Worm tea – a key ingredient in our organic gardening

Have you ever heard of worm tea? It doesn’t sound great, does it? Thing is, it is amazing! It’s often misunderstood what worm tea actually is. It is not the leachate (water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents) which gathers in the bottom bin of the worm farm.  This shouldn’t be used on your vegetables as it may contain pathogens and the PH  may be high, plus studies have shown that it has low nutritional value (so your plants will not thrive on it). Worm tea, however, is the key ingredients to your vegetables and plants thriving!

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Young Leaders honouring our teachers this Mandela Day

This year, Earthchild Project took a different spin on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018. While there were many organisations and individuals who supported us through donating money or giving time in support of Earthchild Project, our facilitators, junior staff and Young Leaders chose to give back in a creative way, where it really matters! And so, they created The Pamper Your Teacher Day for all of our four schools in Khayelitsha – a special day just to honour our unsung heroes who devote so much time and energy to nurturing our earthchildren.

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Earthchild Project Ambassador – Tamsin Sheehy

Tamsin Sheehy is the fourth Ambassador who we are honoured to invite to our ECP Ambassador Programme. Tamsin opened her own yoga studio, The Shala, in 2007 in Cape Town. We first met Tamsin in 2008 when we were lucky enough to have offices just below her studio, and since then Tamsin, her husaband Tom and the whole Shala team have become integral member of the extended Earthchild Family! Tamsin has a special interest in the role of yoga as a practice of healing and repair on all levels of Being. The art of Lymphology and Digestion are key focus points for her workshops and courses. From offering free yoga and teacher trainings to our team and organising weekly donation classes and big once off events, Tamsin has supported Earthchild Project in many many different ways over the years.

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International Day of Yoga 2018

The word yoga means union, or yolking together, and this is wholly what International Day of Yoga Cape Town 2018 was about. If you weren’t at CTICC on 16 June, then you missed out on feeling some radical magic! Over 800 people from all walks of life came together in celebrating the gift of yoga and saying “namaste” in a beautiful gathering of like minded people.

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The synergy between mindfulness and medicine – words from an Earthchild Project volunteer

Naomi Heller is a volunteer with Earthchild Project. She is a doctor by profession, working in paediatrics with an interest in paediatric palliative medicine (this is an area of medicine focusing on children and families of children coping with life limiting and life threatening disease). Her long term aim is to incorporate yoga into this area of healthcare and work with children, siblings and families managing medical symptoms, grief and emotional trauma.

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Earthchild Project Ambassador Spotlight – Melissa Brake and Erin Sprong

Over the years, there have been a number of really special yoga teachers who have dedicated a lot of time and energy into supporting Earthchild Project and being a driving force behind the work that we do. In order to honour these people, we have initiated an Earthchild Project Ambassador Programme. And we are proud to introduce you to our second and third ambassador, Melissa Brake and Erin Sprong. Melissa owns Yogaway Yoga studio in Newlands where both her and Erin teach. These two incredible women have selflessly been dedicated to teaching Monday yoga classes in Khayelitsha for many years and their motivation has never wavered.

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Earthchild Project Hiking Club – Lavender Hill

Thirty eight hiking club applications were received from Grade 7 learners from Levana and Prince George Primary this year, yet there was only space for 20 kids. The above quotes are from two of the applications that I received. The applications were well written and the responses to the questions in the application form were honest, open and engaging. I knew that these 2 candidates would be part of the hiking club.

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EARTHCHILD PROJECT AMBASSADOR SPOTLIGHT – SCHALK VILJOEN

Over the years, there have been a number of really special yoga teachers who have dedicated a lot of time and energy into supporting Earthchild Project and being a driving force behind the work that we do. In order to honour these people, we have initiated an Earthchild Project Ambassador Programme. And we are proud to introduce you to our first ambassador, Schalk Viljoen. Schalk teaches Jivamukti classes in the Darmstadt, Mainz, Frankfurt & Basel area of Germany. We caught up with Schalk to find out more about his yoga journey and why he cares so much about Earthchild Project.

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We’re hiring!!

PART TIME CONTENT CREATION ROLE PROFILE

Earthchild Project (ECP) operates in under-resourced schools in the Western Cape. Working with children and teachers, our educational programmes provide practical skills that complement the academic curriculum with a focus on life-skills, healthy living and the environment.  We are present in 8 schools in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill, working with over 3500 children. ECP aims to inspire a new generation of confident, conscious and responsible young leaders.

We are looking for a part time Content Creator to work alongside our Communications Manager.  Please note that the role will involve working 12hrs per month.

Specific duties shall include:

  • Visiting the Earthchild Programmes to gather content including taking photos and videos
  • Posting live videos to social media platforms
  • Editing photos and videos in line with the Earthchild Project branding guidelines for use across our online platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our website
  • Doing design and text overlays to images for social media
  • Editing Earthchild gift certificates
  • Creating templates for Mailchimp mailers
  • Ad hoc design (e.g. thank you cards, T-shirts, badges etc)

Skills Requirements / Competencies:

  • Excellent eye for still and video photography
  • Excellent photo editing skills
  • Excellent video editing skills (can be smart phone videos)
  • Design skills in either Photoshop or Illustrator
  • Good people skills and ability to engage with people of different ages and backgrounds
  • Must have own camera, video camera (can be phone), and computer with relevant programmes for editing
  • Must have own transport

Application Process

To apply please email your CV and examples of your photographic, video and design work to janna@earthchildproject.org

The Earthchild Project 3rd annual Teachers Wellness Convention

Earthchild Projects’ 3rd annual Teachers Wellness Convention was held on Saturday 24 February 2018, and it was a huge success. With workshops ranging from healthy cooking demo’s to stress management, hormone balancing techniques, water saving tips and advice on how to follow your purpose and passion, the day was packed with wellness and holistic living education.

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“Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate”: Working with ECP

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Etienne Basson is a Earthchild Project facilitator in our environmental programmes in Lavender Hill. Read what he has to say about working work our Eco-Warriors as part of the Earthchild Project team…

Six months ago I started my journey with Earthchild Project. I was excited to be part of this inspiring organization. I want to teach people to fall in love with nature and not nature as we know it, but human nature and what comes naturally to them – and with Earthchild Project’s motto being “Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate” it felt like the perfect fit. The idea of connecting with the kids and sharing and teaching them about what I love – nature – brought a certain joy and smile to my face. To think, I could shape how they think and feel about nature through the lessons and maybe, just maybe, inspire one of them to be the next top ecologist or biologist.

I remember walking into my first class and the excitement of the 35 kids immediately overwhelmed me. All they wanted to do was learn about worms and they couldn’t stop talking about what they already knew. I went into all my classes with this excitement and joy and thought about how I can stimulate their curiosity through the practical experience that worm farming and gardening has to offer.

As the months passed and I got to know the children and teachers, I got a different insight into what Earthchild Project was really about, and this was particularly evident at the 8-day Earthchild Alumni Camp in Greyton. Most of the participants have been part of the Earthchild Project Programme for more than 5 years, from the age of about 7 or 8 years old.

At the camp I got to spend more time with the Alumni group and during this time this group of young people really inspired me and changed the way I see and think about Earthchild Project. What really stood out about the group was the way they stood up and took responsibility and promoted the idea of positive actions and initiatives to support their fellow young people.They participated fully, asked questions, and gave valuable opinions and thoughts on important topics and activities presented at the camp. They openly shared their fears, struggles, and obstacles – and worked on their visions, goals and intentions. They helped, supported and encouraged one another through personal issues, struggles and illness that came up at the camp.

As the camp closed I came to the realization that Earthchild Project is not “just” about teaching yoga and worm farming in schools and shaping the next ecologist or yogi. It is truly about this idea of “Inspire, Nurture, Cultivate” – as the slogan says.

Through learning about nature and practicing yoga they get a sense of who they are, and all the positive contributions they can make to their lives, the lives of others, and to nature. And when we look at what’s going on in our communities and country, we need to know that somewhere, somehow, someone will start making positive changes in their lives and in the lives of others. I am proud to be part of the Earthchild Project Team that are making a difference in the lives of so many young people in Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha.

Etienne.

Eco-Warriors for Our Planet

Agbogbloshie: a polluted district in Accra, Ghana that is used as an international dumping ground for electronic waste – nicknamed “Sodom and Gomorrah” by locals due to its harsh living conditions.

“I don’t believe that the solutions in society will come from the left or the right or the north or the south. They will come from islands within those organizations, islands of people with integrity who want to do something.”
Karl-Henrik Robert – Founder of The Natural Step

This is part of what we hope our impact is at Earthchild Project – we hope that we are making an island of people who will grow up and start demanding change in their society, and in their world. By educating our earthchildren – our “eco-warriors” – in our schools on the environment and their impact upon it, we hope that this future generation will grow up and contribute to a global attitude of preserving our planet. We hope these children will grow up with a fire in their belly for environmental justice – especially since Africa is one of the most negatively affected continents when it comes to waste.

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Waste-Free Solutions in Yoga

I will admit – in the yoga world, practitioners are for the most part, simply trying to practice self-love and care for other living beings – this is after all, the spiritual ethos of yoga – to “do no harm.” We’re doing the best we can in using yoga for health and goodness. Right?

We could do better. First of all, we can start the painful journey of looking inward and realizing that most of us are, to a certain extent, hypocrites in our yoga world bubble. When we begin our yoga class, we sit our toned bums (thanks yoga!), dressed in plastic material, on our PVC mats. Our practice of yoga is at the heart of our good health – and yet in the first few seconds of our daily practice we are breaking some SERIOUS health rules, not to mention the spiritual ethos of yoga – to “do no harm.”

Not only our clothes, but also the very physical foundations on which we practice are doing monumental harm. I’m talking about our mats. The more I research, the more disturbed I’ve become. Most yoga mats are made from PVC, short for polymerizing vinyl chloride. Simply typing that word – “chloride” – makes me think of that new mat smell – and subsequently feel a bit ill at all the times I’ve deeply inhaled it. Not only are PVC mats bad for our own health, the production of this material can be deadly for others. Yes, you read that right. PVC plants pump an excruciating amount of vinyl chloride into the atmosphere. When its entire life-cycle is considered, PVC releases more cancer-causing dioxins into the atmosphere than any other product. Each kg of PVC requires about 17kg of abiotic materials, mostly petrochemicals, as well as 680 liters of water and 11.6 kg of air (which of course is converted into greenhouse gases). PVC plants contaminate water around their facilities, causing serious damage on whole communities – most commonly increased risk of cancer and reproductive damage. All this so that your yoga mat can later go sit in a landfill for the rest of time. Woohoo!

Sorry guys. This is all quite depressing I know. Depressing but also crucial to meditate on when we consider our impact on the lives of others and our Mother Earth. But let’s cut to the positive part shall we? In terms of sustainable yoga mats, there is an increasing plethora of options out there. There are several companies completely dedicated to eco-friendly mats – most made from natural rubber from rubber trees, jute (a natural fiber), organic cotton, or thermoplastic elastomer (synthetic BUT has high potential for recyclability and uses less energy to manufacture). We have got to commend these brands for really trying to find a more sustainable options for our beloved mats. However, what if you could kill two birds with one stone?

Anna and Sophie, the founders of hejhej-mats, are doing just that. These two young women have managed to create a closed-loop, fully sustainable yoga mat – creating a healthy sustainable mat that ALSO uses old waste. Most of us are slowly waking up to the reality of waste on our planet – the landfills, the islands made entirely of trash. The hejhej goal: to create a mat in which the production alleviates the excessive exhaustion of resources. No new materials, only the use of old waste – “thereby tackling the problem of waste production and resource scarcity of our planet.” While other sustainable mats are still using natural rubber – which requires cutting down rubber trees – hejhej-mats makes use of one of our planet’s increasingly growing resource – waste itself. Completely closed-loop, hejhej-mats are made from waste, used long-term, recyclable, and then used for production again. What’s also great about their mats? They’re functional (not missing that much-needed slip resistance that many sustainable mats lack), and also quite beautiful. Because they are made from varying types of waste, each mat differs slightly in its appearance, making each unique.

When we sat down with Anna last week, the crowdfunding campaign for the production of hejhej-mats had just met its initial goal that morning. When we asked her about the conceptualization of hejhej mats, she told us of her and Sophie’s completion of their Masters in Leadership for Sustainability in Sweden (not only charming but intelligent too!) as well as their visit to an exhibition by Turkish artist, Pinar Yolda. Yolda’s artwork accused yoga practitioners of acting hypocritically since most of them practice yoga on unsustainable plastic mats, which end up in oceans or landfills. The exhibition impacted the two women, and they immediately set to work with the conceptualization of the circular hejhej-mat. Talking to her over coffee made it obvious to me how passionate and driven these two young German women were. You know those people whose entrepreneurial spirit captivates you and makes you want to jump onto their boat? Anna and Sophie are that.

I’m excited for where hejhej-mats will go. I’m inspired, and jumping onto that ship. Or I guess in this case, a hejhej-mat.

Go check them out on their website or crowdfunding page to donate, support, or simply learn more about hejhej-mats and sustainable closed-loop designs.

https://hejhej-mats.com

https://www.startnext.com/en/hejhej-mats-closed-loop-yoga-mats 

Connecting souls across cultures through yoga

@adidasZA
@adidasWomen
@chelseykorus
@cliopajczer
Photos by Niquita Bento: @xx_niquita_xx

It was such a joyful pleasure and privilege last week to be connected to three international yogis – Adriene Mishler, Clio Pajczer, and Chelsey Korus. To be able to host these three beautiful women was humbling and genuinely made for a really fun Friday! In partnership with adidas, these women made the trip halfway across the world to check out Earthchild Project’s work and to do some yoga with our Earthchildren in Kkayelitsha.

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yoga and meditation for kidsConnect

We teach children to connect to self, each other and the earth through yoga and life skills.

organic gardening worm-farming for kidsCultivate

We teach children to cultivate practical skills for life through gardening and worm farming.

hiking with kidsInspire

We're inspiring a new generation of young leaders through hikes and holiday programmes.

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