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Turning the tide for Aya

Here's an update from Waves for Change, in this blog they describe how sport has helped to transform the life of Aya...


We’re stoked to share the news that Ayabulela is back in school.

Following a family trauma two years ago, Ayabulela developed learning and behavioral difficulties. When we met him last year he was 15 and had already been out of school for several months, living at home with his grandmother who had become his legal guardian.

Following the initial trauma Aya dropped out of two local schools where he was frequently involved in fights and disputes with teachers. The financial pressure placed on his grandmother also made life especially hard, limiting Aya’s access to alternative education outside of the Kuyasa community, that is his home.

Aya started surfing with Waves for Change at the end of 2012. At the time, his grandmother was considering sending him out of the community to the rural eastern cape, away from the local gangs which presented an increasing risk to Aya as he spent more and more time on the street. Sending him out of the community would remove him from immediate danger, but would severely limit his access to good quality remedial care and alternative education that he needed.

Aya developed a quick affinity with the beach and surfing, forging early friendships with the W4C coaches who were in turn able to refer Aya to Nolwazi, W4C's resident councilor and social worker, who began addressing the domestic and learning issues that presented a significant barrier to Ayabulela’s future.

Now 16 and still learning at a Grade 6 level, Waves for Change has managed to secure Ayabulela’s re-entry to a school for special learners just outside of the Kuyasa community, with his Grandmother supporting his attendance. It’s early days but reports from his class teacher show that Aya is considerate in his approach and shows fewer of the volatile tendancies that were present in his life 2 years ago. Last week he led an enthusiastic presentation to learners in his class about surfing and how it has changed his life.


This blog post was produced by the Waves for Change programme, for more information please visit or follow them on twitter @WavesforChange

Waves for Change, Isiqalo Foundation