Daniel, being a surf enthusiast, started Surfpop with the dream to share his love for surfing and the ocean with at-risk children and youth from disadvantaged communities who do not have the same opportunities as he did while growing up. Daniel has a background in Creative Brand Communications (BA), a wide experience in the tourism industry and a vast local and international network. He is the life and soul behind Surfpop and manages and oversees all program activities. He is also the founder and director of the affiliated Surfpop volunteer and tourism business in South Africa.
Céline joined Surfpop in 2018 with the dream to grow the program and introduce more children to the beauty and healing power of surfing. She has a background in Child Psychology (MSc) and International Development (MSc) with a focus on child protection, education, gender and development in conflict-affected regions. She has a wide work experience in program design, research, monitoring and evaluation, working with research institutes, NGOs, governments, UNICEF and other UN agencies in South Africa, Nigeria, Lebanon, the Horn of Africa and the Netherlands. She contributes to Surfpop’s program development, gender aspects, learning, monitoring and evaluation, and as a psychologist oversees the life coaching of the children.
Alwyn joined the Surfpop family in 2018 with the dream to grow Surfpop and further the children's opportunities through high-quality education. He has a background in Conservation Science (MSc) and studied further to obtain his CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). He conducted a wide variety of consultancies for UN agencies and is currently enrolled in the University of Illinois online MBA programme. He plays a key role in the Surfpop classroom, further developing the Surfpop education curriculum and tools, and he manages all financial aspects of Surfpop.
Ayanda joined the Surfpop team as a trainee surf coach in February 2020. In 2015, he was one of the first Surfpop beneficiaries from Masiphumelele township. As he turned 17 years, he showed a keen interest in working for Surfpop, and to prove that he started to take on more responsibilities in the program. When he turned 18 years in December 2019, Ayanda indicated that he would love to work for Surfpop and Surfpop was just as keen to offer him a position as trainee. Surfpop is training him to become a surf coach and also offers him various online courses in English and tourism. Ayanda understands the Surfpop program like no other and always goes the extra mile. To him Surfpop is a family and with a big smile on his face he nurtures that family feeling, making sure that all children feel safe and at home.
Bomkazi was born in the Eastern Cape and grew up in Masiphumelele township. She joined Surfpop in 2018 to keep the Surfpop classroom clean. Since then she has grown within Surfpop, taking on more and more responsibilities. Currently, she is responsible for cleaning, cooking and translations. Bomkazi keeps the Surfpop classrooms and kitchen clean, prepares the daily healthy vegetable soups for the Surfpop children, and as a strong Xhosa speaker provides translation support. As translator, she ensures good communication with the Surfpop families, schools and wider community and helps with Xhosa tutoring, life coaching and parent days. Bomkazi is kind, patient and reliable. She is good at what she does and connects really well with the Surfpop children and the various stakeholders whom she interacts with.
Wela, who lives in Masiphumelele, joined Surfpop in February 2020 as the driver. He makes sure that the Surfpop children and volunteers travel safely and in a timely manner between Masiphumelele and the Surfpop headquarters in Muizenberg. He is reliable, kind and committed to the Surfpop dream. But he is more than the driver. Wela looks after the children when they are in the Surfpop bus, teaching them to listen, show respect and care for each other, just like a family. Wela has never surfed before, but he is interested to learn. Soon, you will see him on his surfboard in Muizenberg too.
Shaleen lives in Masiphumelele. She joined Surfpop in July 2020 as the teacher. It is her dream to give love and education to children with limited opportunities: a dream that has been instilled by her parents, who have fostered many children in their home. In her role as Surfpop teacher, Shaleen aims to make a positive impact in the lives of the young generation of Masiphumelele, so one day they can be the leaders of tomorrow. She completed her teacher education at the University of Zimbabwe and, since then, has taught at a variety of schools, before joining Surfpop. Shaleen connects incredibly well with the Surfpop children based on her principles of respect, trust and kindness.