After the flood: Give joy to the children
From June 29th until July 5th, an emergency pedagogy team of the Friends of Waldorf Education provided emergency pedagogical care for children of affected families in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition to that, continuing education in trauma-pedagogy was offered for partner organisations.
The impacts of the heavy rains in May, which lead to flooding in many parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are still omnipresent. Landslides and mudflows piled up layers of mud several meters high and buried houses. Furthermore the floods have exposed remains of war: landmines and explosives now lay bare.
With the help of Germany’s Relief Coalition and the local partner organisations Medica Zenica and Humanost, an emergency pedagogy team from the Friends of Waldorf Education provided emergency pedagogical relief for affected children from June 29th until July 5th.
In the small mountain village Bistrica the Friends of Waldorf Education were able to use rooms in a school and parts of a mosque for their work.
Here the pedagogues and therapists could work with the children and adolescents. In addition to a kindergarten-group for the youngest, art therapy, movement- and experiential education, as well as eurhythmy were offered. These stabilizing methods, which are based on the principles of Waldorf Education, will support the children in coping with their traumatizing experiences. Many children travelled to Bistrica from remote villages to take part in the workshops.
Parents were also engaged in the emergency pedagogic relief provided through the Friends of Waldorf Education. Over two days the Friends offered an introduction on how to deal with traumatised children and they had the chance to ask questions and receive counselling. For many victims the mission of the Friends of Waldorf Education was the first relief they received after the flooding, which made the help provided by the Friends particularly significant.
In the afternoon, the colleagues of the partnering organizations received trainings in Zenica. Medica Zenica will include trauma-pedagogic concepts in their work with girls, women and children that were involved in violent and traumatizing incidents. Humanost administers an early intervention centre for very young children who need specialist support.
Time and time again the volunteer pedagogues and therapists, who arrive with the Friends of Waldorf Education voice how moving they find the work with the children: “It is overwhelming to see the impact the work with the children can have: how they slowly start to open up and regain joy and happiness”, says experiential educator Christopher Huditz.