In 1998 Tom Hewitt started a project with street children in Durban called the Durban Street Team. In 2004 this became part of a bigger organisation that he and his wife, Bulelwa “Mandi” Hewitt started that year called Umthombo Street Children. Umthombo pioneered the idea of fusing high intensity engagement programmes, such as surfing, with psychosocial services as a model for empowering street children towards alternatives to street life.
Tom was CEO of Umthombo until 2012 when he handed over the reigns to a new CEO, Mpendulo Nyembe, a fantastic local South African social worker. Although now focused on his new global “street children advocacy”/surfing team, Surfers Not Street Children, Tom remains passionate about Umthombo and promotes its work as well as keeps his connection with the kids, particularly through surfing.
Umthombo’s website: www.umthombo.org