cape town, south africa: waves for change

I have stayed in many AirBNB's in different cities over the years and have always had the best experiences in the coolest places with the kindest hosts ever. I love getting a local perspective and feeling more at home so I was so excited when AirBNB experiences launched! My mom and I have been following them closely and given that Cape Town is one of the featured locations, I thought it would be the perfect place to give it a try.

Upon looking at the options, I was so pleasantly surprised that there were social impact experiences, meaning 100% of proceeds go directly back to the NGO/non-profit you are doing the experience with! So amazing!!! I knew those I would select would be this type.

The first time I went surfing was in Pacifica, California with Natalie (@wordsmeetwalls) last year. I absolutely loved it then and given South Africa's reputation for surfing, I knew I wanted to try it again during my time here!! It was so exciting to find Apish's Surf with Purpose program for Waves for Change to be able to surf and also give back and learn more about the community all at the same time.

Me and Apish post-surfing!!

Me and Apish post-surfing!!

We met in Muizenberg early Monday morning and hopped right out there! Apish has the most warm and encouraging energy and was such a joy to be around, especially when you are learning something new. I got up on my first try and even managed to ride all the way to the beach on some waves! It was so much fun. I always say I'm so much of a Pisces given my love for water. There is something so unbelievably calming to me about swimming/water activities and being one with the flowing waves. I cannot wait to go somewhere else again on my trip!

Apish leads Waves for Change: "an award-winning program to improve the wellbeing and emotional stability of young people who have been adversely effected by violence and abuse." Apish is the first surfer to come from his township, Masiphumelele, that means "we will succeed." The program has grown from 10 to 400 children, parents, teachers being involved from his township in only a few years! Incredible progress and growth.

Apish and his team of coaches teach surfing to kids every day after school. It was amazing hearing about the impact the program has on the kids and the joy brought from the experience. After surfing, Apish brought me to his township to experience where the kids in the program are coming from and how Waves from Change impacts them.

Although I was unfortunately sick and could not stay from lunch, Apish graciously welcomed me to see his home within the township and taught me so much about the culture and socio dynamics within the township. The exposure and skills Waves for Change gives to these kids that are overcoming a variety of barriers is astounding.

I am so grateful to have met Apish and learn more about Waves for Change. Plus! I am so excited social impact tourism is becoming more mainstream such as this. Apish even took AirBNB CEO Brian Chesky on the experience last week! If you are going to do activities anyways while traveling, why not select a program that gives back and enhances livelihoods?!

Lauren WittigComment