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+++ 29.03.2018 +++

WOW-Day: “I would like to see children everywhere in the world having the same opportunities”

Angela Basenach (16), Jacob Böhme Waldorf School in Görlitz

Angela Basenach attends 10th grade of the Jacob Böhme Waldorfschule in Görlitz, Germany. Until 7th grade she went to a state school until she switched to Waldorf School at age 13. In retrospect it saved her life, says the sixteen-year-old. Our WOW-Day coordinator Jana-Nita Raker met the committed student at the 26th Federal Students Conference (Bundesschülertagung) and had a chat about her Waldorf days, WOW-Day and her hopes for the future.

Angela, what is the significance of Waldorf School for you?
Until 7th grade, I attended a German Gymnasium (an academic state high school) or rather I attended a free elementary school and then Gymnasium. At the time, there was no Waldorf school in Görlitz. The school is only six years old. My grades at state school were not particularly good, and eventually I decided to repeat a grade to be able to attend Waldorf School. For me, the Waldorf School was really a salvation, because I was fed up with studying. Often, when I came home, I did not want to hear anything about school anymore. I then began attending Waldorf School. There, I was completely happy. One of the geeks, who love Eurythmy and who regularly does the entire artwork for the main lesson books. Yes, Waldorf School was great for me, I am even considering becoming a Waldorf teacher myself and then work as a class teacher. Waldorf school means a lot to me. It is a way of learning life. So, really learning for life and not only studying for exams in order to be prepared for studying at university, but studying in a sustainable manner.

What do you do when you are not at school?
This year, I began to be really interested in politics. I joined a youth group that advocates more political participation by young people. I also play two instruments, the harp and the guitar. And apart from that, I also have taken to learning languages, although I am not really good at it. I have started learning two languages, Hebrew and Hindi.

Do you know WOW-Day?
So, back then at state school I had heard about a similar thing. It was the “Solidarity Action Day” and you donate the wages for a project. At that time already, I thought that was pretty interesting. During my second year in Waldorf school I heard about WOW-Day for the first time.  Then, it didn't work out for us, because it was too short notice and somehow we had different Ideas we could not implement. Our teacher was also ill for some time. And the next year our teacher completely missed it. At that time we had a lot of other projects going on, so it didn’t work out. But actually I think it is a great project. For a start, because you get the chance to work somewhere else, and get to know different places. And then, donating the money for a good project is also a good thing. Because Waldorf students don’t look the other way; they take a closer look at what is happening in the world and help, where they can.

What are your hopes for the future?
First and foremost, I would like to see children everywhere in the world having the same opportunities. At the age of thirteen I went through an extreme phase and I thought: “What gives me the right to wear clothing that has been produced by children? What gives me the right to own a cell phone? What gives me this right? Just because I was born here! For a time I thought we should only buy fair-trade and so on. If you don’t have the money for it, then don’t buy at all, because I simply found it unbearable. Now, I think we have to stay sensible by saying: Okay, I won’t stop buying clothes just because I don’t have the money for fair trade, but in a way it remains a hope that children will have the same opportunities everywhere in the world. So, that your place of birth doesn’t determine what you can do and who you can become. This is very important to me. And then, I simply hope the world won’t turn out the way I think it might at the moment. We once listened to a talk about digital media at our school, and I thought, how many things of which we thought 30, 40 years ago that they could never become a reality are actually happening right now. If you look at what the Stasi (Ministry for State Security in the former German Democratic Republic) did and at what happens nowadays in terms of surveillance – I do worry sometimes. How will the future be in 20 years? How far will this purely materialistic thinking prevail and to what extent will we lose our spiritual thinking? And I hope it will come to live again through things like the Waldorf movement and will prevail.

Worldwide solidarity with Waldorf educational institutions – that is the idea behind Waldorf One World Day, WOW-Day for short. Once a year, committed people collect donations in many different ways, giving them to Waldorf institutions throughout the world. For more information please go to: www.waldorf-one-world.org

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