Give a lift to get kids surfing

2017-05-23 06:00
Some of the young surfers who participated in the recent 9Miles surf challenge.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

Some of the young surfers who participated in the recent 9Miles surf challenge.PHOTO: Samantha Lee

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The 9Miles Project turns four years old this May and organisers are requesting help from their supporters to raise funds for a new vehicle. The organisation celebrates its fourth anniversary on Thursday.

Nigel Savel, 9Miles founder, says they are appealing to residents and businesses to help raise around R300 000 to help them buy a minibus. “In the case of our volunteers having a car, they would assist with transporting the students home in the evenings. However, this is not consistent as most times they do not have vehicles and we either walk with the kids or do multiple trips with our personal small cars when it is not in other use,” says Savel.

The students have been walking to and from the organisation which is based at Strandfontein Pavilion.

“Although the distance from their home is about a 20-minute walk to the clubhouse, it is not a route we consider very safe. For this reason, we most of the time try and walk with them. With winter fast approaching, the rain, coldness and shorter days would definitely result in lowered attendance of our after-school programmes which include help with reading, computer training and homework support.”

They hope to have the necessary funds within the next three months and will also be running fundraising events such as a car wash, group surfing lessons and raffles.

Savel had a vision to use surfing for the now drug and crime-infested community he spent most of his youth in.

Having moved out of the community for two years before starting the project, he noticed such deterioration in many of the youth and young adults each time he returned to visit. Through a combination of not having opportunity, the absence of positive mentorship and – for some – extremely poor circumstances, many had fallen victim to drugs and other destructive lifestyle habits. As a remedy to drugs and crime, Nigel and his wife Sher’Neil started the project.

Although formally registered on 26 March 2013, the organisation was officially launched with a community invitational surf challenge on 25 May 2013.

“Having our own microbus would help us to achieve so much in the form of empowering our students through learning adventures, cultural trips and taking students with us when we travel to our other outreach projects so that they can play a role in empowering other impoverished youth,” says Savel. “Whoever contributes towards our cause in obtaining a vehicle – regardless of the amount donated – would have their name on the design of the vehicle.”

Anyone wanting to get involved is urged to give in their own capacity, host a small fundraising event or speak to their corporate social responsibility committee at work to donate towards the 9Miles’ goal.

V For more information or to donate visit the 9Miles Project social media feeds, visit www.9milesproject.org, email info@9milesproject.org or call the office on 021 393 0436, Nigel Savel on 082 042 7701 or Sher’Neil on 082 997 8754.

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