Who We Are
The Sozo Foundation is a non-profit organisation, based in the impoverished Cape Flats community of Vrygrond, Cape Town. With a vision to see the community of Vrygrond living with dignity, purpose and hope, Sozo creates opportunities for holistic development through three key areas: Education, Skills Development and Social Enterprise.
What We Do
We run core projects that work to promote Education, Skills Development and Enterprise in Vrygrond. Our current projects are Educentre, GED General Education Diploma, Youth Café Skills Schools, The Wild Goose Bakery, Dancing Goat Roastry and Kingdom Builders.
How We Do It
For our work to be sustainable for years to come, forming deep and lasting relationships with community members is essential. Which is why everything we do in the community is through relationship with individuals and other like-minded organisations and partners.
Our work in the Vrygrond Community wouldn’t be possible without our dedicated team, the Sozo Tribe. Over 75% of our staff are from the local community.
We are passionate about raising up role models from within the community.
Vrygrond is a vibrant and multi-cultural community situated in the Cape Flats of Cape Town, South Africa.
One of the oldest informal settlements in the Cape, Vrygrond was originally a fishermen’s village. Today, Vrygrond is home to a diverse but impoverished community from across the Cape, South Africa and the African continent.
Meet Anton and Elana Cuyler, founders of the Sozo Foundation
In 2010, husband and wife team, Anton and Elana Cuyler, traded in their jobs in England after living 10 years abroad and returned to their home country, South Africa, to volunteer as youth workers in Cape Town.
They based themselves at the Bay City Church, which neighbours the Vrygrond township community where they started a local youth group. Many children from Vrygrond attended the youth group, and it was through these relationships that Anton and Elana’s hearts were stirred and challenged to respond to the imminent development needs of the young people. With the vision to see hearts and lives transformed, Anton and Elana started The Sozo Foundation in 2011.
For the first four years, Sozo’s first offices and programs were based out of three steel containers at the Vrygrond Community Library. In 2015, the Vrygrond Community Development Trust (VCDT) agreed to give Sozo a plot of land in the heart of the community on which to expand the crucial services they were providing to the young people.
Life in post-apartheid South Africa has left Vrygrond desperately overcrowded and under-resourced, a one square kilometer home to 45 000 residents with no high school, no police station, and no health clinic. Young people battle daily the dangers of crime, violence, addiction, abuse and gangsterism.
Today In the midst of these challenges stands the Sozo Centre, a beautiful beacon of hope with a passionate team creating pathways to employment through education, skills and social enterprise initiatives, in support of the 68% of young people who are not in education, employment or training.
Many of these young people become the only breadwinners in their households and most of them first-generation high school graduates in their families. Generational cycles of poverty, rejection and neglect are constantly broken.
The golden strand which weaves itself through every member of the Sozo Tribe is the unconditional love that they embody. It is the highest value in every training, tutoring and lifeskill session, transforming lives from the inside out and against all odds and rewriting the script for thousands of young people who encounter the truth that in this tribe “you belong and you are loved”.