Songo.info is a social development programme based in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch, South Africa, which uses sport and education to provide opportunities for children to play, learn and grow while instilling the necessary life skills needed to unlock a brighter future.
Songo.info started in 2008 as a dream of Swiss multiple Mountain Bike World Champion, Christoph Sauser and South African cycling legend, the late Burry Stander, as well as local community sports advocate, Songo Fipaza. The trio simply wanted to provide a safe space for children to play on bikes, especially because of Kayamandi's proximity to the world-class cycling available around Stellenbosch.
Kayamandi, like many townships in South Africa, is a vibrant yet impoverished neighbourhood with many social challenges including unemployment, gangsterism, alcohol and drug abuse. Many of its youth are trapped in generational cycles of poverty and unemployment and opportunities to escape this are scarce. Local state-run education facilities are overcrowded and struggle to equip students with even basic reading and arithmetic skills.
So Christoph, Burry and Songo raised funds and built a BMX track. Over the years Songo.info has expanded, evolving into an intensive academic and sports programme focused on creating long-term impact for the community.
In 2018 Songo.info added a school lunch feeding programme, which is given to all children on arrival at the clubhouse. Beneficiaries mostly come from food insecure homes and then take part in activities that rely on proper nutrition – learning and cycling. The value of this one reliable meal a day cannot be overstated.
Today, 15 years later, the programme supports 100 children from ages 5 to 18 from when they leave school in the afternoon until 5-6pm in the evening, five days a week, with BMX and mountain bike races on weekends. Five full-time and six part-time staff, including permanent teachers and sports coaches, ensure the children are guided and supported on their learning journey.
The primary ‘pillars’ of the programme are: Education, Sport and Life Skills.
Songo.info is wildly successful in terms of its educational impact as well as its inspiring sporting achievements. It has directly impacted the lives of over 1,100 children. School grades across the programme have improved. More than 10 graduates have earned tertiary-level diplomas and university degrees and are now paying it forward by tutoring within the programme.
The sports programme has created numerous national-level BMX champions, schools mountain bike league winners and Cape Epic Exxaro category victors.
As part of our Life Skills pillar, internship and apprenticeship initiatives have resulted in a variety of local businesses training and employing our beneficiaries in industries as diverse as landscaping and trail-building to sports massage and IT, With your support we can dream even bigger...
Songo.info is a registered South African Trust (IT 1515/2011) and a registered PBO (930049722).