Understanding the Impact of Trauma & Mental Health on Youth Economic Opportunity: A Case Study from South Africa

Tim Conibear, Matt Matilla
Waves 4 Change, Ashoka Fellows
Resource Type: 
Publication Date: 
Sep 27, 2018
Today, the impact of trauma on young people can be seen world-wide. From young migrants traveling to the Southern border from gang-violence affected communities in Central America, to young refugees displaced by conflict, the long-term implications for youth wellbeing and economic growth and opportunity are inexplicably linked. 
For many young people growing up in South Africa, violence is a part of daily life and has lasting effects on physical and mental health outcomes in adulthood. In the absence of emotional support, the stress often manifests in anti-social and high-risk behaviour.
Waves For Change (W4C) was founded by Ashoka Fellow Tim Conibear, alongside Apish Tshetsha and Bongani Ndlovu who recognised that surfing was a great way to engage young people. Early surfing sessions showed that participants noted improved feelings of belonging, strength, trust and confidence – key pillars of wellbeing. This was reflected in their behaviour as noted by teachers and parents.
This presentation explores the critical links between trauma, reslience and young peoples' economic opportunity. 
Soft Skills
Adolescent Girls
Conflict Area
Conflict Prevention
Men & Boys
Orphans & Vulnerable Children