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+++ 15.09.2015 +++

How class sponsorships strengthen the social impulse of Waldorf schools

A new development in our sponsorship program

To enable children from poor families to attend a Waldorf school is a huge challenge in most countries because Waldorf schools often get little or no government support. But it is precisely in these parts of the world, where both the impulse of the healthy individual development of the child, and the school as a social community play a particularly important role. So if a Waldorf school wants to open its doors to children from financially disadvantaged homes, it must secure funding from other sources. In order to strengthen the schools in their efforts to do so, we have developed an educational sponsorship program over the last years. This program is beneficial in two aspects: on the one hand, a sponsorship serves as an educational voucher enabling a specific child to attend a Waldorf school and on the other hand, the survival chances of an entire school are increased through the regular income from sponsorships.

One of the main challenges is that every school, every country with its own culture, and even every godchild bring different circumstances to the table that need to be taken into account. There are, for example, locations where the school and many of its students are particularly dependent on regular financial support, but children’s frequent changes of school make individual educational sponsorships difficult to sustain. Again there are different reasons for student turnover. Maybe the school is a very young initiative with only a few grades, or it is a place with many migrant workers who move away with their children the moment they find a new job. In general, the beginning of a new school year is associated with large, often unexpected changes for many Waldorf schools abroad. Kids often do not return to school after the summer break, without notice from their parents. This has nothing to do with the quality of education, but often with rather difficult family situations.

In addition, there are schools that highly value community and the class community in particular and there is a desire not to single out an individual child, but to provide support and appreciation to an entire class through contact with an educational sponsor.

Inspired by this way of thinking we further developed our educational sponsorship program by going beyond the support of a single child and offering entire class sponsorships. The idea of a class sponsorship, however, is in no way intended to replace individual educational sponsorships but rather to complement them where possible. As a “class godparent” you stay in regular contact with an entire class of students and can accompany them in their development. Moreover, you may gain interesting and diverse insights about the children’s lives or the peculiarities of education in that specific country. Even entire school classes can act as sponsors and can take on an educational sponsorship for a school class abroad. Thus, educational sponsors or students through their regular exchange may gain impressions, voices and images of other cultures, which cannot be found in the daily news. But most importantly, they plant an important seed of friendship into the hearts of students and teachers abroad, who are living and working under difficult circumstances.

Whether you are a single donor, a company, or even an entire school class, taking over a class sponsorship provides you with a valuable connection to the world, allowing you to give those in need access to education and giving you the opportunity to maintain a regular cultural exchange.

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