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Kenya 2017

Further reports about our missions in Kenya can be read HERE.

When Refugee Camps Become Cities

Emergency Pedagogy in Kenya

Only 100 kilometres from the border to South Sudan lies the refugee camp Kakuma, around 180,000 people live here. It is very hot here; the temperature is over 30 degrees year round. The last rainy season brought far too little water, food is becoming scarcer and scarcer. The current conflicts, armed fighting with neighbouring countries and tensions between people with differing religions, languages, and ethnicities -  are intensifying further.

The people are fleeing from war, violence, starvation, and drought and for most of them, the life in camps like Kakuma is still better than in their former homes. An end to the flood of refugees to Kenya is not in sight; over half a million people live here in the refugee camps. For over 25 years, the refugee camp Kakuma has been the final destination for many of them.  They come from all over, but especially from South Sudan, Somalia, and also Burundi, Ethiopia, Congo, and other African countries. Most of them can’t even imagine returning. The people, who came here many years ago as children, are now raising their own children here.

In 2012, the first emergency pedagogy mission took place in the refugee camp Kakuma, more followed. Two years later, a local initiative, the Waldorf Kakuma Project, came into being. Many of the workers there came as refugees themselves and are now integrated into the work. They work daily at six locations in the refugee camp, offering emergency pedagogy to children often under the simplest conditions outside in the open air. The goal is to support children in processing their experiences, who often have not been able to ever attend school, with targeted pedagogy. Another goal is to strengthen the children psychosocially with artistic and social activities. Waldorf Kakuma cooperates regularly with well-known organisation such as the Kinderhilfswerk and the UN, UNICEF, or the UN Refugee Aid Organisation UNHCR.

Only 30 km from Camp Kakuma lies the newly built refugee settlement Kalobeyei. It has only been in existence for a year and is one of the first “new” camps: A permanent settlement is planned with management, trading, and farming. Here too are so called reception centres, the collection basins, in which all arrivals are first stranded. In these admitting facilities, people have to spend up to three months during the registration process, until they receive an accommodation assignment. The refugees stay here for weeks, they aren’t allowed to move freely or cook their own food—they aren’t allowed to live. In this state between flight and arrival, they hardly have the chance to process their experiences. Especially the children suffer from what they have experienced; many are in a physical and psychological alarming state. And their parents, most of whom are themselves traumatised and overwhelmed, are often not able to adequately care for them or strengthen them.

In order to help these children, emergency pedagogy offerings now take place daily in the reception centre of Kalobeyei. Six employees of the Waldorf Kakuma Project sing, paint, and dance with them—offer them a safe place and give them moments of relaxation and joy. In addition, at the end of June an emergency pedagogy mission of the international team will take place. Besides the work with the children in the camp, the focus here will be on the training of local colleagues. Another second mission is planned, likely for autumn of this year.

Our work in Africa is only possible with donations—every bit counts!


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

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