Janna Kretzmar and Earth Child Project:
Empowering Change Within Communities

Earth Child Project: 2023 Simone Awards honoree
Janna Kretzmar, founder of Earth Child Project and 2023 Simone Awards winner.

Nominations for the 2024 Simone Awards are now open. Do you know a committed woman?

Janna Kretzmar is the founder and director of Earth Child Project, a nonprofit organization based in South Africa offering complimentary education in under-resourced schools. She is a laureate of the 2023 Simone Awards, and we had the privilege of interviewing her recently. Let’s delve into her inspiring journey, from the inception of Earth Child Project to its profound impact on thousands of children and communities.

Janna Kretzmar is a South African native whose commitment to education and sustainable development is aiming at shaping the landscape of social advocacy in her home country. As the founder and director of Earth Child Project, Janna channels her passion for yoga, mindfulness, and environmental stewardship into empowering young leaders.

“Our mission is to inspire a new generation of confident, conscious young leaders who become change-makers in their communities,” as Janna likes to say. Earth Child Project empowers children to reach their full potential and become responsible citizens through holistic education programs integrating yoga, life skills, environmental education, and leadership training.

Janna’s journey began nearly two decades ago. Inspired by her personal experiences, she embarked on a mission to bring innovative education programs to underserved communities in South Africa. With a vision of fostering sustainable change, Janna founded Earth Child Project to equip children with the tools they need to thrive in an ever-changing world.

In partnership with schools and communities, the organization has touched the lives of thousands of children and educators. Earth Child Project’s initiatives have led to tangible improvements in academic performance, social cohesion, and environmental stewardship.

Like any social entrepreneurship journey, Janna’s path has been marked by challenges and triumphs. From navigating the complexities of fundraising and organizational management to working in communities impacted by poverty, violence, and social unrest, Janna has shown resilience and determination in the face of adversity. Through it all, her unwavering commitment to Earth Child Project’s mission has fueled her perseverance.

As Earth Child Project enters a new chapter of growth and expansion, Janna’s vision for the organization is as bold as ever. With plans to scale its programs nationally and internationally, Earth Child Project aims to reach even more children and communities with its unique approach to education and social change. Today, Janna focuses on building partnerships and fostering shared values to ensure that the organization’s impact will continue to ripple outward for years.

Janna is thrilled to be one of the two 2023 Simone Awards winners, as this comes at a perfect moment of growth for the organization. “I feel grateful for the honor and because we are in a position now where we’re exploring and excited to expand,” she says. ”The opportunity to get this kind of exposure and credibility feels very exciting because it will support our mission to start growing and expanding.”

When asked how she plans to use the Simone Awards grant, she says “We will allocate this funding towards our Living Classroom Programme which we implement across 8 township schools, with 100 classes, reaching 4,000 children every week.” This Programme was developed to bring hands-on environmental education into the classrooms, through worm farming and container gardening. “We are giving children practical skills to take care of the environment and to grow organic produce at home, as well as providing a resource for the teachers to make environmental education fun and engaging,” she adds. 

Janna Kretzmar’s journey with Earth Child Project serves as a testament to the power of passion, perseverance, and purpose. Through her unwavering commitment to a better world, she has not only transformed the lives of countless children but also inspired a movement toward more compassionate, resilient communities. Granting Earth Child Project a Simone Awards prize is an honor and we hope it will result in new opportunities for the organization to expand. 

For more information about Earth Child Project and how you can support their mission, visit www.earthchildproject.org


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