THE EKURHULENI PROJECT
The Ekurhuleni Center for Orphans and Vulnerable Children is located in Tinstwalo Village, Limpopo Province, South Africa. The village borders South Africa’s famed Kruger Park, home of the “big five” — the lion, rhinoceros, elephant, and leopard.
The Ekurhuleni Center serves approximately 230 children, ranging in ages from five to 18. Most are orphans, many of them having lost their parents to HIV and AIDS.
The children receive one meal per day, usually composed of “pap,” a highly processed cornmeal, some beans, and occasionally some vegetables from their garden. Once a week, a serving of meat is provided.
On the whole, their diets are deficient in both nutrition and calories.
The Monte Foundation for Creating a Healthier World has committed to providing the Ekurhuleni Children with three plant-based meals per day, plus two-to-three servings of fermented vegetables per day.
Our intention is to transform their microbiomes — the vast population microflora living in the digestive tract — and thereby restore their physical, mental, and emotional health.
Scientists from the Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy have partnered with the Monte Foundation to study the effects of the Foundation’s program on the physical and mental health of the children.
The Monte Foundation’s vision is to utilize our breakthrough program to transform the health and well being of people — not just in South Africa, but in the U.S. and around the world.
See below for more on our project, the Tufts University scientific study, and the power of the microbiome to restore health.
Science That Can Truly Heal The World
1. The Monte Foundation for Creating a Healthier World is partnering with Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, among the most prestigious nutrition research and teaching universities in the United States and the world.
Tufts scientists will follow the effects of the Monte Foundation intervention on Ekurhuleni children and adult caregivers for one year and measure changes in the children’s literacy, cognition, emotional, and mental health. Tufts scientists will also conduct brain blood flow measurements in the children and adult caregivers, a crucial index that forms the basis for improved brain health.
The scientists will also help develop a manual for the Monte Foundation intervention that will make the program reproducible for at-risk and vulnerable communities throughout the world.
The Tufts researchers will monitor and collect data at three points in the study — at baseline, at 3 months, and at 12 months, and will publish the study findings in one to three high-impact medical and scientific journals.
2. Our project and its impact on the health of these children and their caregivers will be the subject of a documentary film, produced by veteran South African filmmaker Ben Du Preez and his production company, Street Smart Creative Film and Television Productions.
We intend to exhibit our documentary at film festivals around the world and make it available through the many television documentary outlets, such as National Geographic, The History Channel, Netflix, Amazon, and other widely viewed outlets.
3. Bestselling American author Tom Monte, who is one of the initiators of the Ekurhuleni Program, will write a book about the project, the program, the children and their caregivers, and all of the co-workers who will help transform the health of the Ekurhuleni children community.
4. Armed with our experience at Ekurhuleni; with our scientifically documented results; and with the documentary film, we intend to implement our transformational program in other at-risk communities in South Africa and other African communities; and in North America, Europe, and throughout the world.
The Symbiotic Life Within
The power of this program to transform health is unique among all dietary and lifestyle approaches to healing, in part because it unleashes the immense healing powers of the human microbiome.
The microbiome is the vast population of bacteria that inhabits the human digestive tract, from the mouth to the rectum. It covers the skin; lives within tissues, organs, and bodily fluids; it even extends beyond the human body to define the bacterial environment of one’s home and workplace.
Composed of trillions of bacteria, the microbiome is a living organism that plays a crucial role in every aspect of our physical, emotional, and mental health. Scientists have now established that the health of the microbiome determines the strength of the immune system; the health and function of every organ in the body, including the brain; and the mental and emotional state of every individual.
The health of the microbiome depends on the consumption of high-quality plant and fermented foods; the amount of stress in the person’s life; and the quantity of processed and toxic foods consumed. Each and every meal helps determine the kinds of bacteria that flourish in the gut, and thus contributes to the health- or disease-promoting conditions within the entire organism.
We can transform the health and microbiomes of these children, and in the process change the very arc of their lives. As their physical, emotional, and mental health improve, there is no limit to what each of these children can achieve as adults — and in the process, what they can give to their community, country and to the world.
Our Unique Method
For more than three decades, author, teacher, and counselor Tom Monte has coached many thousands of people to better physical and emotional health. He has helped people overcome life-threatening illnesses and led others to the restoration of their lives after severe personal crises.
Some of these remarkable case histories are documented in his books, including his most recent book, Unexpected Recoveries: Seven Steps to Healing Body, Mind, and Soul When Serious Illness Strikes.
Tom and his co-workers — Dr. Christina Monte, Dania Josua Du Preez, Ben Du Preez, and the rest of our team (see below) — offer a unique approach that integrates traditional South African wisdom with scientific understanding to create a program that addresses health on the physical, mental, and emotional levels.
The Program for Ekurhuleni is based on three major components.
1. Daily, optimal consumption of the traditional diet of South Africa, which is composed of an abundance of highly nutritious plant foods.
2. Daily, optimal consumption of traditional South African fermented foods.
3. A self-esteem-boosting program drawn from South African teachers and healers, and from Tom Monte’s own extensive experience from working with many people from diverse cultures around the world.