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OUR HUMANS

A conscious community dedicated to spreading appreciation and love for our natural world.

Our management team

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MICHAELA GEYTENBEEK

Founding Directress of the Kinship Programme

Hi there, I'm Michaela: a barefoot environmentalist with a passion for nurturing a love of nature. I grew up building forts, racing snails and helping at my mum's Montessori PreSchool. After school I completed a Montessori teaching diploma, Mechanical Engineering degree and Postgraduate in Sustainable Development. I also found hiking. Being fully immersed in nature had a profound effect on me and I came to believe that everyone should be able to experience the majesty of the mountains, the all-consuming rationality of how small we are, and yet, capable. As a result, I founded PathFinders_SA and have been lucky to witness the incredible effect that nature has had on many others. While working on my masters in Environmental Engineering I came to believe that the split with nature is at the heart of the environmental crisis. I also realized that many children in Durban did not have the opportunity to engage with wild nature in a safe environment. As a result, I started the Kinship Programme, and shifted my research and masters to an MPhil in Sustainable Development. I hold a MPhil in Sustainable Development focusing on facilitating the development of nature connectedness. Concurrently I completed my mountain guiding qualification and a certificate in Montessori Elementary Teaching. I also work as a research consultant looking at shaping education for the 21st century.

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TATUM HOLDER

Co-Founder of Kincottage

Hello! My name is Tatum! You can often find me in nature surfing in the ocean, sun kissed on the warm sandy beaches or playing my ukulele tunes. After growing up in a Montessori environment and having my mum being a Montessorian, owning her own school, a deep love and passion for the Montessori Method and approach ignited. This inspired me to study and qualify in Montessori directress for ages 3-6 and 6- 12. On top of Montessori, I am also an active Specialised Kinesiologist, aspiring part time musician and have a certificate in Level 3 First Aid. I have had teaching experience teaching in schools, overseas as well as having a passion in working with special needs children. During the pandemic in 2020, I started a little homeschool tutoring group which lead me along a journey to where I am today, running Kin Cottage alongside Michaela.

 

I believe that when we educate the WHOLE child and give them every opportunity to understand their individual uniqueness, value and purpose here on Earth. With a love of nature and appreciation of the world around them; our children will be able to create a grounded, passionate, more loving, righteous, healthier and more peaceful society.

SAM RIELLY

Lead Facilitator at Kinship Programme

My name is Samantha Rielly and I love to spend time outdoors, and I look to be in that setting in my professional career as I study towards a BSc Honors in Environmental Science.

 

My deep appreciation for the Earth comes from being immersed in the natural environments of KZN while growing up. When I think about this part of my childhood, the words of Maria Montessori come to mind, “The child can only develop fully by means of experience in his environment. We call such experience 'work'.” It is my aim to facilitate this meaningful 'work’ through the Kinship Programme. It brings me great joy to provide a safe space for children to reconnect with the Earth, explore with curiosity, and absorb knowledge as they engage with the environment.

Our friends

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CRAIG WIDDOWS

Ecologist and Lifelong Birder

The hills are alive! Birds inhabit a variety of habitats from suburban gardens, conservation areas to beaches, forests and grasslands. The pursuit for our feathered friends allows us to not only appreciate their beauty but experience the habitats that they call home. Our children need to be reunited with nature and birding is a fantastic conduit for this experience, improving and nurturing their physical and mental wellbeing.  

The benefits of birding or bird watching for children of all ages is immense, having profound impacts on their growth and development. Birding requires our children to slow down, be more attentive and most importantly, be full present. The variety of characters needed to identify birds builds memory and focus whilst the ability to spot the birds builds their visual perception skills. The culmination of these aspects will also lead to engaging questions such as why do birds sing? Or how do they fly?

Join us as we allow nature back into our homes and watch the benefits that birding will provide for your family.

Contact: 083 781 8725

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GIFFY DUMINY

Street Artist

 Giffy has been transforming Durban with his street art: bringing colour, light and awareness to our suburbs. As a nature lover, many of Giffy's pieces feature fauna, flora and animals. He has worked on pieces that raise awareness for our endangered wildlife as well as acts against wildlife. We had the honour of being guided by Giffy on an artwork in 2021 at The Forest Cafe in Umhlanga. He were completely inspired by him: his talent for his craft as well as his absolute patients while working with our children.


If you are looking to brighten up a space, Giffy can help.

You can see some of his work at:

www.giffyduminy.com

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PathFinders_SA

Mountain Guides

Each season PathFinders_SA lead a hike or overnight adventure for our kiddies in the Drakensberg mountains or other wild spaces. 

See more of what they offer at www.pathfinderssa.com or contact them on pathfinderssa@gmail.com

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ENVIROFIXERS

Environmental Conservation Organisation

Envirofixers are dedicated to safeguarding the Durban North neighbourhood & environment by replacing alien invader plants with indigenous plants. They work alongside the Municipality and Ward Councillor, to create healthy green spaces for the community to enjoy

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NIKKI BRIGHTON

Forager and writer

Nikki is wild about weeds. A writer, activist, and locavore, she is well known in the Midlands for her passion for the environment, community, and local living. Her immersive experiences focus on finding and tasting weeds found in gardens and public spaces. She knows all the spots to find wild food – and where to source the best local ingredients in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. With Nikki as your guide, you will learn to identify various delicious edibles and surprise your palate while foraging for free food.

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To read more about her, and some of her work please see: www.plantabundance.co.za

nikki@plantabundance.co.za

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