In addition to forming a team for the upcoming Cape Epic stage race in South Africa beginning March 23, Christoph Sauser and South African Burry Stander are also partnering to raise money to build a BMX track in conjunction with JAG Sports and Education Foundation for children in Kayamandi, outside Stellenbosch. The track will provide children with a safe place to do sport, keeping them off the streets and away from drugs and crime.
Sauser, who does his winter training in Stellenbosch, established the Songo.info Project to raise money to uplift the lives of children in Kayamandi.
"A typical BMX track is short and fast, the bikes are small, compact, tough and low maintenance," said Sauser. "A track would allow the local children to develop skills such as fitness, conditioning, confidence and sportsmanship. Not only is it a platform to launch riders into the different areas of cycling, like road and mountain biking, it is also an area for recreation and creativity where typically South African wire-cars and speedy-wheel-creations can be tested and enjoyed on the track," he said.
Sauser believes sport is the best way to develop children's social skills. "Children learn about health, friendship, pride and confidence through sport," he said.
The Songo.info Project was named after community leader Songo Fipaza, an enthusiastic runner and cyclist who worked with the JAG Foundation to implement the running programmes in Kayamandi last year. According to the Songo.info Project, very few children in Kayamandi own bicycles, and there are no safe areas for them to cycle or play.
"Both Robbie Hunter (stage winner Tour de France) and Greg Minnaar (2001 World Cup Champion, 2002 World Downhill Champion) come from a BMX background," said Sauser. "We hope that this BMX track will inspire and equip more South Africans to follow in their footsteps to victory," he said.
The JAG Sports and Education Foundation, headed by Elana Meyer, is an NGO focused on getting children fit and healthy by implementing sporting programmes aimed at primary school children in underprivileged areas. Last year the JAG Foundation established an after school running programme in this community. "This BMX track project complements our goal in Kayamandi perfectly," said former Olympic medallist Meyer.
For more information or to contribute, visit www.songo.info.