My heavy package has traveled 13 000 kms with me and has finally reached its destination. I’m excited to meet its recipients. Nikki, “Aunt Cal” and I are welcomed by about 10 wetsuit-clad kids with big smiles and cold, soft hands fresh from the cold Atlantic Ocean.With a handshake and a clear and heart-felt “Welcome, my name is ...” they show us into the 9Miles project clubhouse right on Strandfontein beach.
9MilesProject is a registered non-profit organisation that was founded in Cape Townin 2013. The project supports youth in coastal informal settlements and provides mentorship and support to at-risk youth in the areas of Cape Town, Elands Bay, and St Francis Bay. The project is a haven and refuge for youth who have very few positive role models in their lives.
I unpacked the two donated Labdoo computers from my bag amidst the kids’ quiet expectation.9Miles provides afterschool homework and literacy programmes and the Labdoo laptops (now 4 in total) will join the existing desktop machines in the computer lab at the clubhouse. The kids learn how to use the Internet for assignments and projects, and the computers give them access to online learning and reading, and help to bridge the huge digital gap experienced by the impoverished children in the informal settlements that they come from.
The clubhouse is also home to a foosball and table tennis table, a creative room where the kids craft and paint, as well as a music room with guitars and African drums in order to power out when the ocean doesn’t allow for surfing. A small kitchen offers hot tea and daily meals as surfing, swimming and water sports can get you very hungry, and for many it’s their only meal of the day!
Apart from surf and swimming lessons, 9Miles offers supplementary academic support,literacy programs, computer literacy training, enterprise skills development and feeding programs. The children also receive mentorship and support which reinforces the benefits of positive and healthy lifestyle choices and reaffirms that anything is possible regardless of their situation!
Motivated by his love for surfing and the pivotal role that the discipline of this activity played in his life, Nigel Savel, along with his wife Sher’Neil,started the project 6 years ago with the vision of improving their crime and drug-scourged community. Nigel recognized that the children growing up in the surrounding informal settlements were living with gangsters and drug dealers as role models and that there were very few organized activities or programs to motivate and mould young impressionable minds. Surfing was used as a catalyst to entice students to the project and to teach them discipline, determinationand life skills.
The combination of surfing, life skills education, and mentorship is a dynamic triowhich produces lasting character, enhances self-worth and develops a goal oriented mindset.
The project, which runs on donations, is open 6 days aweek and offers a safe and heartfelt place to spend the afternoons. The next challenge for 9Miles is a fundraising drive for a new minibus so that the kidsand teens can safely be transported to the clubhouse from home, and on educational and fun trips. To learn more visit https://de-de.facebook.com/9MilesProject/
Ajimba partners with organizations like 9Miles to bring guests a unique travel experience which allow visitors to understand the lives of locals and give a helping hand while they discover the awe-inspiring sights of Southern Africa.Our tours are sustainable and support fair trade and transparent partnership.