this is our story
Chapter 3. BEEP
Peer pressure is strong, with many township children as young as 10 years, getting involved in drugs and gangs and alcohol. We encourage all our members to believe in themselves, to work hard at school and to walk the right path, with the right attitude. We want them to have faith and hope in their own future.
The Beyond Expectation Environmental Project (BEEP) exists to help township youth trapped in an environment dominated by poverty connect with the environment. The heart of the project are the hikes to Table Mountain where children learn about nature, water conservation, flora, the consequences of littering and the importance of preserving our environment. On the hikes the children are given a chance for self-reflection and are encouraged to believe in themselves.
Even though Table Mountain is an iconic landmark, many people from surrounding Cape Town townships, including these children, have never had the opportunity to stand on top of the mountain.
BEEP’s main focus is on environmental education ans conservation, but more than that, it realises that it is very hard to teach township kids about respecting and protecting the environment if they have never experienced nature. This access to nature has created space where the children have the opportunity to think and dream; it has a positive influence on their outlook, and builds pride for Table Mountain. The hikes started in 2005 and the project has grown in leaps and bounds ever since. After school workshops were added in 2010 in response to a desire from youth newly connected with the natural world to learn more.
The programme currently has 300 children enrolled, with daily workshops in 10 schools. In addition, BEEP now holds weekend leadership camps for its senior students
Children are taken in groups on trips to Table Mountain and given a chance to escape from tightly to packed low level urban areas into beautiful wide-open spaces where they see into the distance, relax, spend time in silence or talk and unburden themselves of their problems.
They are encouraged to believe in themselves and believe that they can escape from their situation of disadvantage. On returning from the mountain the youth are encouraged to take home what they have learnt to their own communities and encourage others to become involved in conservation.