Tom Hewitt MBE – Campaigner/Advisor/Consultant/Speaker around the Urban Phenomenon of Street Children
- Director – Surfers Not Street Children
- Director – Freedom Tree
- (Founder and ex-CEO – Umthombo Street Children)
“Tom Hewitt MBE is committed to a”global popular movement around the rights and potential of street children.” He is a campaigner who has worked “in the field” with street children for over 20 years. He and his wife, Bulelwa, founded Umthombo Street Children in Durban, South Africa in 2004. It grew out of the Durban Street Team, that Tom had started in 1998. Tom was CEO of Umthombo between 2004 and 2012 when he handed over the reigns to a local South African social worker. In January 2011 Tom was awarded and MBE by Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II for his services to street children in Africa. Tom now runs Surfers Not Street Children an organisation committed to changing the way that society perceives and treats street children and campaigning around street children related advocacy issues. Within this he manages an incredible advocacy/surfing team consisting of three former street children who, through using the platform of surfing and as top surfers as well as charismatic speakers, are smashing perceptions around street children. (see the page on this site and the facebook page: Surfers Not Street Children).
Tom’s other involvements include advising, consulting and speaking around the global phenomenon of street children. He also provides technical fieldwork support, strategy advice as well as support around advocacy and campaigns. He works in different parts of Africa and further afield. He is based in Durban, South Africa which makes it easy to access the African continent and visits the UK regularly.
Tom is perhaps most well known for his successful advocacy campaign to end the forced removals (round-ups) of street children in Durban, South Africa, which used to take place to “clean-up” the streets ahead of international conferences and events. He called for more compassionate responses to street children. He is also known for pioneering Umthombo Street Children’s incredible model of fusing high-intensity engagement with psychosocial services demonstrated in its unique surfing initiative which has seen former street children becoming surfing instructors, lifeguards as well as sponsored and professional surfers. Tom also assisted the national Department of Social Development in South Africa with its development of new policies around working with street children there. Pic: Ocean Driven Media