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Haiti: September 2010

Despite the Rubble in Haiti…Ensure Sustainability

The Friends of Waldorf Education carried out their third emergency pedagogy mission in the earthquake region of Haiti from September 19th to October 3rd. The focus of this mission was to improve already established structures. Besides this, the local professionals were taught a diverse set of pedagogical methods for their work with traumatised children, with the goal of ensuring the professional work long-term.

The eleven person team of the “Friends” worked at two locations at the same time during their two-week long mission in the earthquake region. A group of five persons was stationed in the Haiti capital of Port-au-Prince and primarily offered workshops for the “animateurs” of the Karlsruhe organisation “Unsere kleinen Brüder und Schwestern” (Our Little Brothers and Sisters). “Animateurs” are former orphans who lived in the homes run by the Karlsruhe aid organisation, with whom we work. The “animateurs” are now for the most part salaried workers at “Unsere kleinen Brüder und Schwestern” and work with children in various institutions for children in and around Port-au-Prince. Furthermore the team members went with the animateurs to their projects so that they could reflect the work together.

The six volunteer team members of the “Friends”, who travelled to Léogâne, worked with teachers at the two Child Friendly Spaces in and around Léogâne. A focus was the teaching of pedagogical methods to inspire teachers in their work with the children and to further train them in a competent manner.

The situation in Léogâne which was severely affected by the earthquake is as before highly volatile. The rubble and destruction are still present. The people live in unhygienic conditions in tent cities. This has caused an increase in violence and sexual assaults, which also affect children and adolescents directly, according to an employee of “Kindernothilfe” in Haiti. The rubble, the daily confrontation with the destruction, and the additional increase in propensity to violence causes the people to be continuously re-traumatised, especially the children and adolescents. The doctor-team of the “Friends” focused on this topic and tried to help persons affected by violence. Just like before, the children of Haiti need support in processing their experiences and require accompaniment.

During the first emergency mission in February of this year in Haiti, the “Friends” in cooperation with Kindernothilfe and the local NGO Acrederp, created a Child Friendly Space—a child protection area—in the city of Léogâne, which was heavily affect by the earthquake. Here, local professionals were employed to continue the work with traumatised children in cooperation with Kindernothilfe. In Mariannie, near Léogâne, a second child protection centre for about 300 children was founded. In both Child Friendly Spaces, around 30 teachers work with children from 3 to 12 years old using pedagogical methods.

During the second emergency pedagogy intervention of the “Friends” in May 2010, the focus was on continuing education courses for Haitian professionals to increase their repertoire of pedagogical methods. Additionally, local employees of Kindernothilfe and the Karlsruhe organisation “Unsere kleinen Brüder und Schwestern” were trained in emergency pedagogy in workshops.

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