Girls Surf Too - Surfers Not Street Children Visit J-Bay
Surfers Not Street Children have been helping to transform the lives of vulnerable children in Durban for 25 years. By using a combination of psychosocial care, mentorship and surfing, they’ve been able to empower the children they work with to leave the streets behind for good and become independent and self-sustainable. Supporting individuals even when they have found employment to ensure that they don't find themselves at risk again.
In early 2019 Surfers Not Street Children (SNSC) launched their Girls Surf Too program, which is aimed specifically at girls who have found themselves living on the streets or who are living in very low budget, dangerous hostels in the Point district of Durban. These girls, some as young as 5, face a daily battle against sexual and physical violence, drugs, gangs and prostitution.
Despite only running for just over a year the program has already become a lifeline for at-risk young girls and is seeing some transformative results. Forty girls are currently part of the program which is run by an all-female, full-time team of social workers. Based at the SNSC Surf House, a drop-in centre for street children, it also doubles up on weekends as an emergency rescue centre for girls who need immediate removal from their situation, as the weekend is the time when the hostels become the most dangerous.
Getting the girls comfortable in the water first (swimming in the local pool initially before heading to the beach) is important for breaking down barriers before they start the process of mentoring, counselling, and education so the healing can start.
Back in July last year dryrobe helped fund a trip for the girls to Jeffreys Bay, South Africa to watch the J-Bay Corona Open, and to be part of the WSL Rising Tides event. This was an incredible opportunity for some of the girls to take in a world-class surfing competition, experiencing first-hand the atmosphere of the event and hopefully getting the chance to meet some of their idols.
The girls who were lucky enough to go were the peer leaders in the program, the girls who’d made great progress and who’d really helped support the others in the group. They were accompanied by a social worker and staff from SNSC on the trip.
The girls loved every second of the trip! They were welcomed with open arms by the WSL and the surfing community. They also got to meet some of their surfing heroes including Rosy Hodge, Courtney Conlogue, Bianca Buitendag, Mikey February, Gabriel Medina and surf legend Kelly Slater. The girls were absolutely stoked that Kelly took time to hang out and speak with them at the event. They even got to get in the water and surf with 7 X World Champion Stephanie Gilmore!
Not only did the girls have an incredibly fun time, but they also came back to Durban with a renewed enthusiasm for the sport and they truly felt part of the world surfing community.
In order for the Girls Surf Too program to continue SNSC needs funding. It costs $30,000 a year to run and they’re looking for enough money to help run the program for the next two years. They plan to use this money to support more at-risk girls, expand their offering to seven days a week, with longer hours at the daytime drop-in centre and they will be able to offer a nightly rescue centre - a safe space where girls can escape the brutal violence and horrors of the streets.
Find out how you can help fund the program here.
You can also support the charity by purchasing a limited edition Surfers Not Street Children dryrobe Advance. 100% of the profits go directly to the charity, supporting the vital work they do in Durban, South Africa and in Tofo, Mozambique.
Find out more about Surfers Not Street Children and the vital work the charity does at surfnotstreets.org.