June 17, 2016 Olivia Otten

Children in Nature

The Eco-Warrior club is an after school program run by our Xoli Fujani. The club aims to combine leadership training, life skills and environmental education in a way that is engaging and experimental – and is successful. As is demonstrated by this song below, written by students from Harmony Primary School in Lavender Hill who are members of the Eco-Warrior Club.

“All the earth is one

the land and the sea

the birds and the bees

the grass and the trees

stop abusing the earth!

Eco warriors,

We keep our school clean

To make it a better place

We work together!

We aim to reduce, reuse, recycle our waste

 

We care about the planet

We care about the drought

We work together

We work with dignity to make a better world

If you come and join us

The earth will be a better place!”

 

Earthchild Project’s general objective can be summarised in three words: Connect, Cultivate and Inspire. The Eco-Warrior club succeeds in inspiring a keen interest in the environment in the children through education. The Hiking club offered by us aims and succeeds in connecting the children to nature by immersing them in the beautiful surroundings that the Cape has to offer, in the form of Saturday excursions. Both clubs cultivate environmentally aware children who learn to appreciate nature and what is has to offer.  After all, how can a child love and respect nature and the environment if he/she has never had the chance to experience it? – As many of the children who come from the cape flats don’t.

I was lucky enough to be able to volunteer on an overnight hike that took place last Saturday. A group of around 15 children from Harmony Primary in Lavender Hill, aged 10-13, ventured into the wilderness from Constantia Nek. The hike was a combination of joyous singing, avid bird spotting, fauna fascination, yoga-doing and rock jumping escapades.

It is undeniable that being in nature improves one’s state of well-being – a study on the connection between improved mental health and being outdoors, conducted by the University of Michigan, simply reiterates this. Moreover, the important role that nature plays in a child’s life is most aptly highlighted in a message from a mother of one of the hiking Earth Children:

“Thank you Xoli for what you do. My son enjoyed himself, he used to be depressed and sad but since he joined the hikes he’s changed. More happy! God bless you.”  

 

About the Author

Olivia Otten Olivia Otten is an Earthchild Project Content Creation Intern. She is an English major at the University of Cape Town who is passionate about yoga and holistic living. She was first introduced to yoga at age 12 as a tool to deal with anxiety, however it was at age 17 that she began to truly discover the healing and transformative power of yoga. Other than yoga, Olivia also has a deep love for children, dogs and peanut butter.

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