Having one of those days? This group of Khayelistha children doing their weekly yoga class is exactly what you need to restore your faith in humanity.
We tagged along to a yoga class at Yomelela Primary school in Khayelitsha with adidas and international yogis Adriene Mishler, Chelsey Korus and Clio Pajczer. And it was a morning of All. The. Feels. The class was part of a regular programme run by Earthchild Project – a non-profit organisation that teaches yoga at under-resourced schools in Cape Town’s townships. Led by Earthchild Project schools coordinator, Noks Jada, it was the most fun yoga class we’ve ever attended!
Watch the video here:
Why Teach Children Yoga When They Need Food?
It’s a question that Janna Kretzmar, director and founder of Earthchild Project, hears often. You can give kids a meal and it’s going to help them in that moment, she says. But this equips them for life. Many of the children who started with Earthchild Project 1o years ago have gone on to become yoga teachers and mentors, themselves. Through their practice, they say they’ve learnt to respect the environment, their bodies and themselves.
The classes are fun and interactive and kids are encouraged to speak and laugh.
A Moment Of Joy In A Difficult Life
Many of the children who attend Earthchild Project’s classes have a really hard time of it at home. For them, the weekly classes are more than just learning to breathe and stretch. They’re an outlet – a safe space, where the children can share, find support and develop inner strength. They learn not only the physical aspects of yoga, but the philosophy around it – the importance of being kind to others, themselves and the earth. Jada, who grew up in Khayelitsha and lives there still, is all too familiar with the challenges her young students face. “I tell them, ‘I know it’s hard,'” she says. “‘You went to bed hungry last night? I know what that’s like. But there’s always a reason to smile.”
Yoga helps the children cope with the challenges they face daily.
R200 To Change A Child’s Life
Earthchild Project runs purely on sponsorship and donation. It costs just R200 to sponsor a child a weekly yoga class for a year. The organisation also teaches children environmental education and life skills. Through their holiday clubs and hiking clubs they take kids on outings to explore parts of Cape Town they would otherwise never have seen. It shows the children that there’s more to the world than the township where they live, broadening their horizons. Seeing what’s out there inspires them to achieve more with their lives. Once they finish school, many of the students enrol in Earthchild’s internship programme for a year, where they practise teaching younger kids. That way they develop a skill they can use to start a career, they have the opportunity to network with contacts around the world and they give back to their communities. It becomes a cycle of sharing and kindness.
International yogis and adidas brand ambassadors Chelsey Korus, Clio Pajczer and Adriene Mishler joined Earthchild Project’s Noks Jada teaching the kids.
Looking for more? This is how yoga helped this woman cope with her pregnancy.