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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Positive Thinking

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Why embracing positive thinking is so important – especially now.

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The Law of Attraction basically contradicts everything your mum told you when you were a young child and the other children at preschool would pull at your hair and make fun of you: Opposites don’t attract; rather, like attracts like. People who think and act positively will experience positive energy. People who surround themselves with negative and damaging energy are more likely to experience negative side-effects. Happiness and positivity do not just happen. You have to actively work for positivity, actively surround yourself with it and embrace it in your lifestyle.

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8 Ways I Try to Be Environmentally Sustainable: Guest post

Ovidiu Popescu is an Earthchild supporter who is supporting an eco-warrrior for more than a year. He is also the co-founder of Greentumble.com. He asked to share the steps he takes to live a greener life. What steps are you taking? Let us know! 

Environmental sustainability is about making responsible decisions, taking action to conserve and preserve the natural world so it can keep supporting human life.

Thanks to modern day technology and creativity, adopting a green lifestyle has never been easier. Whether you want to support the environment by recycling, carpooling or producing clean energy for your house, everyone in the world can make a difference.

Focusing on a few pro environmental practices over a longer period of time will begin to feel like a habit and that’s when you will be living a sustainable life.

All I’m about to share with you next is what I do in my own life, in order to live as consciously and sustainably as possible.

  1. I installed solar panels and insulated the walls of my house to keep heat longer in the winter time. The switch to solar energy not only reduced my carbon footprint but saves me a lot of money on the electricity bill. It feels good to know that my home runs with clean energy, from our precious Sun.
  2. I walk or bike instead of drive distances less than 2 kilometers. This not only reduces the pollution for the local environment but keeps me healthy.
  3. I bought a reusable water bottle from stainless steel and use tap water with filters after I noticed the pros and cons of bottled water. It saves me money, reduces waste and protects the environment.
  4. By shopping with reusable bags and picking less wasteful plastic packaging I reduced my waste output significantly. However, I find it hard to completely avoid packaging because almost everything in the supermarkets is wrapped in something. Luckily, I have a local market close to me where small and medium sized farmers are selling their products without wrapping.
  5. I spend as much time as possible outdoors because it is healthy, refreshing and it’s through understanding nature that we will want to protect and care for it.
  6. I stopped investing much time and money in technology and the benefits are amazing. My social life improved, I have more money, and I produce less electronic waste.
  7. I decided to support and donate small sums of money to charities and non-profits that promote environmental protection while relying on financial support from people like you and me.
    (* Thank you Ovi for your generous donation, which will support an eco-warrior for more than a year!)
  8. Raising awareness is the first step in helping people realize how important and beneficial sustainability is in their lives. In April 2015, together with some friends and university colleagues we decided to create Greentumble, a blog to share information about environmental topics.

What are you doing to be environmentally sustainable? Which goals are you focusing on?

My Journey to Volunteer with Earthchild Project – Guest Blog Post, Sondy Mzamo

This guest blog post is written by Earthchild Project volunteer and world traveler, Sondy Mzamo. Sondy is an inspiration to our Earthchildren – her story of leaving South Africa to travel the world, and then returning to study and give back to her country of birth, allows our Earthchildren to imagine similar horizons opening up ahead of them!

Thank you for being you, Sondy, and for all the time and love you share with us all.

First of all I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my story and for being a part of Earth Child Project! It always gives me so much joy to share my journey with people, and I hope it plants a seed for young girls and boys to dream big and believe in themselves. Read more

Intern Blog Post: Karina Beyssembaeva

My internship at Earthchild Project

I started my marketing internship at Earthchild Project in June 2015. I was really excited about this internship because the values they defend resonate with me. Indeed, I’m living a holistic and environmentally friendly life. But I was a bit skeptical about the kids’ reaction to yoga, especially the youngest.

volunteer-cape-townMy first day with the kids was in Lavender Hill with Linci and an Italian volunteer, Karen. It was my first time in a township so I didn’t know how the day would go. I have such a good memory of this day, the kids were really amazing, and they were really excited about the yoga class and very attentive. This same day , Karen and I had the chance to assist Xoli with her environmental class, it was amazing to see the kids learning about environmental problems and trying to find solutions that everybody could start applying (in this case it was about water-related issues). It was incredible to see how important Linci and Xoli were in schools, they are much respected and the kids are always excited to see them.

After this, I went to Lavender hill once a week and sometimes I was going to Khayelitsha. It was very interesting to see the differences between the two townships. In Khayelitsha, I assisted Noks with the yoga class. Noks inspired me a lot, she’s such a role model to the kids and the community.

The yoga classes in Lavender Hill and Khayelitsha are not just a “sport” for the kids. It’s a place where they feel safe and can relieve their daily stress. But it’s also a course about the important things in life. Lindci is teaching them the importance of being honest and being kind and Noks explains to them what xenophobia is and why we are all equal.
Moreover, I loved how I was integrated within team. At no point did I feel left out or put aside. On Fridays we did a meeting starting with some mediation, followed by a “stick” circle where everyone is talking about how their week went and how they felt. No one is allowed to intervene while a person is talking so we don’t feel judged. Once we’re done we would talk about work. This showed me how much they care about each other and this is one of the reasons that makes Earthchild Project so unique.

How much they do for the community with simple things as yoga, meditation and environmental education is amazing!

No doubt, Earthchild Project is very unique. For me I did not just learn about marketing but I also lived wonderful moments of love and kindness and feel very blessed that I had a chance to experience it.

So thank you to Rowen, Janna, Xoli, Linci and Noks for everything!

Guest Post: Mindful Walking Along the Umfolozi River – Athenkosi Khulu

Athenkosi Khulu  is an Earthchild and one of our Alumni. He’s been part of our programme for many years and finished Grade 12 last year.

Recently he had the opportunity, as part of the Earthchild Project Hiking Club, to join the “Wilderness Within” trail for five days of walking and camping combined with meditation and mindfulness guided by a Tibetan Buddhist nun. It allows one to connect to the wild without, and within.  

This is Athenkosi’s experience of the trail in his own words… Read more

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