The Izivunguvungu MSC Foundation for Youth is looking to expand their offering this year and hopefully to grab the attention of even more children.The foundation has for years targeted children from Ocean View, Redhill, Masiphumelele and Simon’s Town to enrol them in sailing and singing programmes. “The sailing and the music is of tremendous benefit,” says commander Mike Oldham who carries out the programmes for Izivunguvungu. “The number-one thing is to get them off the streets, especially in the afternoons and weekends. Second is giving them a sense of belonging, and then it’s the discipline and giving them individual pride.”On Saturday 11 January, the children who form part of Izivunguvungu Youth Upliftment Sailing Project were invited onboard the record-holding Maserati trimaran (multihull boat) at the V&A Waterfront.“This was the most outstanding of the several events the learners from Ocean View and Masiphumelele were afforded during the holidays to bring some relief and happiness to their lives which are often surrounded by chaos and tragedy,” says Oldham.One of the members of the group was devastated during the December holidays after her brother was killed in Ocean View.In an attempt to keep the youth away from gang violence, the project is expanding to include Grade 3 and 4 learners. “More than 200 kids will now be exposed to sailing and music.”In addition to taking on younger learners, the foundation is also looking to set up a woodworking programme. “We are trying to set up a woodwork establishment in the Simon’s Town navy yard to teach the children basic woodwork skills. Our priority is to equip them with skills for after school.”Currently the sailing group learn skills to get them into TVET colleges. “We do beginner boat building as part of the sailing club.”With the woodworking programme, the foundation hopes to achieve the same. “They will have certain skills when they’ve left schools. This would prepare them – if they get a matric – to get into the Westlake TVET College.”To get the woodwork programme off the ground, Oldham is appealing to craftsmen in and around the far south to donate tools and time to impart these skills to the young learners.“Simons Town and Ocean View originally had 6 000 trade workers but now only 2 000. Many of them are no longer working or retired. We’d like to tap into voluntary participation from these skilled artisans.”For enquiries about these projects, contact commander Mike Oldham on email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 082 445 6857.