Light in the darkness: Waldorf initiatives in unexpected grounds

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“If I meet other people and criticize their weaknesses, I rob myself of higher cognitive power. But if I try to enter deeply and lovingly into another person’s good qualities, I gather in that force.”

Rudolf Steiner

In the middle of so much bad news, war tension in the air, political leaders tending to fascism, environmental crimes against our planet (ergo to all of us), it is hard to see the light at the end of this dark tunnel. But, don’t be discouraged. The sparkle is there and will continue to shine as long as there is someone to keep it glimmering.

And that is what some amazing people do building initiatives based on Waldorf Education in unexpected grounds as favelas, territories devastated by military conflicts, and Indigenous lands. Due to political neglect and social prejudice, many children and families are denied to have hope and opportunities through education. However, this is changing due to the work and perseverance of individuals related to Waldorf Pedagogy.

In this post, you will discover four of these communities spread around the globe. Moreover, you will learn how you can help them. 

Protecting orphans in Burkina Faso

In 1987, a German named Katrin Rohde was visiting Burkina Faso and got sick. A customs officer brought her to his home and family and supported her until she got healthier again. To show them her gratitude, she promised to raise money on Germany to build a school in Burkina Faso. And so she did it. Coming back to supervise the construction, she was impressed by the extreme poverty of those people, especially children and decided to stay.

Mama Tenga is how Katrin Rode is known in Burkina Faso. Image retrieved from AMPO website.

After receiving orphan boys into her own house, she opened an orphanage for boys. The name given to the organization was AMPO – Association Managré Nooma pour la protection des orphelins (Managré Nooma Association for the protection of orphans). According to their website, “Managré nooma is a term in Moré, one of the official languages of Burkina Faso, and it means ‘The good is never lost.'”

Now, after 20 years, many other buildings and programs were made. An orphanage for girls, a house to accommodate castaways, pregnant girls and young women with AIDS, a consultation house for women, a hospital ward, projects for disabled, and a school for agriculture are a reality for that poor community thanks to the efforts of Katrin.

Freedom for HIV positives in India

In a society where AIDS is still a taboo, infected tend to be stigmatized and rejected. But the NGO The Freedom Foundation is changing this picture by working to give HIV positive in Hyderabad, India, a life with respect: bed, food, and care. They also have fun with games, competitions, and laughs.

Freedom Foundation logo, retrieved from their website.

It is more than a home for boys and girls from 3 to 14 years old who live there. It is an opportunity to study, to get the medical attention they need, and to have hope in the present and in the future.

Dignity in Brazilian favelas

It was founded in 1979 by Ute Creamer, a German Waldorf teacher, the Associação Comunitária Monte Azul (Community Association Blue Hill). It cares for almost 20.000 people living in three favelas, the most unfortunate neighbours, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Associação Comunitária Monte Azul logo, retrieved from their website.

More than educational and medical support, Monte Azul gives back dignity to people who were humiliated continuously in their lives. 

The association provides intensive work with teenagers, support of schooling, training possibilities, creches, kindergartens, preschools, recreational centres, and middle school. The initiative also hosts a medical centre, as well as a birth facility. The latest project, whose fundraising is ending in a couple days, is an anthroposophical and homeopathic pharmacy to attend free of charge the people from the communities related to the association.

Keeping the Sioux culture alive in the USA

In 1993, in one of the poorest regions of the USA, parents from a Lakota/Sioux group founded a small school in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota. The beauty in this initiative is the aim to keep their culture alive by teaching the children their own language and festivals, adapting Steiner’s education to their cultural reality.

Lakota Waldorf School logo, retrieved from their website.

In Lakota Waldorf School, the parents pay no fee to their children’s education. That is why donations are so important to keep the school running.

How you can help 

These were only four beautiful initiatives among dozens of others in all continents. To know all the Organizations worldwide and donate to them, visit the website Friends of Waldorf Education.

However, on their own websites (the link is in their names), you can find numerous ways to help them: donations, volunteering, and even letters of support. If your heart was touched by their histories, help them to keep the light of their organizations shining and donate.

Be light too!

Love and Gratitude!

Juliana Troll Trujillo

IWalComm creator

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