Founder of the 9Miles Project, Nigel Savel, from Strandfontein, has been chosen as the 2020 recipient of the Aloha Award, a global award which recognises individuals in the surfing community who are ambassadors of the Aloha spirit, to share the love of surfing, and make a difference in their communities.
In addition to being a general Hawaiian greeting, Aloha also means love, compassion, kindness and grace, and forms the basis of a unique way of living which inspires positivity, respect for the ocean, and the spirit of community.
The 9Miles Project is an NPO, which creates opportunities that engage, uplift, equip and empower impoverished and high risk youth from coastal informal settlements and communities through the provision of supplementary education, literacy classes, learning adventures, life skills and leadership training, including sports.
“My heart’s desire is to see lives and communities transformed, to see each one of our students get to live out their purpose in life. We do this because of love – no reward needed – but just to see these children shine. For people to recognise what we do or even nominate me, has been so overwhelming,” said Mr Savel.
He will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Namotu Island, one of the many islands that make up the country of Fiji, where, as an avid surfer and nature lover, he will enjoy the world-famous surf breaks and pristine beaches. He will also receive $5 000 for the charity of his choice.
He has chosen the 9Miles Project as the recipient.
“We are so grateful as the $5 000 will allow us to build capacity and take on additional children who are very eager to join our projects in Elands Bay on the West Coast, and St Francis Bay in the Eastern Cape,” said Mr Savel.
His trip is scheduled for the end of July, and is hopeful that it will go ahead if the situation with Covid-19 has improved.
Alternatively, the trip will probably happen when it is safe to travel.
Nigel is living the 9Miles slogan of “Going the distance,” and his achievement serves as a very real example to his children in the programme, proving once again that one’s attitude determines one’s altitude, said Carmen Davids, 9Miles Project fund-raising and communications spokesperson.