Who we are
Eco Children is a non-profit organisation, initiated by the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, which focuses on hands-on environmental education and whole school development. We sow seeds of change, empowering children by increasing their awareness of conservation; stimulating their desire to learn; improving their learning environment; improving the quality of their education; and providing opportunities for talented learners.
What we do
Conservation Education | Whole School Development
Eco Children works with some of the poorest schools in Limpopo and Mpumalanga in north east South Africa. Our initial focus has been on rural primary schools in the Acornhoek / Bushbuckridge district of Mpumalanga and our introduction into the schools has been via our Eco Villages.
Eco Children facilitates workshops with different eco-based themes for children and adults to teach them about the environment they live in. Eco Children started life as Children’s Eco Training when the organisation was founded by Sandy Wilkes in 2004. Sandy came up with the idea to present holiday workshops for the children of the working community in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve to teach them more about the environment they live in.
Eco Villages, developed in partnership with our sponsor Make A Difference Leadership Foundation, are the entry point in developing a broad-based relationship with a school. Eco Villages consist of a large vegetable garden plus refurbished classrooms with vibrant murals for conservation-based lessons
While working on various projects in our community it became evident that many of the children in our adopted schools did not own a school uniform. The Kit-a-Kid initiative was born from this need: through donations and fundraising, children are supplied with a complete school uniform.
The third phase of whole school development is working with our adopted schools to build the capacity of educators. We run regular and ongoing capacity building workshops for Level R educators as well as maths workshops, both areas of great need.
Eco Children has provided volunteer opportunities for hundreds of young people globally, inspiring leadership plus personal & profession growth.
Through our involvement in several charitable projects it became apparent that donors want to be more involved in projects by not only donating financially but also donating their time, expertise and skills to make a difference. Eco Children’s volunteer programme was created with this in mind, to provide people with an opportunity to give back to the community in a more intimate way.
The volunteer programme links directly to our Support-a-School initiative. The main objective of the programme is to identify projects to improve not only the infrastructure of the school but also add to the established Eco villages and continued expansion of ongoing projects.
Our valued volunteer partners
Recently, Eco Children has forged a strong relationship with Australian Volunteers International and has hosted the Classic Wallabies Exchange volunteers through AVI for two consecutive years. For more on the CWE programme, watch our video of the opening of the Eco Village at Hloaia Primary School. We also have a long-standing and valued relationship with African Impact, who bring volunteers from around the globe and contribute to our conservation and education work and provide us with stunning photography to help us promote our work.
We also have valued relationships with DHL Gauteng and look forward to growing our corporate relationships as more companies, institutions and families wish to give back to the community in a more participatory way.
Volunteering with Eco Children
Eco Children caters for different types of volunteer groups:
Corporate Volunteer days
Companies or local businesses can identify a specific project within our adopted schools. The company then sponsors the cost of the project as well as implementing a volunteer day for staff. These projects are extremely beneficial to companies that are looking for sustainable projects to invest social responsibility funds and acquire BEE ratings and a PBO certificate. These days are also great for team building activities.
Many scholars choose to do their community service hours with us and enjoy the interaction with the children and the incorporation of environmental aspects. Most learners complete their community service hours during holidays when we host our Holiday Workshop programmes in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.
Listing Sponsored by Nigel Redfearn