With much excitement we recently learned that in the heart of rural Eastern Cape, where passing exams marks a significant milestone for many learners, the Earthchild Project Take 5 Guided Meditations were being aired on a local radio station, integrating mindfulness into the landscape of education and well-being.

Bulungula Incubator, an organisation committed to holistic community development, discovered the ECP Take 5 Guided Meditations during a crucial time: Matric exam preparation in 2021. Recognising the immense pressure faced by learners, especially those striving to be the first graduates in their families, Bulungula Incubator sought tools to support mental well-being during this critical period.

The Take 5 Meditations were first used at the “Final Push” camp at Bulungula College where for six weeks, learners immerse themselves in dedicated study time, surrounded by teachers and peers. Amidst the challenges of exam preparation, the need for a focused, distraction-free environment is paramount. It was during this time that the ECP Take 5 Meditations emerged as a pathway to alleviate stress and anxiety. The Content Manager at Bulugula Incubator, Sigrid Kite, told us, “When we were looking for beginner-friendly meditations in isiXhosa, the language spoken in our community, we came across Earthchild’s amazing meditations. It is generally hard for us to find content in isiXhosa, so we were excited and pleased that Earthchild had meditations available.”

“We define poverty as the lack of knowledge or resources needed to make the choices that can lead to a flourishing life. Teaching learners these techniques gives them valuable tools to manage stress and anxiety, enhancing their sense of empowerment and agency.” The accessibility of guided meditations in isiXhosa was a catalyst for change, bridging cultural barriers and resonating deeply with the learner at Bulungula Incubator.

Sigrid told us that, while direct measurements of the results of using the Take 5 Meditations with students may be elusive, the shift from previous years’ stress-induced breakdowns to a more composed atmosphere underscores their impact. Learners equipped with coping mechanisms navigate challenges with resilience and clarity, setting the stage for academic success and personal growth. Sigrid says, “The direct feedback I received recently was a learner from the class of 2022 who took part in the meditation sessions privately messaged me asking for them. She is now studying accounting at Rhodes University and requested to have them. I did not ask directly, but her asking a year later indicates to me that she wants to carry on practising the technique.”

The Take 5 Meditations were so well-received by the learners that they extended to the airwaves of Bulungula Community Radio, broadcasting to over a hundred villages in the surrounding area. The meditations have found a home during the station’s health and wellness show and now play four times a week, reaching a wider audience and amplifying their impact. Sigrid also shared, “Just a quick anecdote…we play the radio in our main office, and managers will stop for a moment while at their computers to do the meditation, it’s a nice respite from work.”

Earthchild Project’s Take 5 Guided Meditations exemplify the transformative potential of mindfulness in education. In rural Eastern Cape, they offer a tool for resilience, empowerment, and growth. As learners embrace mindfulness, they equip themselves for a more empowered future.