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Brazil and Colombia, March 2013

Pedagogic and Medical First Aid in case of disaster

Preparative seminars in Brazil and Colombia, March 3rd until March 10th 2013

In the autumn of 2012 the Emergency Pedagogic department of the Friends of Waldorf Education and LandsAid e.V. first collaborated on jointly carrying out seminars in South America. Based on the experiences of this successful cooperation, the Friends and LandsAid once more joined forces this spring and offered various seminars under the title: “Pedagogic and Medical First Aid in Disaster-Situations”. All in all, 280 people throughout Brazil and Colombia attended the seminars. The project was funded by the disaster-prevention program of Aktion Deutschland Hilft, the coalition of German relief organizations, of which both, the Friends and LandsAid are members.

The first part of the activities in Sao Paulo was not organized as a introductory seminar, but instead it was based on last year’s work. The assistance of the local emergency pedagogic group, which was founded after the seminar in 2013, was the main focus. Ways to further strengthen the group’s structural make-up were part of the initial discussion; furthermore, concepts which will cater to the general idea of a worldwide network of emergency pedagogic groups were introduced to the participants. The in-depth discussions and consultations helped the group form a positive outlook for their future activities.

At the Favela Monte Azul, a partnering organization of the Friends, a lecture on the topic of emergency pedagogy was held for people who work with children and adolescents in and around the favelas of Sao Paulo. As most participants deal with traumatized children on a daily basis, this lecture was received with great interest. Also, a practical workshop on concepts and methodic approaches of emergency-pedagogic work was offered at the organization “Corrente de Luz”, which reaches out to socially disadvantaged children and adolescents.

After the seminars in Sao Paulo the team travelled to Colombia from March 7th to March 10th. In Medellin 230 participants took part in the seminar “Pedagogic and Medical First Aid in Disaster Situations”. The seminar was aimed at teachers and other persons who work with children and adolescents and thus have insights into educational issues. The seminar’s aim was to get the participants acquainted with the concept of emergency pedagogy and to give brief practical overview of the methods. Also, participants were introduced to ways of providing first aid when little or no material is available.

The seminar included various lectures on topics of emergency pedagogy and first aid, which were accompanied by discussions and practical workshops. The participants’ response to the seminar was an overall positive one, which could be deduced from the number of participants as well as from their positive feedback after the seminars.

Once again, a focus was also on the goal of forging a world-wide network of emergency pedagogic groups. The Friends of Waldorf Education are working on the training of emergency pedagogic groups all over the world. Those regional groups are meant to carry out emergency pedagogic interventions on their own, or when necessary in cooperation with the Friends of Waldorf Education. This aim appeared to resonate with the participants of this seminars, because in some Colombian cities the start of a local emergency pedagogic groups was initiated. The Friends will accompany their process and they will continue to assist the newly formed groups with their work.

The Friends of Waldorf Education would like to sincerely thank all the people and organizations that were involved in the preparation and realization of this assignment. Special thanks to the local partners for their logistic support, “Aktion Deutschland Hilft” for their funding and LandsAid e.V. for a successful cooperation.

Malte Landgraff

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