The 1st January 2020 was a day of excitement, happiness and full of new year’s resolutions…and now we are in the middle of a world-wide pandemic. I never imagined that I would be living in a time that would bring the world to a complete lockdown. This is part of our history, it is part of what will not just influence my world experiences, but will shape the world experiences of so many children, youth and grown ups. We are going through this now not knowing what the new world will be like when this pandemic passes. While most of South Africa is in lockdown, people in my street and in my community are going about their daily lives. Everything is normal over here. Nothing has changed.
22 June 2019 was the fourth annual International Day of Yoga event held in Cape Town, and it was a wonderful success! And so it is a good time for us to honour our fifth Earthchild Project Yoga Ambassador – Joëlle Sleebos.
Joëlle’s passion for health and well-being started 17 years as a group fitness instructor and now calls herself Yogi, Traveler, Personal Trainer, Entrepreneur and Project Manager.
On 15 March 2019, at least 1.6 million school children across all 7 continents, in more than 125 countries and in over 2000 places, took a stand against climate change, brought to the forefront by Greta Thunberg with the #FridaysforFuture campaign. #FFF is a movement following the call from Greta to rally school strikes in order to protest against the lack of action on the worlds current climate crisis. Why are school kids striking, you may ask? With the worsening Climate Destruction, the goal of going to school begins to be pointless. Greta Thunberg asks;
– Why study for a future, which may not be there?
– Why spend a lot of effort to become educated, when our governments are not listening to the educated?
On Saturday 2 March 2019, we hosted our fourth annual Teachers Wellness Convention. This event offered 200 school teachers from under-resourced communities in Cape Town an opportunity to learn from leading experts in the Wellness sector. It was a day to celebrate, and empower teachers- with the knowledge and tools to better manage their stress and improve their health and overall well-being.We asked Pam Hoffman, one of the many valued volunteers who assisted tirelessly with the event, to give us her vision of what the day involved;
Last week Wednesday was a morning of honouring our local yoga ambassadors who have each supported Earthchild Project in a unique and generous way. It was a great time to show our appreciation to our ambassadors and to highlight the value of Seva in our yoga journeys. “Seva” is a Sanskrit word meaning “selfless service” or work performed without any thought of reward or repayment. In ancient India seva was believed to help one’s spiritual growth and at the same time contribute to the improvement of a community. Without a doubt a true description of the work that our ambassadors do for ECP.
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.
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.
“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.
With Cape Town moving into crisis status with the current water shortages, we can’t help wonder about the human tendency to avoid making changes until faced with an extreme threat. We don’t make dietary changes until we get really ill, we don’t work less until we burn out, we won’t significantly reduce our water consumption until our taps run dry. (Big sigh) Why, oh why do we do this?
I hate to admit it, but as a child, one of my greatest joys was tearing the paper off of a new straw, dropping a splash of soda onto the wrapper and watching it wriggle open as a worm. I felt sophisticated using a straw. And it was always associated with the treat of a sugary soda drink (something else that makes me cringe). Fast forward twenty years and the idea that big franchises and educated people can still hand out and use straws blows my mind.
We are well aware that there is much evidence out there that proves the benefits of mindfulness for children. But we are equally aware of the challenges that come with trying to implement that mindfulness in the chaotic classroom and often hectic home. So, in order to assist, we’ve scoured the web for some resources and tips that offer excellent methods for child mindfulness that are sure to make being present for children a little bit more fun and, well…mindful.
After the much-needed storms in Cape Town, we still find ourselves in a worrying drought crisis, at the heart of which lies our everyday use of water. We have been working hard to save water, but we must still work harder in so many easy, everyday ways. Small efforts can go a long way. And apathy never gets anyone, anywhere very fast.
Worm farming, something Earthchild has implemented in the schools in Kayehlitsha and Lavender Hill, is a method of using worms to process organic food waste in order to produce a nutrient rich soil. Food waste includes coffee grounds, eggshells, tea bags, fruits and vegetables and even cardboard or paper. This is extremely beneficial for the environment in that the waste which would normally end up in a landfill is converted into compost for the garden.
The community of Khayelitsha, where Earthchild Project is present in 4 schools, is a very special one. The children are happy, smiling, and eager to learn and practice yoga, but their living and home situation is not always ideal, with some areas having families of 8-10 people living in one shack and having to walk up to 200 m for running water. Khayelitsha is one of the fastest growing townships in Cape Town and is prone to all different types of violence. Earthchild Project aims to help the children living in this environment to realise their potential and to create new possibilities for their lives.