It may seem counterintuitive, but Rayne Moses says stepping away from Nebula, the Cape Town-based youth skateboarding programme he founded, was one of the best examples he could’ve set for his son and his students.
Now living and teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam, Moses uses what he’s learned to run skateboarding sessions for children born into poverty at the Blue Dragon Foundation and creates his own music with alternative hip-hop band Rebel Monk. He embodies the Nebula ethos of living your dream, but it wasn’t a decision made lightly…
Moses first came across the term ‘social entrepreneurship’ while studying at Cape Town’s Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA) in 2012. It was this that first inspired him to mentor and teach kids how to skate, alongside his teenage dream of building his very own skatepark.
“I quickly learned that building a skatepark wasn’t feasible with my given time frame for executing a project at TSiBA,” he explains. “This led me to find a group of kids from Gugulethu who I could teach how to skate while also providing maths tutoring and building a clothing brand that would grow to support our after-school programme.”
Over the years Nebula evolved to include creative, life skills and entrepreneurial workshops, but Moses says it wasn’t until year three that he understood the true value of his involvement.
“I realised our real work is being positive role models and offering support to kids who need it. It’s not something you can put a price on and it’s difficult to measure, but it’s my work,” he says.
So, when he found himself increasingly bogged down in administration and struggling to support his young family, he decided he needed to take a step back and adapt to continue to lead by example.
“It really took a lot to achieve what we did with Nebula in Cape Town, but at some point I needed to make a change. Once you are clear on your purpose and remain focused, it makes everything else easier,” he says.
Moses now runs biweekly skateboarding sessions for the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Hanoi, Vietnam who help children born into poverty. The Foundation offers children and families in crisis the chance to turn their lives around by providing practical solutions to daily problems. While he hasn’t ruled out a return to Nebula in Cape Town in the future, for now, working in partnership with Blue Dragon under the auspices of Nebula Vietnam enables Moses to use what he’s learned to help children in need in a way that works best for him and his family.
“Each session involves a check-in and check-out, free skating and one-on-one trick tips,” Moses says. “During our check-outs we reflect on the session and discuss learnings that can be applied to our personal lives.
“After teaching here almost two years I can see which kids are really developing the passion for skateboarding. I am very clear on what I want to see now – at least one kid who is still skateboarding 10 years from now and approaches life with a Nebula Skate of Mind.”
Moses’ final words for others facing a similar challenge? “The only pressure we have is the pressure we put on ourselves.”
“Keep it simple, clear and within your capacity,” he says. “Have a clear vision, a well thought-out strategy and then go for it!”