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.
The 29th May 2019 was truly a special day as Earthchild Project, Urban Harvest, Christopher – our Garden Champion, as well as our Levana Primary EcoWarriors brought their green fingers to school and got their hands and faces dirty (from eating the freshly harvested beetroot) during the first big harvest from the Food Garden/outdoor classroom at Levana Primary School.
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?
We have been absolutely blessed an honoured to have some brilliant volunteers supporting Earthchild Project over the last few months. These volunteers have immersed themselves daily in the operating of our programmes and connecting to our earthchildren, have dedicated time over weekends to assist with events, and have offered their skills behind the scenes with fundraisisng, website support and content creation. But the true beauty lies in the connections that our volunteers make with our earthchildren, and their daily experiences in the schools.
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;
At the beginning of December last year, three magical days were spent in the Cederberg with 15 dedicated earthchildren and The Cape Leopard Trust for the Earthchild Project Hiking Club camp. There may have been rain and the odd challenging moment, but that didn’t dampen the spirit of our dedicated hikers who spent their last night sleeping a-top a cave under a billion stars.
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.
Have you ever heard of worm tea? It doesn’t sound great, does it? Thing is, it is amazing! It’s often misunderstood what worm tea actually is. It is not the leachate (water that has percolated through a solid and leached out some of the constituents) which gathers in the bottom bin of the worm farm. This shouldn’t be used on your vegetables as it may contain pathogens and the PH may be high, plus studies have shown that it has low nutritional value (so your plants will not thrive on it). Worm tea, however, is the key ingredients to your vegetables and plants thriving!
This year, Earthchild Project took a different spin on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018. While there were many organisations and individuals who supported us through donating money or giving time in support of Earthchild Project, our facilitators, junior staff and Young Leaders chose to give back in a creative way, where it really matters! And so, they created The Pamper Your Teacher Day for all of our four schools in Khayelitsha – a special day just to honour our unsung heroes who devote so much time and energy to nurturing our earthchildren.
Tamsin Sheehy is the fourth Ambassador who we are honoured to invite to our ECP Ambassador Programme. Tamsin opened her own yoga studio, The Shala, in 2007 in Cape Town. We first met Tamsin in 2008 when we were lucky enough to have offices just below her studio, and since then Tamsin, her husaband Tom and the whole Shala team have become integral member of the extended Earthchild Family! Tamsin has a special interest in the role of yoga as a practice of healing and repair on all levels of Being. The art of Lymphology and Digestion are key focus points for her workshops and courses. From offering free yoga and teacher trainings to our team and organising weekly donation classes and big once off events, Tamsin has supported Earthchild Project in many many different ways over the years.
The word yoga means union, or yolking together, and this is wholly what International Day of Yoga Cape Town 2018 was about. If you weren’t at CTICC on 16 June, then you missed out on feeling some radical magic! Over 800 people from all walks of life came together in celebrating the gift of yoga and saying “namaste” in a beautiful gathering of like minded people.
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.
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.