On Tuesday, Prince Harry and wife, Meghan, are visiting Waves for Change – an innovative charity that takes children out of the violent neighborhoods they live in and teaches them how to surf and, hopefully, how to heal.
Where they live is just a few miles away, but the contrast couldn’t be starker.
“It is better here because they shoot where we live,” said 12-year-old Chloe, “They shoot, they rape people, they abuse people.”
Waves for Change was started by Tim Conibear, who traveled to South Africa after graduating from university in the UK.
Between fifty and eighty children are brought to the beaches around False Bay for weekly sessions. First, they talk about their experiences in a kind of relaxed group therapy session – then they suit up in wetsuits and hit the waves.
Simply separating them from their environments so they can be be outside of gang and crime affected areas is important, says Keenan Adonis, a coach for the charity.
“Things like violence fascinates them. Because it's happening at their the next door neighbor's, it's happening in the next road. They stand near the crime scene. They want to see what is happening. They want to know, 'Is that my friend laying there?’” he said.
Adonis says that the kids like Chloe, who stick with the program, are transformed.
“It helps me because we have manners here, no swearing, no fighting and they care about us here,” Chloe said.