Cape Town - You are never too young to learn about mental health. The Harare, Khayelitsha CAN (Community Action Network) has shown just this by starting yoga classes for 15 students aged 4 to 10 years.
“I decided to start a yoga class for the children from the community kitchen as an activity, aside from just providing meals to them. We live in a stressful time, Yoga helps children manage their anxiety. Breathing exercises and relaxation techniques help them with stress management. It also helps strengthen their growing bodies. Yoga is something that we hardly see being done in the townships; a lot of children have shown interest in the yoga class,” said the founder of the group, Khanya Qongqo from Khayelitsha.
The Yoga classes are held in her yard, which has limited space and due to Covid-19 protocols she can only take a certain number of kids, even though the demand is high.
“I would like to encourage young people to start such initiatives in their areas, one doesn't have that much experience. If you have the passion for it, you're good to go,” said Qongqo.
With the 15 students that she has, they require some yoga mats to make the classes more comfortable. If you want to help, you can check out their social media pages.
Harare, Khayelitsha CAN was established as a rapid relief response under Cape Town Together, to help alleviate hunger in vulnerable communities.
“When the lockdown regulations to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 disease was announced, it had an immediate and devastating effect on the people of Khayelitsha. Many people in this low-income area were already food insecure and are facing increasingly dire circumstances if no food relief is provided. Through this, Harare Community Action Network was born. The consequences of the lockdown regulations include the disruption of neighbourhood support networks and the ability of daily wage earners to earn a living, causing thousands of adults and children to face hunger,” said Qongqo.
Parent Esperance Kamikaze said she was happy about the initiative as it gave the children something to do. “We stay in the location and there isn't much to do; now the children can be active,” said Kamikaze.
Her 10-year-old daughter Celiwe said she had attended the classes about three times now.
“I am happy that I get to exercise with my friends and also relax at the same time. I learnt more respect and how to be calm.”