Volunteering with Earthchild Project – more than just giving back.

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.

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.

Read more

Earthchild Project Ambassador – Tamsin Sheehy

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.

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.

Read more

International Day of Yoga 2018

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.

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.

Read more

Earthchild Project Ambassador Spotlight – Melissa Brake and Erin Sprong

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.

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.

Read more

Earthchild Project Hiking Club – Lavender Hill

Thirty eight hiking club applications were received from Grade 7 learners from Levana and Prince George Primary this year, yet there was only space for 20 kids. The above quotes are from two of the applications that I received. The applications were well written and the responses to the questions in the application form were honest, open and engaging. I knew that these 2 candidates would be part of the hiking club.

Thirty eight hiking club applications were received from Grade 7 learners from Levana and Prince George Primary this year, yet there was only space for 20 kids. The above quotes are from two of the applications that I received. The applications were well written and the responses to the questions in the application form were honest, open and engaging. I knew that these 2 candidates would be part of the hiking club.

Read more

We’re hiring!!

PART TIME CONTENT CREATION ROLE PROFILE

Earthchild Project (ECP) operates in under-resourced schools in the Western Cape. Working with children and teachers, our educational programmes provide practical skills that complement the academic curriculum with a focus on life-skills, healthy living and the environment.  We are present in 8 schools in Khayelitsha and Lavender Hill, working with over 3500 children. ECP aims to inspire a new generation of confident, conscious and responsible young leaders.

We are looking for a part time Content Creator to work alongside our Communications Manager.  Please note that the role will involve working 12hrs per month.

Specific duties shall include:

  • Visiting the Earthchild Programmes to gather content including taking photos and videos
  • Posting live videos to social media platforms
  • Editing photos and videos in line with the Earthchild Project branding guidelines for use across our online platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our website
  • Doing design and text overlays to images for social media
  • Editing Earthchild gift certificates
  • Creating templates for Mailchimp mailers
  • Ad hoc design (e.g. thank you cards, T-shirts, badges etc)

Skills Requirements / Competencies:

  • Excellent eye for still and video photography
  • Excellent photo editing skills
  • Excellent video editing skills (can be smart phone videos)
  • Design skills in either Photoshop or Illustrator
  • Good people skills and ability to engage with people of different ages and backgrounds
  • Must have own camera, video camera (can be phone), and computer with relevant programmes for editing
  • Must have own transport

Application Process

To apply please email your CV and examples of your photographic, video and design work to janna@earthchildproject.org

Earthchild Spotlight: Katlego Shaloma

In honor of our 10-year anniversary, we are highlighting 10 remarkable Earthchildren from the past and present. Our Earthchild Spotlight number eight is Katlego Shaloma who is 11 years old and in Grade 6 at Sakumlandela Primary School in Khayelitsha. Each time that I have joined the Eco-Warrior Club in Khayelitsha, Katlego has been present and shown herself to be eager to learn. She also has some wild and unruly energy shining through her eyes. You will notice her from a distance, she is definitely something special.

Read more

After School Club: Empowerment in South Africa

Adults cannot deny the challenge of expressing emotions during the physiological, emotional, & mental changes of puberty. With the After School Young Girl’s club, Earthchild project hopes to ease the emotional turbulence for the 5th/ 6th grade girls at Harmony & Sakumlendela Primary. The girls club focuses on promoting positive identity development through self-compassion, non-violent communication & relationship building.

young-girls-club-lavender-hill

This program is led by the three outstanding gap year  interns: Asemahle, Sonwabise (Soso), & Sikelelwa (Sikie) who  were also apart of the girls club and recall it’s relevance during their  formative years. “Young girls club is  a space to talk about anything, even though it could be difficult to open up,” Sikie.

The interns’ confident demeanor influences the young girls to voice their opinions & feel comfortable in their own bodies. Asemahle declares,“ The young girl’s club allows them to feel free to be themselves.” Witnessing this comfort & liberation is a radical act of self-love, as young girls & women often receive damaging information about “standards” of beauty & gender-specific behavior.

young-girls-club-saku

Celebrating & listening to peers allows young girls to value the unique gifts of others, without a negative consequence on their own self-worth. Therefore, sharing quality time with peers allows the group to build support & trust in friendship. It’s believed that the less we judge others, the more we connect to our own capacity for healthy relationships. More importantly, support groups facilitate the movement toward empowerment & deep connection.

Each program at ECP cultivates & develops life skills that will continue long into adulthood. As the young girls club also contributes directly to the ECP mission, it has a distinguished ability to address & prevent issues regarding behavioral, emotional, or mental concerns that may arise at school. Impressed by the momentum & enthusiasm of the girls club, ECP Founder/Director suggests, “We need to start a boys club soon.”

Dominique Camille is an Earthchild project intern working in the schools and the office. She is a yoga teacher from the San Francisco Bay Area deeply committed to social justice and liberating expression. 

Meet Sikelelwa

When Earthchild Project started many years ago, Sikelelwa (or Siki) was one of our very first earthchildren. Now 10 years later, she has become part of the Earthchild team, doing a gap year internship with us. Here is what this inspiring young lady had to say when we asked her a few questions.

Q. What makes you an earthchild?”
-I am an earthchild because I am happy, flexible and I care about nature.

Q. What does Earthchild Project mean to you?
-To me, Earthchild Project means transformation. Ever since I became involved with Earthchild Project, my life has changed completely. I have learnt to live in the present and I’ve gained so many skills on understanding and connecting with my body. Earthchild Project has taught me to accept what I have and change what I can, but mostly it has taught me to find peace within myself.

Q. Why did you want to be involved with Earthchild Project as an intern?
-I first of all wanted to be an intern at Earthchild Project because I love kids and yoga and additionally I wanted time to find my abilities, my skills and myself. And I wanted to do all of this while maintaining the connection I have with my body. Secondly I love the way Earthchild operates and the work they are doing. Lastly I wanted to be an intern at Earthchild because I have been part of their programme since I was a kid, and now I want to give back to my community.
Q. What are your tasks as an intern at Earthchild Project?
-As part of my internship I teach yoga to the earthchildren in Khayelitsha at Ntwasahlobo and in Lavender Hill at Harmony Primary. At these schools I have also assisted with setting up a young girls’ club.

Q. How has your experience teaching yoga been going?
-I really really enjoy teaching yoga to the kids. They are the most wonderful people I know. The classes are going very well and the kids are really amazing. Yes, there are some challenges here and there, but I am enjoying every moment of it!

Q. What do you plan to do when your time as an Earthchild intern is over?
-After my gap year internship I intend to go to university to study to be a vet and I plan to teach yoga and dance to the young kids in my community.

Q. Is this what you see yourself doing 10 years from now as well?
-Yes, in 10 years I hope I will have become a veterinarian doctor and I will have my own project working with young people and passing on the language of dance to them.

Thank you Sikelelwa for inspiring those around you!

The First Hike

Instagram1 instagram2 Instagram9

This Saturday was a really exciting one for 21 grade 7’s at Sakumandela Primary School (Khayelitsha). This year they have been chosen to be part of Earthchildproject’s hiking club. At Sakumandela, the hiking club is a tradition lower grades look forward to throughout the years, and only a few children get selected. Most children here have never hiked or been in the forest before, and only experienced township life so far. This was going to be an unique experience.

The enthusiasm was huge when the busses arrived that took the group from Khayelitsha to Cecilia forest. Once we were there, everyone seemed a bit quiet, so before we could start the hike, we had to learn each other’s names. Everyone found himself a partner, and figured out his name, favourite colour, and something they enjoyed in nature. The majority of the children enjoyed the animals, such as the lion and elephant a lot, but also subjects like the grass, the smell of nature, the connection with it, the trees, and the water came up.

Now everyone was a bit more confident, we could start hiking. The first part was not that hard, but when we arrived at the river and started climbing parallel, the adventure started.

On the way, we climbed onto a pile of rocks for a short meditation. All the children have done that numerous times during the living classroom classes, so they immediately sat down and closed their eyes. This time, we used our senses to hear the birds, the wind, and far beneath us the waterfall. We imagined the colours surrounding us, and breathed in the fresh air. During a silent walk after, we tried to keep this peaceful feeling, and really experience our surroundings.

Because this was the first hike, and it would not be fair to exhaust the children to much, we ended in Kirstenbosch gardens, where we had a great picnic with sandwiches and fruit. The children used this time to try out some new yoga poses, such as the craw, bridge and ended up rolling down the hills; the indication for a change in atmosphere. This first hike was definitely a success, next week it is Harmony Primary’s turn.

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

Little Green Fingers

Over the years we’ve planted many gardens, big and small.  However, theft and vandalism have been a constant challenge and have often left us and the children feeling quite despondent.  That’s until Xoli came up with a great solution – the indoor windowsill herb garden!

Our main aim has always been to give children the experience of planting, caring for and harvesting as a way to deepen their connection and appreciation for nature.  And now, all our Living Classrooms have beautiful basil, mint, sage, parsley and chillies growing in their classrooms, right next to their worm farms.

A few little entrepreneurs have decided the want to make herb bunches to sell to the teachers at the end of the year.

Find out more about what happens in our Living Classrooms

Boost Memory: Climb a tree and practise yoga

By practicing dynamic yoga, climbing a tree or balancing on a beam you can significantly improve your working memory. Researchers at the University of North Florida have found that proprioceptively dynamic activities, or activities that bring awareness to the relative positions of the neighboring parts of the body through movement, where one navigates space , improve our cognitive skills.

Why is your working memory important? Have you ever gone to the store with a short list of goods to buy, and forgotten items? Then you’ll appreciate the frustrations at our working memory’s limitations. Working memory impacts on our ability to hold onto information long enough to use it, to concentrate and follow instructions and our ability to learn.

Often people who have a regular yoga practice speak of such improvements from experience. Our project has been active for over nine years, and we have seen and had teachers notice that after practicing yoga and meditation our children perform better in class. They’re able to concentrate more in class and their academic results improve.

However, the research indicates that even a few hours of proprioceptively activities can increase ones working memory by up to 50%.

So, here are a few suggestions for how you can spend the afternoon (either alone or with your child) doing proprioceptively activities:

  1. climb a tree (and remember that the tree is doing more than just improving your working memory), walk across a beam,
  2. move while paying attention to posture (this could be yoga, but it’s important that you move around in space, don’t remain static on your mat – move around the room, use the wall for inversions, use the door frame for stretching, etc),
  3. go for a barefoot run,
  4. visit your local park and create a navigation course, moving over, under and around the jungle gym equipment.

Let us know how you it goes?

yoga and meditation for kidsConnect

We teach children to connect to self, each other and the earth through yoga and life skills.

organic gardening worm-farming for kidsCultivate

We teach children to cultivate practical skills for life through gardening and worm farming.

hiking with kidsInspire

We're inspiring a new generation of young leaders through hikes and holiday programmes.

ABOUT EARTHCHILD PROJECT