Basis for further work with Syrian refugee children established
The emergency pedagogical mission from the "Friends of the Waldorf Education" for Syrian refugees in Lebanon was successful. From the 23rd of August 2013, 2 weeks of workshops for children affected by the civil war during which they could be creative. Additionaly, the team offered emergency pedagogic training for Syrian and Lebanese caretakers and established long term cooperation with Syrian NGOs.
In the refugee camps Shatila and Bourja al Barajne, near Beirut, the emergency pedagogues with support of “Action Deutschland Hilft” organized workshops for children affected by the civil war. In addition to their traumatic experiences, the close-quarters at the refugee camp, which forces up to 12 people to live in a small, dark room, add to the constricted atmosphere. The children’s adult care-takers suffer themselves from the affects of their experiences during the civil war. The goal of the workshops was to lessen the effects of the trauma caused by the civil war. To this end, the creative work helped to psychosocially stabilize the children and prevent post traumatic stress disorders. Between the two camps, circa 150 children took part in the art and experiential educational interventions. The workshops were organized in cooperation with the NGO “Nazma – Learning and Resource Centre” and took place in kindergartens. The children happily took part in the diverse offerings. While painting as well as during movement and trust exercises, they gradually warmed up and were distracted from their otherwise hard daily life with which they are confronted on a daily basis.
Parallel to the children’s programme, training supported by the Lebanese NGO “National Institute for Social Care and Vocational Training (Beit Atfal Assumoud)“ was offered for pedagogues. This training ensures the sustainability of the emergency pedagogic team’s work. Circa 60 pedagogues and childcare workers, actively working in Syria for relief organizations, took part in the continuing education. In particular a close partnership was developed with “Syrian Society for Social Development“ and cooperation with the curative educational Organization „Jürgen Wahn Stiftung e.V.“ was strengthened and future cooperative projects will be planned. The personnel of these organizations truly embrace the training offered by the Friends of Waldorf Education. Though some prospective participants had to cancel their participation due to the bad travel-conditions in Lebanon, the team considers their emergency pedagogic assignment to be a great success.
Further emergency pedagogical missions are being planned in Damascus, Tartos, and Hama with the newly made local contacts in order to reach affected children in these areas. “We are very pleased that during the mission we were able to establish cooperation for long-term involvement in the region” said Bernd Ruf, leader of the emergency pedagogical team and director of the “Friends.”