South African Wellness Studio

by Universal Promise
South African Wellness Studio
South African Wellness Studio
South African Wellness Studio
South African Wellness Studio
Final Product
Final Product

We are happy to share with you our second project report for the Samkelwe Secondary School Wellness Studio. This studio is to be part of the new afterschool curriculum, which we have entitled THEMBA: Xhosa for hope. THEMBA stands for The Holistic Education of Mind, Body, and Attitude, and the studio will house activities that support that vision, including self-defense, yoga & meditation. In addition, this space will honor the award-winning choir and off-the-charts dancing talents, which will allow the school to express its respect for the students' remarkable skills at the same time that it offers students and educators activities with which they may not yet be familiar.

Opportunity. Education. Hope. It’s all good.

Please take a moment to look at the transformation, from beginning to middle to end. Through your generosity, the UP team in the USA and in South Africa managed to take an abandoned classroom and transform it into a peaceful place of learning and growth. 

The studio project (and numerous recent UP projects) was overseen by Coert Erasmus, a dear friend of Universal Promise. In Coert Universal Promise had found a treasure, a man, as Deputy Principal Tutani described, with a golden heart. And then on Sunday, August 30th, he passed away - leaving us all shocked and deeply saddened.

Coert was a man of unparalleled integrity. He was devoted to serving the community, never with a hint of greed. Coert was the classic salt-of-the-earth, a human being without one cell of pretentiousness. He was motivated by only goodness, humor, and fairness - a man who straddled the social divisions with humility and grace.

If we could sprinkle every town in every country on every continent with versions of Coert, we would all see more equality, contentment, genuine friendship, humor, and all that is good in this world. We must strive to live as he lived, with a youthful spirit and an unwavering drive to do what is right, not with fanfare and self-aggrandizement – but only with what matters: seeing the goodness in everyone and living that truth within ourselves. 

Thank you to all of you for supporting this project, which allows Coert's precious legacy to live on at Samkelwe Secondary School.

All that remains now is the purchase of self-defense mats, yoga mats, and an assortment of accessories. Please help us raise these funds by sharing the news of this project; we are confident that in a post-COVID-19 world, the students and educators will avail themselves of these gifts and keep Coert in their hearts with every step.

Thank you.

Beginning
Beginning
Middle #1
Middle #1
Middle #2
Middle #2
End
End

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BEFORE SHOT #1 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO
BEFORE SHOT #1 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO

Universal Promise was so buoyed by the outpouring of support during our GlobalGiving Accelerator that we immediately built on that momentum to begin the studio project. After Samkelwe Secondary School administrators quickly designated a space for the new studio, we hired a South African general contractor and his team of four to visit the site, take measurements, and submit a quotation that includes removing all unnecessary elements, preparing and painting the ceilings and walls, installing a brand new floor (if necessary) or repairing the previous floor (if suitable), fixing windows, installing stronger security measures, enhancing the storage options, hanging a drop-down screen for video projections, and erecting full-length mirrors with a retractable bamboo covering, so the mirrors may be in full view or hidden at the discretion of the instructors.

Our unprecedented Samkelwe after-school program will include vital healthcare options, some of which will take place in the studio our GlobalGiving donors funded. We have already met with those designing key aspects of the curriculum, which will showcase guest lecturers, field-trips, self-defense classes, yoga & meditation, and more. These joint South African-American design teams are currently developing schedules and programs, which will be shared with and evaluated by Samkelwe administrators, educators, parents, and students. Introductory workshops will familiarize adults and learners with the various offerings, gain their trust and appreciation of each activity’s value, and then launch full-scale curricula to serve the school.

While yoga & meditation are not common practices in the township, we believe in exposure and opportunity and have asked the yoga teachers and workshop presenters to be on the lookout for adults who may be interested in and show particular acumen for yoga. Those who demonstrate serious potential and passion may then apply for a Universal Promise grant to receive the training required to become fully-licensed yoga professionals. That undertaking is in line with our mission of education for all, which will ensure the program's permanence and provide economic relief to yoga leaders and their families.

Adults and students alike are excited about and grateful for this first-ever after-school program, which honors education beyond the walls of a traditional classroom. In our first planning session, the yogis engaged in a lot of yahooing, smiling, and fist-raising, and the self-defense coach and community leader was also deeply grateful. As he said, “The youth are the backbone of any healthy society.” We agree.

In this first report, we have included some before photographs for the sake of future comparison. We will update you again once construction gets underway and the contractors transform a forlorn space into a beautiful, peaceful place of self-expression, self-awareness, and self-defense.

In the meantime, we extend our gratitude to each of you for fueling this extraordinary effort: one that will positively affect thousands of educators, students, and families for years to come. If any of your family members, friends, and/or colleagues would be willing to support this project, please share the GlobalGiving link. Change happens because of people like you.

BEFORE SHOT #2 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO
BEFORE SHOT #2 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO
BEFORE SHOT #3 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO
BEFORE SHOT #3 OF THE FUTURE STUDIO

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Organization Information

Universal Promise

Location: Newport, RI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @unipromise
Project Leader:
Martha Cummings
Newport, RI United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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