One of our commitments at île de païn is to share our ethos of wholesome food as a tool for creating community. “Breaking bread” together is an essential aspect of human connection. The team starts each day in the café sharing intentions for our work and offering support for each other’s personal goals and dreams.
We caught up with Ally Scott-Healey of Active Hearts, a local children’s project we support through provision of nourishing food and our team members’ voluntary participation in outdoor activities.
Tell us why you started Active Hearts?
Active Hearts evolved whilst I was living in Cape Town. I was working in various townships and realised that the children in these severely deprived areas had never had the opportunity to experience the sheer beauty of the City in which they lived. I felt they needed some respite from the very real issues they face on a daily basis: gangs, drugs, abuse, overcrowded classrooms and lack of the day to day amenities many of us take for granted.
What are the key intentions of the programme?
We aim to spark the kids’ imagination and cultivate their interest in places and activities they wouldn’t normally encounter. Each child should know there is a bigger world out there to experience and explore and that they have the opportunity to strive for change in their lives and circumstances. We believe that through education, encouragement, a sense of determination and the help of others in the community – their dreams and goals can be achieved.
Our mentorship comes in the form of encouragement, practical assistance and (most importantly) belief in the child as an individual. We urge the wider community to get involved, thus leading to an understanding the challenges these children face. Mostly though we want the kids to relax and have some fun in beautiful surroundings.
Why do you think getting outdoors and being active is so important?
I could talk all day about how good sport and activity is for a child. Being active outdoors, whether through a sport or just experiencing new sights and places is not only good for the body in a physical way, but also good for the mind and creates a desire to see more of this beautiful country and to appreciate and preserve our shared environment.
What role does food and eating together play in your outings?
Food has played a massively important role from the inception of Active Hearts. Many of the children do not have a healthy diet. It is of paramount importance to offer nutritionious, balanced food when they are with us from the very basic perspective of the kids having enough energy to enjoy their activities. Our shared picnics are a great way to open up a discussion on good nutrition and health and promote lively discussions around litter and environmental issues. Most importantly, the kids have an oportunity to sit together and make new friends whilst enjoying delicious food.
Why did you approach île de païn to partner for Active Hearts?
Markus and Liezie really understand and empathise with the wider, mostly unseen issues within the community. It has been a massive blessing for the children to have such scrumptious picnics on our outings. Plus… they do make amazingly good food and I think the children deserve the best!
What activities do you do in Knysna and with which schools/groups?
We organise monthly hikes along the beautiful beach and forest trails trails on the Garedn Route. We usually take about 30 children from Concordia Primary and Fraiisig Primary schools. Our educational outings cover environmental issues and we learn about the ecosystems and wildlife of the area.
We hold netball clinics at Thembalitsha and Fraiisig primary schools. With the help of our partners, a vegetable garden has now been established and a water tank installed at Thembalitsha Primary. This is just a start. There is so much that can be done.
If an individual or business wanted to get involved, how could they participate?
Contact me and we can discus ways to incorporate your participation in one of our outings, sports clinics or educational events. Everyone has something to offer.
What are your hopes for the kids of Active Hearts?
My wish is for every child involved with Active Hearts to have the same opportunities, coaching, support and experiences that my own children have had. Being a victim of economics should not be a barrier to fulfilling potential, in any gift or interest.
If you would like to contribute or get involved contact Ally Scott-Healey: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit:: www.activehearts.co.za