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Kurdistan-Iraq August-September 2016

"Summer schools" - A project of the Friends of Waldorf Education with Welthungerhilfe

From August 26th till September 9th, an emergency pedagogy team from the Friends of Waldorf Education will travel again to the autonomous region of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq. In addition to their currently established project in the three refugee camps, they will work under the direction of the Welthungerhilfe (World Hunger Aid) together with other aid organizations in the so-called “summer schools”. This mission of emergency pedagogues is now the tenth in the region of Dohuk.

The “summer schools” will take place for over 50 days. They are financed from the GIZ (German Society for International Cooperation) and coordinated by the German World Hunger Aid. The implementation partners are in addition to the Friends of Waldorf Education three further aid organizations: ACTED – Agency for Technical Cooperation & Development, PIN – People In Need und TEARFUND – a Christian development and aid organization.

Altogether 6,000 people will be employed within the program and around 75,000 participating children are expected.

The “summer schools” are a cash-for-work program, meaning adults in need from the refugee camps and the surrounding villages design activities for the children in the schools during the summer break and are paid for this. During the hot months schools remain closed, causing children to loss important routines and access to educational and leisure activities. In addition it makes looking for work more difficult for parents and increase the risk for dangerous behavior of the children and for child labor and child marriages. The “summer schools” should lessen this danger and prevent it, by creating work for adults and engaging the children meaningfully in an organized and protected area.

The Friends of Waldorf Education are taking over the responsibility for ten of the one hundred schools and will employee 250 adults for the task. The activities with include emergency pedagogy methods such as painting, eurhythmy, movement and experiential therapy, but also free playtime and the reconstruction of school buildings.

Besides the “summer schools” the Friends of Waldorf Education will also continue their work in their existing project, which has been supported by the GIZ since May. In July a one-week intensive training for the twenty local colleagues took place. The further pedagogical and professional training of the local colleagues is an important point for this tenth mission. The goal is to make the local team well versed enough in emergency pedagogy methods that they can apply them independently. The trainings will take place with the existing team of camps Berseve I and II as well as with new employees in Camp Chamishku. The psychosocial support offering will then be available daily. This is important for sustainability reasons and especially looking at the coming challenges, like the expected freeing of Mosul. Should this succeed in the next months, it will also be a huge humanitarian crisis. Countless traumatized victims will need help in coping with their experiences. Here could especially local workers be a deciding factor.

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