Philanthropist scoops award

Tim Conibear receives his award for his Waves 4 Change programme.

A social entrepreneur has received one of the most prestigious awards for philanthropy for his development work with 250 children in Lavender Hill, Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele.

Tim Conibear can be seen on the beaches of Muizenberg, teaching children from these communities how to surf as part of the Waves 4 Change development programme and as a result he’s been given one of the Inyathelo Philanthropy awards for sports development.

Mr Conibear, who lives in Kalk Bay, is one of five people who won awards this year for their contribution towards social change.

His development work concentrates mainly on children aged between 11 and 14, who have experienced trauma, to acquire new coping skills and personal strength through surfing.

Nominations for the awards come from peers, members of the communities in which the philanthropists work, and by the non-profit organisations that they support. The winners are chosen by a panel of independent judges.

Inyathelo, The South African Institute for Advancement, celebrated 10 years of honouring individuals whose personal giving has contributed to sustainable social change in South Africa.

Five people were awarded at the Rotunda, Camps Bay, on Thursday November 3 in the categories of education, community sports, youth development, community development and family philanthropy.

Inyathelo acting executive director, Nomfundo Walaza, said that the awards are part of Inyathelo’s commitment to building a vibrant democracy in South Africa.

“Our awards seek to inspire others to give by recognising the incredible role models who live and work among us. Philanthropists pay a critical role in benefiting society through their interest, passion, generosity and foresight.

“At Inyathelo we hope that in acknowledging the individuals who commit their funds and resources to better the lives of others, we will encourage others to do the same,”said Ms Walaza.

The Waves 4 Change programme was started by Mr Conibear in 2011.

Today 20 surf and life coaches are employed by the programme. They are mentored by a team of three healthcare professionals who work with 250 children weekly, as well as 150 parents and 50 teachers.

Waves 4 Change believes that strong and healthy community connections enable the children to trust more, speak about their difficulties and imagine a better future.

Mr Conibear compared surfing to the situations some of the children have faced.

“It takes bravery, confidence and strength – all of the things that get knocked out of you when you go through a difficult experience, and we show them that they can get back up,” he said.

Plans are under way to extend the programme to East London, Port Elizabeth and possibly Liberia.