth in their communities and recruit them into programmes that address trauma, help them build resilience and support them in their educational and professional aspirations. The Foundation’s only programme ‘Waves 4 Change’ (W4C) trains community members in surfing and in social work and turns disused township beaches into hubs for skills training. Currently W4C works in three communities: Lavender Hill, Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele. According to the 2011 City of Cape Town census, 59% of Lavender Hill households, 76% of Khayelitsha households, and 82% of Masiphumelele households live below the poverty level.

Current Grant:

EMpower’s 3rd grant to Waves For Change will support daily after-school surf therapy programming to improve the mental well-being of 370 youth who have been exposed to violence and abuse in three of Cape Town’s most violent communities (Masiphumelele, Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha).

You can support our work with The Isiqalo Foundation (Waves for Change) and our other grantee partners.

Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.