This month my broker Matt Mill from Phoenix Risk Solutions recommended a foundation that they work with. I did a bit of research and got into contact with Lloyd, the managing director of Sozo where I was invited to visit the organization in Vrygrond. I thought living in Cape Town and exploring quite a bit that I'd know all areas, even the Cape Flats, but this time I had to swallow my pride and ask Google maps to take me to Vrygrond. I'd obviously passed this area so many times, finding it nestled between Lavender Hill and Capricorn.
Lloyd met me and explained the need for this organisation. He explained that there were no High Schools in Vrygrond so kids wanting to further their education had to cross two or more gang populated territories. The fear for their lives and even their transport money meant higher drop out rates at surrounding High Schools. Understanding that this would just contribute to a cycle of kids joining gangs and developing uneducated adults with no means to survive, the founders Anton and Elana created an education centre in Vrygrond.
The Sozo Foundation was founded by youth workers, Anton and Elana Cuyler who recognized an aggressive need for transformation within the Cape Flat community of Vrygrond, Cape Town which is notorious for abusive social behavior, violence and gangsterism.
The foundation runs five core projects - Educentre, Eden, Design, Care and Youth Café – each specifically designed to promote education, skills, youth and wellbeing to promote better living conditions and basic human rights. Together with a core team of highly skilled professionals, the Sozo Tribe work hard to fill the lives of the impoverished community with dignity, hope and purpose.
When I arrived to capture the team portraits, there was a buzz of excitement. Each group had themed outfits and a real effort was made to make the most of this portrait day. There were so many beautiful faces and exciting energies that I walked out feeling grateful that I could, if only for a couple of hours, be included and contribute to the amazing work of the Sozo Foundation. Looking forward to giving some Master Classes in Photography as well as form part of the Design Department skills development.
For more information about The Sozo Foundation, visit www.thesozofoundation.org.za