Waves for Change – Surf Therapy for Violent Communities

Lavender Hill

Lavender Hill
  • Launched In: August 2014
  • Services offered: Surf Therapy, Home Visits, School Visits, Social Worker, Soup Kitchen, Child and Youth Care trainin
  • Weekly reach: 60
  • Positions of Employment Created: 4

The community of Lavender Hill is located 20 kilometres from Cape Town city centre in the Cape Flats region of Cape Town. The community was originally formed as a part of apartheid’s Group Areas Act. Residents classified as ‘coloured’ were restricted to live in the community where access to the resources necessary for an adequate quality of life were often restricted.

According to the 2011 City of Cape Town census, 32,598 people reside in the community, 29.1 % of the residents are children under the age of 14 and 20% of the population are youth between the ages of 14-24. Due to the high rates of poverty within the community, it is faced with a number of challenges that compromise the mental health and well-being of the residents. 59% of households have a monthly income of R3,200 ($300) or less and only 18.2% of those aged 20 years and older have completed grade 12. 1% have competed higher education (City of Cape Town, 2011). This lack of financial and educational capital contributes to a variety of other prevalent social issues, including high crime rates, gang activity, child abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, HIV/AIDS, high rates of teenage pregnancy, and substandard mental health.

Children in the community are exposed to high levels of community violence. Crime is especially rife in the community, reflected in a strong gang presence. There are estimated to be around 150 gangs and an estimated 100,000 members in the Cape Flats region. Children are at-risk of both the forced involvement in gang activity and gang-related victimisation.

Waves for Change operates a drop-in centre at Muizenberg beach, a short walk from the community. Transport is provided when necessary, participants are also able to access our services on foot.