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Kenya November 2012

Fourth Mission of the “Friends” in the refugee camp Kakuma-Conversations with UN about the continuation of the project planned

From the 26th of November to the 2nd of December, the fourth emergency pedagogical mission of the Friends of Waldorf Education in northern Kenyan refugee camp Kakuma took place. Reasons for this trip among others are conversations with the representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) about the continuation of the project into the next year. Besides this supervision of the pedagogical trauma work in the reception centre, in the protection area, and in the Songot Kindergarten are planned.

After the Songot kindergarten, that has been run by the Friends since January 2012, was evaluated  by UNICEF to be the best of the 14 kindergartens in the camp, the chances for a continuation of the emergency and trauma pedagogical intervention in 2013 are good: “we are ready to be engaged for the whole of next year,” said Malte Landgraff, coordinator of emergency pedagogy at the “Friends”. The work on site is just as before necessary, because hundreds of new refugees arrive daily, of which a large part have traumatic experiences which need processing.

In addition to the expansion of the emergency and trauma pedagogical work in the camp, in the next year the continuing education of teachers will receive special focus. At the request of the UN, the “Friends” will open a continuing education centre for teachers, at which all primary school teachers of the camps will be able to be further educated. Landgraff supports this request: “only about 30 percent of the local professionals are trained primary school teachers and have a basic qualification in the work with children and youths.” One wants now to correct this deficiency with a coordinated education for teachers, according to Landgraff.

Emergency and trauma pedagogical measures should especially take teacher education into consideration: “ a rudimentary training as primary school teacher or preschool teacher does not prepare one for the work with psycho-traumatised children and youths”, emphasises Landgraff. Therefore in the next year regular practical and theoretical training sessions will be organised in order to train teaching personnel for working with psycho-traumatised children.

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