Nia Outreach Programme

The Nia Outreach Programmes initiative, under the auspices of Nia South Africa, is a collaborative effort to bring the joy and healing of the Nia Technique to those who are not in the fortunate position to be able to attend regular Nia classes.

Nia South Africa is committed to facilitating Nia beyond its regular scope of studios and gyms. The root of this initiative began with Nia being introduced to an Aids project, Pollsmoor Prison inmates, Rape Crisis counselors to name a few. Still in its early phase we hope this programme will evolve to encompass a variety of projects across South Africa.

Kathy Wolstenholme has given Nia classes and workshops for:

  • Domestic Workers Association conference – June 2007
  • Cancer Convention – with comedian Marc Lottering and 800 Cancer Survivors! – June 2007
  • Rape Crisis Center  with the crisis counselors – June 2009
    Their experience….“Nia is like doing a space clearing for the body, like a feng shui for the body instead of the house.” “I feel like something heavy is lifted off of me”, “I feel my body dissolve worry as we lay on the floor”.

The GAPA Nia programme – Grannies against poverty and Aids – in Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Gillian Warren-Brown, a White Belt in Cape Town, teaches a weekly Nia class with a group of Khayelitsha grandmothers who are part of an organisation called Grandmothers Against Poverty and Aids (GAPA). GAPA operates in a very under-resourced area of Cape Town where the majority of people live on an average income of R900 a month. ($120) The grandmothers who visit the centre are often the sole caregivers for households of orphaned and vulnerable children. Most of them are looking after grandchildren because the mothers have either died of Aids or are sick. They meet at a hall in the township to do crafts, income-generating activities, and workshops to inform the community about Aids and other health issues.

What Nia is doing for them…..”most of the Grandmothers have arthritis and high blood pressure, but since they’ve been doing Nia, their joints are loosening up and they say they can walk more easily because their knees are not so sore any more. No matter what hardships and tragedy they have in their lives, they are absolutely IN the moment when they dance – and their capacity for joy and laughter is amazing and infectious”, say Gillian.

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Nia classes in the Ocean View community

White Belt Maggie Joubert started a Nia class in Ocean View,outside of Kommetjie, on the 18th of January 2010 after she had read about Nia in Kayelitsha and really felt that  she’d like to give something back to her community. “Nia HAS so much to give! Says Maggie, “I advertised through the local clinic in Ocean View – a doctor there regularly comes to Nia… with her blessing and encouragement I found a space to dance in the local Roman Catholic Church Hall. What a turn-out! What joy! The responses have been phenomenal…many of the women have come to me and say they have increased mobility, diminished joint ache, improved circulation, less stress. We laugh and shout and shimmy and sweat. I have never had less that 15 women in the hall, once as many as 33! it really warms my heart to go there every week. I feel truly blessed to be able to share the gift of Nia with the women – to see so many smiling and appreciative faces, to be greeted so enthusiastically every Monday! There are grandmothers, young mothers with babies, daughters and friends. And at the end of the hour, we all go home, feeling empowered, energised, renewed, positive. Anyway, . Thank you Nia!

Maggie teaches these classes are free of charge. In this traditionally “coloured” community, many people are unemployed, and many households are plagued by drug addiction, crime, domestic violence and all kinds of socio-economic issues.  She finds it so heartwarming that almost all the women insist on giving a little donation after each the class, so that it always covers her petrol money, and more. It’s a class that 99% of those women would never be able to afford if they had to pay for it at the dance studio where Maggie teaches in Noordhoek.