Tom Hewitt, CEO & Founder
Tom Hewitt MBE, is founder of Surfers Not Street Children. He is committed to a global popular movement around the rights and potential of street children. Tom is a campaigner who has worked ‘in the field’ with street children in Africa for over 27 years. He founded the Durban Street Team in 1998 which went on to become Surfers Not Street Children in 2012. Tom was awarded and MBE by HRH Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 for his work with street children in Africa. In 2018 he founded Tofo Surf Club for children at risk of street connectedness in Tofo, Mozambique. Tom also founded the british charity, Surfers Not Street Children UK in 2018, to support the work in both South Africa and Mozambique and to spearhead his advocacy work.
Tom is perhaps most well known for his successful advocacy campaign to end the forced removals of street children in Durban, South Africa. These round-ups used to take place to “clean” the streets ahead of international conferences and events. He called for compassionate responses to street children based on psychosocial care. Tom is also well known for his model of fusing surfing with mentorship to empower street children in Durban. He assisted the national Department of Social Development in South Africa with its development of new policies around working with street children there. He has visited and in some cases worked with street children projects in South Africa, Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, India, Ethiopia, Uganda, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Peru and Brazil.
Tom was born in the UK and relocated to South Africa in his late teens. He studied Politics for four years at the University of San Francisco, California where he graduated with a BA major in Politics (summa cum laude) and a minor in Peace and Justice Studies with eight University awards.
Tom is a life-long surfer and splits his surf time between riding shortboard and competing in surf SUPing (both in SA and UK). He is a brand ambassador for O’Neill wetsuits and apparel and is also sponsored by Fabio Giacomini SUP’s, Island Style accessories and Overboard Waterproof bags.