Mthobisi was a child that grew up in the streets of Durban. He lived n the streets in the Point, Durban. This is an area where the 26's prison gang operates and recruits the street children to carry out robbery on their behalf.
When Mthobisi had been very young his mother became sick and died. As a result of this he lived on the streets. He was a child who had a lot of energy and charisma he was well known of the streets of Durban. He would beg at traffic lights in order to fund his glue habit. This is extremely common on the streets of Durban as its numbs the senses and the fear of living on the streets of Durban can be temporarily forgotten.
Mthobisi became fascinated with the group of surfers that seemed different from the other kids on the streets and that is when he learnt that they were part of Surfers Not Street Children. He joined up straight away and he absolutely loved surfing. He began devoting all his time to it meaning he had less and less time engaged in street life.
He was desperate to change his life so at the age of 16 he joined the Surfhouse crew. He had missed out on so much education that no school would accept him back. Our staff prepared him to ensure that he had the best possible opportunities moving forward. He had always had an interest in in the restaurant industry. We obtained a job for him as a trainee coffee barista. There he excelled and he has been employee of the year at the Crow Cafe, Durban for two years in a row.
Mthobisi lived in the Surfhouse throughout this program and has just moved into a house that he rents with friends in Durban. He is now employed, independent and has learned the social nuances of community life. He has subsequently provided jobs at the coffee shop for two other former street children who have followed in his footsteps. We are extremely proud of him and shows how transformative the power of surfing and SNSC can be.
The Lindela family (name changed for protection) are two girls and two boy. The girls are 12 and 10 and the boys are 8 and 6. They live in a room in a shelter in the Point area of Durban with their parents. The parents fight a lot and the children were spending their time roaming the streets to keep away from that.
Our team met them through outreach work in the area.The eldest girl was identified as at risk of becoming a street child and through this our social worker was able to learn of their plight and intervene. Our social worker, Slindile, has started working with the parents and our team engages the children through surfing. They are all back in school now and spend their time at the surf club after school and on weekends.
The Surf Club has become a safe space for them whilst Slindile tries to work with the parents. The eldest girl was moving towards street life but is not focused on her surfing and her education. The kids are stoked on surfing but more importantly, they have support and encouragement which diverts them away from the dangers of street life and addresses the trauma in their lives. The program has changed the course of these children’s lives. NFS supports the salary of our social worker, Slindile, and the running of both the Surf Club and the Surfhouse so plays a crucial role in these children’s lives.
Nonjabulo is a child that SNSC worked closely with as whilst not homeless she was at high risk from moving to the streets. This term refers to any child whose situation is not stable and there is a high risk that without intervention and assistance that they will end up on the streets.
Her mother married a man who was not her father and left her with her older sister. Every time Nonjabulo went to her mother she was mistreated by the new family. However, when she was seventeen both her and her older sister decided that they had had enough and moved to Durban. They had no means of making an income so Nonjabulo’s sister began working as a prostitute in order to support them both.
Eventually the sister got a more stable job as well as a boyfriend. This meant that Nonjabulo was left on her own most of the day. During this time Nonjabulo had dropped out of school and would roam around the town and the beach. Our team intercepted her, over time developed a relationship of trust and invited her to join the Surf Club.
Finally she joined and explained to the staff that her sister had told her that she could no longer afford to pay for HER and that she would need to do what she had done to survive: prostitution.
Our team was able to engage with Nonjabulo and track down a wonderful relative, an Aunt, who was more than willing to have Nonjabulo live with her and to get her back into school. This has now happened and she is now in a loving environment. We continue to visit her and monitor her development. Had it not been for her interaction with SNSC, she would have become a prostitute on Durban’s city streets.