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‘Young people have future of the planet in their hands’ says Laureus eco-campaigner Mike Horn on visit to AIDS awareness project

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CAPE TOWN, July 31, 2012
Renowned South African explorer and eco-campaigner Mike Horn, a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, has taken part in a highly successful visit with Laureus Foundation South Africa chairman and fellow Academy Member Morné du Plessis as well as Friend and Ambassador Bryan Habana to the Laureus-supported Waves for Change surfing project at Monwabisi Beach in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.
Mike Horn took to the water with enthusiastic youngsters who attend the project which was founded by the Isiqalo Foundation, the only organisation in the world which harnesses the power of surfing to address HIV/AIDS awareness.
In his career, Mike Horn has undertaken exceptional feats of endurance, determination and courage which have extended the boundaries of human achievement.  His latest expedition, in his 35-metre environmentally-friendly ocean-going yacht Pangaea, covers 100,000 kilometres, visiting the North Pole and all the continents and oceans. 
Horn is carrying with him a powerful environmental message through the ground-breaking Young Explorers Programme. Young adults from every continent have joined him on various sections of his journey around the world to discover the importance of nature and to learn about environmental issues. Now he is in Cape Town and he brought some of the young explorers with him to the Waves for Change project.
Mike Horn said: “Showing the natural beauty of Namibia and South Africa to 25 international young explorers is a great reason to return back to my homeland and as a member of the Laureus Academy I have the perfect opportunity to highlight the amazing work Laureus is doing in the Western Cape. I believe today’s young people have the future of the planet in their hands. Using surfing as a medium for cultural and emotional exchange is a great way of establishing hope in their hearts and paving the way for a better and brighter future. It was great to meet all the youngsters from the project today.”
Springbok rugby legend Morné du Plessis, the Chairman of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in South Africa, said: “We were excited to welcome Laureus Academy Member Mike Horn and his young explorers from Pangaea to our Waves for Change project in Khayelitsha. It was a momentous occasion for our local project to share and exchange ideas of what they do day to day and at the same time learn the expertise of these explorers and appreciate and understand the important environmental issues that affect the world today.”
Waves for Change aims to encourage young people to know their HIV status and to produce community peer leaders that will encourage a responsible and informed approach to the issues surrounding the spread of the virus. Other aims include increasing attendance at youth HIV testing centres. The project is also developing a curriculum that will equip youth leaders with skills to fight the stigma surrounding HIV in their communities. The visit will be a chance for the project to demonstrate how they use surfing to combat the spread of HIV and Aids in South Africa.
Tim Conibear, project leader for Waves For Change said, “This was a first for us. We were very excited to have Academy Members’ Morné du Plessis and Mike Horn as well as Friend and Ambassador Bryan Habana at Monwabisi Beach. Laureus has played an integral part in supporting us from grass roots level up to where we are now.”
Among Mike Horn’s previous ground-breaking exploits have been Latitude Zero, an 18-month circumnavigation of the Earth around the Equator, the Arktos Expedition, a solo circumnavigation of the Arctic Circle lasting 27 months and the North Pole Winter Expedition, the first ever night expedition to the North Pole.