In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we will be highlighting 10 remarkable Earthchildren from the past and present. Let me present to you the third Earthchild Spotlight: Athenkosi Khulu. Athhenkosi has been a part of the Earthchild Project family since the very beginning of our journey. This young man is currently studying at college and will start his very own hiking club with the Earthchild Project in 2017. I had the honour of interviewing him last week.
“Environment is important guys, so we need to keep it clean so that we can live better lives.” — Athenkosi Khulu
What is the role of Eartchild Project in your life? Earthchild Project has a very big part in my life. It has changed me from how I was before – it has taught me about nature and it has made me become a leader. ECP has also helped me to have a positive mind saying that I can, I can do it.
How has Earthchild Project affected who you are today? Earthchild Project connects me with peace and teaches me how to become a better person. There is a feeling of peace when it comes to hiking. Hiking has also taught me about discipline.
Particularly, ECP has a big role when it comes to the environment and nature. Before I joined Earthchild, I didn’t know anything about the environment or how to keep the environment clean. ECP helped to give me that mindset, to be open, to know what one can do to keep our environment and nature clean.
How have you passed on what you have learnt through Earthchild Project to your friends and family?
We [Athenkosi & friends] have started to change things a little bit within our community because we take the knowledge and give back to our community. We tell our friends and community about what we’ve learnt. I think I have passed on many things, especially to my friends, because my friends are the ones I spend most time with. When I am in the community, my friends ask me what Earthchild Project is about. I tell them what it is about and then they become very interested to know more. They see me as an example, they see what type of person I have become. When I am talking about hiking, when I am talking about Earthchild Project, they will see that, okay, he’s changing now. Me and my friend, we used to litter when growing up because we didn’t know that we were doing something wrong. This change, that’s what I pass on to my friends. The example. I will be the example to them.
How have you been involved in the Earthchild Project up until now? I started when I was in Primary School. Me and my friends started to be really interested in gardening and worm farming. After that I got interested in the hiking club. I really like the hiking club because it gives you the chance to go to places and to know more about nature. When I was done with Primary School, I couldn’t join the hiking club anymore, but me and my friend went to Xoli (ECP Environmental Education Coordinator) and said that we really needed to hike more. She gave us the opportunity to join while we were in high school.
We continued hiking and it was really nice to discover more about nature. To connect more. Earthchild Project gives us the opportunity to connect more with nature. For us living in the area, Khayelitsha, there is no such opportunity where young children can learn about nature. Earthchild Project has really given me this opportunity.
We ended our interview with a fun photo session among the trees at Ikhasu Primary and at Athenkosi’s former school, Sakumlandela Primary. My heart was filled with hope and joy after this interview. Athenkosi, people like you are the future.
Stay connected with us to learn about the next Earthchild spotlight and details regarding our 10 year anniversary! #CelebrateECP10
Written by Earthchild Project Intern, Amanda Norrlander.