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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Earthchild Project in June

The Earthchild Project has been busy, busy spreading their positive and uplifting vibes into the month of June. There have been loads of exciting activities going on! The theme for term two at the Earthchild Project is “self” and so this has meant a focus inwards. Term Two’s programmes focus on caring for ourselves, looking after our health and our bodies and trying to nurture a state of happiness in our inner being.  For the Earthchild Project facilitators this has meant conducting healthy living and eating workshops with children and giving them practical tools to implement this into their lives such as teaching children how to grow sprouts and running yoga workshops.

As a part of our healthy body, healthy mind theme Michelle Shubert, who runs the Earthchild Project gardening club programme, harvested vegetables from the Earthchild Project garden and did a healthy cooking demonstration with the children.

She shares her session in Khayelitsha with us...

“Fresh vegetables from the school garden were harvested and made into a delicious, hearty soup for thirty earthchildren. It was a realy wintry day and the rain was pelting down in Khayelitsha. The soup was made in the school feeding scheme kitchen and it was good to connect with the ‘food mamas.’ This group of woman everyday cook for over 1000 children.

The food mamas were really interested in my hot box that I’d cooked the barley and split peas in. This gave us the idea of doing a hot box making workshop with them. This would be an eco-friendly solution, saving gas and making the work more manageable and cost-effective. 

The soup was enjoyed by all! And the children from the worm farming and gardening clubs learnt how to harvest vegetables and prepare a delicious and nutritious soup.”

But Earthchild’s focus is not only on our Earth-children but also on the health and wellbeing of their mentors...

Teacher’s Retreats

Janna Kretzmar, Earthchild Project’s Director, shared her experience of the latest retreat which hosted teachers from one of our focus schools in Khayelitsha:

“On Saturday 11th June the staff and principal of Sakumlandela attended an Earthchild Teachers’ Retreat.  The group was amazed at the beautiful venue, Phakalane in Hout Bay.  Nestled on the mountains, with magnificent indigenous gardens the venue allowed the teachers to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  The intention for the Retreats is to give teachers practical tools to manage their stress and improve their overall health and wellbeing.
The beautiful venue for the retreat, Pakalane in Hout Bay.

 After a brief welcome and intro the teachers were lead through a yoga and breath- work class.  This was followed by a practical and interactive workshop about healthy living which was based around 10 steps such as “Eat less sugar”, “Drink more water” and “Move your body”.  The group then enjoyed a delicious vegetarian lunch prepared by our volunteer chef.  As the Retreat was for the staff of our focus school, we facilitated various team building and trust games and processes after lunch.  There were tears of laughter and lots of fun during the Human Knot, blindfolded walk and other activities.  Throughout the day the teachers also got to have a one hour full body massage which is no doubt the highlight of the day!! 

Overall the Retreat was a great success and the feedback was very positive as you can see from their comments below:”

"The environment was so peaceful and tranquil.  I feel open and free from stress."

"The venue was safe, close to nature, quiet - tranquillity is the order of the day."

About the massage... "I feel the healing effects" & "YHO!!  It’s like I’m a new person now!"

"The yoga helped release my stress."

About the food... "Perfect!", "It was well prepared and very delicious" & "Vegetarian food is actually delicious and healthy with lots of nutritional values."

"You know, sometimes you eat and do things because you don’t have knowledge but now I am a changed person."

Young Woman’s Club
Our beautiful young Earth-Women!

Another very inspiring project I would like to share with you is the Earthchild Project’s Young Woman’s Club run by our inspiring seva warrior, Xoli Fuyani. 

Earthchild Project’s dedicated intern Sarah Mackenzie recently published an article in the “Green Times” which introduces the project beautifully.

 “Together with Hannah Loewenthal, Xoli Fuyani from Earthchild Project started a Young Women’s group six months ago.

When speaking to Xoli about what inspired her to start the group, she said, “Growing up in a township I knew how challenging it is for young people, especially girls. There is a lot of peer pressure. Girls fall pregnant at very early ages, they end up abusing substances and not getting the education they need, which then leads to unemployment. Another huge concern was how under sourced the girls where in terms of knowledge and exposure, most of the girls have few dreams and did not see themselves succeeding in life.”

 Open, free and safe

The Young Women’s group creates an open, free and safe space for 12 girls between the ages of 12 and 16 where they can express themselves freely, sharing with this group their experiences and emotions.

a creative spark

... activities include creative art sessions, which depend on the theme of the day. Themes include visions and goals, feelings and emotions, your relationship with food and body changes. An informative activity about the selected topic includes guest speakers, sharing circles and writing. The group also goes on outings outside the monthly sessions and provides skills development based on the girls’ needs.

The young women enjoying a sharing circle.

... Xoli stated that since she first started the group, she “feels like the girls have come out of their shells. They are now more confident and eager to take charge of their lives.”

This group has inspired these girls to help others and create sustainable change in their communities.” – Sarah Mackenzie

Earthchild Project’s newly born “Scholarship Initiative.” 

I have had the opportunity of connecting with some of these amazing young women through a project I started at the Earthchild Project which aims to refer academically talented children to scholarship schemes which will sponsor their education at Model C or Private schools in Cape Town and through their university years. I have been connecting with scholarship programmes such as the KIDS Foundation and Make a Difference which sponsor children from underprivileged backgrounds. This process requires submitting applications for schools as well as scholarship schemes.  The whole process has been very empowering for these beautiful young leaders. 
One aspect of the application required that the children write essays about their hopes, dreams and motivation for the scholarship. I have been so inspired and taken aback in sharing the powerful dreams, hopes and ambitions of these beautiful young people. I have had to choke down tears of utter amazement and awe as I listened to their views of life, their dreams of a better future and how they were going to play their part in uplifting their communities and changing the world. 
I believe that the emotional intelligence that all these children radiate has been, in a large part, nurtured by the Earthchild Project. They all show a love of self, other and community that is truly inspiring and very overwhelming. I am sure that these amazing life skills together with the right opportunities and access to quality education will ensure that they all succeed in their grand visions.
I would like to share a few exerts with you from their essays.... the human qualities speak for themselves....

My dream is to be a social worker. I want to follow this career because I want to be able to help people face the difficulties in their lives and to become better people because of it. Being a part of the Young Woman’s Club at the Earthchild Project has helped me to deal with my own personal issues and shown me that one day I would like to be a mentor to other young people because I know how helpful it has been to me. “
-          Xabisa Simbulele Maswana, Grade 8 
“My goal is to see every child of Khayelitsha make something of their lives and I hope one day we will all be able to get a good education. Khayelitsha is my home and I am proud of it but I do not want to see the children here suffering and struggling to reach their dreams so one day I hope that I can be in a position to help them and I think this will make not only Khayelitsha but also South Africa a better place.
It would mean a lot to me if I got this scholarship because it would help me achieve all my dreams and give me the opportunity to be who I want to be. I really need this scholarship because my parents cannot afford to send me to a good school or university but I know that education is the key, it is everything.”
-          Anelisiwe Ntshingana, Grade 9

“ I have been very lucky to be involved with the Earthchild Project which helped me to realise my potential and to believe in myself. I now know that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to and reach out for the stars. I know that it takes a lot of work to become a doctor but I am very hard working and I know I can achieve it. If I get this opportunity I will work so hard to make sure I succeed and I will be really happy to show other people in my community that they can do it too. “
-          Sonwabise Sifo, Grade 8

  I only hope that all these beautiful children will get the opportunity to shine and follow their dreams, because they all so deserve it! I think their testimonies also speak to the huge value of education and how too South African’s have to fight so hard to gain access to quality education while so many of us take it for granted; a lesson indeed! There is much work to be done on this front in our country. We need to work hard to improve the quality of education in township schools as well as providing talented children with the opportunity of accessing high quality education which can allow them to play their role in uplifting their communities... this is the space where real empowerment and transformation will take place. 

My hope is that this new Earthchild Project Scholarship initiative will provide these talented young people with the opportunity to succeed. It is just another way in which Earthchild Project is aiming to support our Earthchildren in an ever more holistic manner. Funds that I raise on our “Cape to Cairo” adventure will go towards supporting this programme and in doing so ensure that our Earthchildren receive the right mentorship to make the most of their lives. 

These children are the best investment we will ever make!

To donate to the Earthchild Project please copy and paste this link which will lead you to our secure BackaBuddy site:

Many thanks for your support! 

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful action to a needed cause.
    Excellent choice in transportation ;)

    Wishing you and your dad a a safe, joy filled and most importantly - soul enriching journey.
    Looking forward to following the adventure.