The 9 Miles Project
9Miles Project is a registered non-profit organisation that was founded in Cape Town in 2013. The project works with the youth of Strandfontein and surrounding informal settlements, and aims to provide mentorship and support to the at-risk youth in the area. This is achieved through surfing lessons, supplementary academic support, life skills and leadership training, health assessments, feeding schemes, educational trips, community events, and day-to-day mentorship and support. Based at Strandfontein Pavilion, the project is a haven andrefuge for youth who have very few positive role models in their lives.
The programme is designed holistically to encompass the following four pillars: Physical, Mental, Social and Emotional. These pillars are underscored by lessons and principles which are outlined in our 200-page curriculum that each student receives upon starting the programme. After four successful years the project has also been expanded to Elands Bay and St. Francis Bay where it is already reaping great rewards.
Background: 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 with the vision of improving their crime and drug-scourged community. Nigel recognised 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 organised activities or programmes to motivate and mould young impressionable minds. Surfing was used as a catalyst to entice students to the project and to teach them discipline, determination and life skills.
“Surfing has taught our students that if you work hard anything is possible… that waves & challenges will always come but it is up to us to decide if we’ll give up or ride them” – Nigel Savel, Founder