Alternatives to street Life

FUN was the order of the day at the Hero’s Welcome beach event held in honour of the director of uMthombo Street Children SA, Mpendulo Nyembe, who undertook a 400km cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for local street children and youth.

On the day of the event, a multi-sports festival was held on the beach at which street-connected children, the youth and public took part in various sports which was followed by a prize giving and celebration of life. The publicity generated by this event resulted in the organisation receiving over 42 calls from young street-connected individuals and families seeking help.

uMthombo Street Children SA’s team is a fusion of social work professionals, community workers and childcare-trained former street-connected children and youth, focus on teenagers. uMthombo has a unique understanding of the dynamics of the street-connected child experience through its multiple years of involvement.

uMthombo’s holistic model leads children and youth out of street life towards alternatives. In many cases, this means reintegration back into their communities.

In cases where there is nowhere to return to, uMthombo refers children and youth to appropriate alternative care, and those older than 16 are supported to develop independent living, integrated into their communities. Due to complex multiple trauma, getting children and youth off the streets is a careful process. There are no quick-fixes, but children’s lives can be – and are being – transformed.

“Despite the calls for help, not a single person has yet come forward to offer financial help. uMthombo needs more resources to be able to respond effectively to these cries for help,” said Nyembe.


 A Durban NGO Director plans to cycle from London to Paris in 4 days, in a bid to raise funds for local street children and youth. uMthombo Street Children SA is inviting the public to sponsor his 400km ride. It is also inviting the private sector to partner with uMthombo as a social marketing opportunity.

He is calling on the public to quit complaining about beggars on the streets, and become part of the solution, while also having fun!

When Mpendulo returns, uMthombo is planning a “Heroes Welcome” event on 23rd June (7am), where the public is invited to join him on a ‘solidarity ride’ from Blue Lagoon to South beach, followed by a multi-sports festival on South Beach, where street-connected children, allies of uMthombo and members of the public will play team sports like mini-soccer, mini-cricket and volleyball on the beach. On Addington Beach, the more daring may sign up for surfing classes!

Many Durban beachfront businesses have joined this wider community initiative through sponsorship, so there will be many prizes to be won.

Entrance is Free – but donations are very welcome.

Mpendulo Nyembe, a past anti-apartheid activist from Ekurhuleni, has chosen working with the marginalised over politics or profit. He has spent the last 5 years at uMthombo Street Children SA developing a successful integrated approach to helping children and youth living on Durban’s streets imagine alternatives to street life, with many returning home and becoming productive members of society.

It is simple, he says: Street-connected children and youth need to feel they matter, that there is a point to their lives; and just like any kids, they need support to fulfil their life purpose.

More information can be found at or Facebook uMthombo Street Children SA.

People wanting to sponsor the ride are encouraged to register on (and search for umthombo street children).


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