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17 October 2005, 02:22 pm
Izivunguvungu Sailing School
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Connect To Sailing
Simon's Town, South Africa

The Izivunguvungu Sailing School is based in the port town of Simon's Town, Cape Town, South Africa, and is a sailing development centre providing many activities, educational assistance and adventure opportunities to disadvantaged youth as part of a community development programme.
Established in 2001 by Ian AINSLIE (RSA), crew member for Team Shosholoza the South African America's Cup entry and Olympic Sailor, and Matthew MENTZ (RSA), a highly qualified Ocean Skipper and instructor, the Izivunguvungu MSC Foundation for Youth is a non-profit organization affiliated to and supported by the South African Navy and is funded by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).

The Community Development Programme on offer is aimed at disadvantaged children, who have few opportunities to play any kind of sport in the first place and certainly no opportunity to learn how to sail. It is the objective of Izivunguvungu to teach disadvantaged South African children life skills through sail training and to provide access to career opportunities in the world of sailing. The ideal eventuality would be to increase the capacity of the programme to such an extent that the children who once benefited from the programme can complete the circle by operating aspects of the programme in the future.

There is keelboat and dinghy instruction for beginners as well as competitive sailors. All the coaches are from the communities where the students are sourced, this means that students learn to sail in their own language which ensures that the sport remains open to all. The full range of interests and abilities in the sport are being catered to, from simply messing about in boats to international regattas.

For those who begin to excel in the competitive side of the sport, Izivunguvungu established the MSC Donna Mia Racing Team with funding from MSC. This team has competed successfully in many national and international regattas and graduates from the programme are now competing with Team Shosholoza in the America's Cup (Solomon DIPEERE and Marchello BURRICKS), have won awards such as the South Africa Sailing Magazine's Sailor of the Year Award (Golden MGEDEZA) and have successfully competed in the Mirror World Championships (Ashton SAMPSON).

Off the water, the Izivungvungu foundation also host Adventure and Education Programmes which include activities such as camping, rock climbing and coastline walking. There is a focus on Boat Building, Micro Farming and Environmental Initiatives which provide the children with the skills to build their own equipment, learn how to be self sufficient and appreciate how to work, with rather than against their natural environment.

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The project is wide ranging and far reaching. With a strong sense of direction, not only focussing on ensuring that sailing knowledge is freely available to all but backing up that service with an education fund that hopes to provide academic support and other life skills to disadvantaged youth. It is clear that the development of this project has been a huge success and will continue to be so. To find out more information about the Izivunguvungu Sailing School please visit their website at www.izivungu.co.za

ISAF is delighted to highlight specific projects which are unique to the area in which they take place and those where the ethos behind the project can be picked up by anyone anywhere in the world and used to the advantage of children everywhere.

There will be a Connect to Sailing Seminar taking place during the ISAF Annual Conference on the 7 and 8 November 2005 in Singapore. ISAF invites your feedback on initiatives around the world, to share your experiences and success stories with Connect to Sailing, and enable knowledge share within the sailing world. Email: connecttosailing@isaf.co.uk

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