Earthchild’s Project “Living Classrooms” breathe new life into communities.
Young lives are being changed and enriched in Cape Town’s impoverished townships through the Earthchild Project’s “Living Classrooms”.
Janna Kretzmar founded Earthchild in 2007 with the vision of nurturing a new generation of conscious and empowered young leaders through practical yoga and nature-based classes.
MEETCHANGEMAKERS is sponsoring a Living Classroom for a year, which means that 40 students are able to attend weekly one-hour lessons focusing on yoga, life skills and healthy living; and worm farming and gardening.
Weekly yoga lessons include yoga postures, relaxation exercises, games and songs. They equip students with practical life-skills and knowledge about how to be healthy, confident and resilient.
This confidence bubbles out in an interview conducted with Hlumisa when she was just 10 years old.
“Yoga makes your body healthy. My favourite is the tree pose, which calms by body. With my arms in the air, it feels like I am flying. Yoga makes me feel happier and healthier”.
There are also mental benefits: “ECP (Earthchild Project) influenced me by knowing my self respect, my dignity and respect for my whole body.
“I learned to respect others. I learned to love others and to do good for others”
Hlumisa is also keen to share her new-found yoga and life skills and hosts classes for the children in her neighbourhood.
She dreams big: “I want to teach kids, moms, dads, grandmothers and grandfathers how to do yoga and then tell them that yoga is important to your body. In future I want to be a doctor to help the sick ones and disabled ones.
Aiden is a fellow Eco Warrior who, at the age of 12, has found ECP to be a safe place. “The sense of community that I feel is very strong in the sense that we can talk about anything, especially with animals, or plants or whatever is on your mind.
“And it just creates a really strong bond, even though it’s just for an hour”.
He understands there is more value to gardening than producing food.
“Gardening can teach responsibility. It can teach me how to overcome huge mountains of challenges, and it’s very therapeutic, I think”.
When he leaves school, the young Eco Warrior has his sights set on becoming “a zoologist, marine biologist, an animal behavioural expert or a chief of veterinarian staff”.
The Eco Warrior ethos also appeals to 12-yar-old Sakeel because of the spirit of cooperation. “In the Eco Warriors group everybody helps you. Nobody says my garden is bigger than yours. Nobody’s fighting over whose garden looks nicer and everybody’s helping.
“When I am in trouble or something is eating my plants, somebody will say, ‘this is what I did to take my pests away. Why don’t you also try it?’’’.
And he has a mission: “If I could change one thing of how people treat nature then it would be for people to see what the impact of littering does to our planet. Your one packet of chips could kill a fish. It could kill a bird, anything. So, think about what you’re going to kill before you litter”.
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