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Haiti 2016

Emergency Pedagogy Against the Despair

Unimaginable Destruction after the Strongest Hurricane in 9 Years

On October 29th, only a few weeks after the destructive hurricane Matthew, a team from the emergency pedagogy department of the Friends of Waldorf Education travelled to Haiti. The maximal wind speed and torrential downpour ravaged entire regions of the bitterly poor country, trees were uprooted and houses destroyed. With support from Aktion Deutschland Hilft, additional donations, and in cooperation with local partner organisations, a ten person team was able to work with teachers and children for two weeks on location.

On January 12th, 2010 the improvised island country was hit by a category 7 earthquake. After 6 years many still have unprocessed memories of this catastrophe and suffer from the results. Now the psychological wounds have once again been opened, the people were retraumatised. What’s more, further problems for the people were caused by the destruction of agriculture and nature. Many farmers have lost their harvest and with it their only source of income and now don’t know how they should continue. In order to process these experiences and to stabilise affected persons, psycho-social support is of upmost importance.

On, in part very adventurous routes, our volunteer colleagues were able to also reach remote regions, which were especially hard hit by the hurricane. Emergency pedagogy seminars in schools, which now function as emergency shelters, gave teachers trauma pedagogical foundational knowledge and emergency pedagogy methods. The offerings for the children and adolescents gave them safety, structure, and continuity and made it possible for them to build-up new trust in themselves and the environment. The work also helped the teachers; they reported having new energy and fresh ideas for the school day and also in dealing with traumatised children.

In addition to pedagogical first aid, the team also brought medical care to Haiti: check-ups, wound care, and chronic pain had to be treated. Also individual care for especially strongly affected persons was made possible by this mission. One of these especially traumatised children is the 13 year old Ed: Only 5% of his vision is intake, he has a jaw malposition, and a previously operated cleft-lip-and-palate. His mother died in the earthquake of 2010. He lives now with relatives out of necessity, who are overwhelmed with the care of the disabled boy and provided badly rather than well for him. Ed hardly speaks at all, since the hurricane he hasn’t spoken a single word to adults. In addition, he could hardly sleep due to the traumatic stress. After a massage by our emergency pedagogue, he could finally find some relaxation and then slept for a few hours. Through the attention and emergency pedagogy exercise he spoke again for the first time since the storm after five days.
Sometimes though, just the attention or little activities are enough for children to experience self-efficacy. This can be the initial ignition which activates their self-healing powers.


  • +++ 18.11.2018 +++

    Disaster in Indonesia

    The severe earthquake and tsunami in October brought death and destruction to the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.  In order to support the traumatised people in coming to terms with their experiences, an emergency education mission took place in the crisis region in November. more

  • +++ 01.11.2018 +++

    Help for the Philipines

    A team of the emergency pedagogy flies from 27.09. to 08.10. to the Philippines. Together with four local colleagues they will support the victims of the typhoon "Mangkhut". The storm caused serious damage in the Philippines and cost the lives of many people. Landslides and mudslides further aggravate the situation. more

  • +++ 10.11.2018 +++

    Mission in Gaza

  • +++ 13.07.2018 +++

    NOTE: Annual Emergency Pedagogy Conference 2019

    From 20 to 23 June 2019, the eighth annual emergency pedagogical conference will take place in the premises of the Parzival Centre in Karlsruhe.
    Under the title "Emergency pedagogy - How pedagogy can help injured (children's) souls", we will focus on the basis of emergency pedagogy at our next annual conference.

    Program and further information

Friends of Waldorf Education

Emergency Pedagogy
Karlsruhe Office
Parzivalstraße 2b
76139 Karlsruhe
Tel +49 (0)721 20111-144
Fax + 49 (0)721 20111-180

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