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;
“It’s not everyone’s idea of a good time to be carrying around tables and chairs at 6.30am on a Saturday morning, voluntarily, for 200 teachers. Then again, I’m not sure how many people appreciate that most teachers are up well before that time Monday to Friday, weeks at a time, to provide a sound education to the children in their classes.
As a volunteer at the Earthchild Project Teacher Wellness Convention I was happy to help. Teachers are professionals who do so much more than just teach. More often than not they play the role of parents, counsellors and nurses to multiple children at a time. Their days are jam-packed with curriculum demands, often in over crowded classrooms in under resourced schools. Earthchild Project work alongside these teachers in schools offering their programmes to children, however the Teachers Wellness Convention shifts the focus of the work onto teachers (thereby impacting upon the children, too!)
The day offered parallel workshops including yoga, talks on nutrition and healthy eating, stress management, promoting happiness, aromatherapy and healing practices. Teachers could elect whichever workshops and activities that appealed to them, or relax with a cup of tea and healthy snack, connecting with their fellow colleagues. The energy of collegiality and new formed friendship was evident throughout the day, but especially when everyone came together for their delicious lunch. There were also the very popular pampering options of manicures and massages.
Truworths, who sponsored the event, had generously provided goodie bags as a take home treat which everyone thoroughly enjoyed. One of the teachers commented “I haven’t been so spoilt since Christmas!” and another “I think we need to have a wellness event every month!”. It was also wonderful to hear from teachers that they’d learnt new ways to care for themselves and how possible it is to prioritise wellness for themselves, even though they have such busy schedules.
Volunteering isn’t glamorous, but the joy of being a tiny cog in wheel of a wonderful team that is Earthchild Project was a real privilege. I have been fortunate enough to have been able to access both meditation and yoga in my life as an adult which has been truly sanity saving. Earthchild Project offering mindfulness and meditation classes to children in under resourced and under privileged areas is something I believe can be truly life saving to the children in their influence. Outside of Earthchild Project, teachers can be hugely supportive and influential in the best possible way for children coming from challenging backgrounds. Being able to offer a day of Wellness to them felt a very necessary and appropriate thank you.”
Thank you to Pam and the rest of the long list of volunteers who dutifully assisted on the day! This years event was a huge success and we thrilled that, with the help of Truworths, the Western Cape Education Department and EduFundi, we are able to bring wellness into the lives of so many teachers.
Thank you to Ludovic Baussan for the beautiful images.