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+++ 06.06.2018 +++

Seyda Aysel: 14 years of service in and for Bulgaria

In 2007, the first Bulgarian Waldorf Kindergarten opened in Sofia, out of which a school grew with by now nine grades. The founding team, to which also Welitschka Jordanova belonged, wanted to be well prepared and started looking for experienced Waldorf teachers to train the Bulgarian teachers three years before the opening. During this search, Welitschka Jordanova met the Waldorf teacher Seyda Aysel. Seyda Aysel is a kindergarten teacher from Germany and a member of the initiative group of the German pedagogical section. She had already been supporting the Waldorf Kindergarten movement in Romania. This was the beginning of a fruitful and content-rich cooperation for the Waldorf teacher training in Bulgaria, which is chronicled in Welitschka Jordanova grateful report on Seyda Aysel’s unique commitment.

In April 2018, it will be exactly 14 years since my first encounter with Mrs. Seyda Aysel at the World Teachers' Conference in Dornach in 2004. I was desperately looking for an experienced Waldorf teacher who would accompany a handful of enthusiastic educators on their first daring steps toward a practical implementation of their sparse knowledge in the art of education. There, I happened upon the working group of Romanian friends who, together with Michael Zech, were working on the formulation and elaboration of essential characteristics of Waldorf education. Seyda Aysel was a member of this small working group. As I later learned, she had been accompanying the training and the Waldorf movement in Romania for many years. To this circle I expressed the desire of my Bulgarian friends to find someone who would be willing to come to Sofia in summer 2004 and, together with the Dutch teacher Marian Rust, would accompany the preparation of a provisional Waldorf daycare center, which would later become a kindergarten. Michael Zech then put my question to Seyda Aysel. She didn't give us her answer right away. After the meeting of the working group she talked to me briefly and when we looked into each other's eyes, I knew something special was happening. Later I realized it was an encounter of destiny. The next day Seyda answered in the affirmative, and I was able to return to Bulgaria full of relief and hope. This was the beginning of an exhausting but also very pleasant and fruitful cooperation, which has been possible over all these years thanks to the responsibility, the loyalty to the cause, and the endurance of Seyda Aysel and only a few Bulgarian friends.

In autumn 2004, the first systematic Waldorf kindergarten and schoolteacher training began, which took place three times a year over the course of three years. In autumn 2004, the first systematic Waldorf teacher training began, which took place three times a year for three years. Seyda was always there for one or two times a year. At the same time, preparations for the foundation of the first Waldorf Kindergarten in Bulgaria were underway, where Seyda Aysel was an indispensable helper and advisor. Immediately after the end of the seminar, the “Zlatno Zratse” (golden grain) kindergarten opened, and in the following years Seyda also took over the supervision of the kindergarten. From this kindergarten, three additional kindergarten groups have emerged, as well as the Waldorf School, currently running up to the 9th grade. From 2007 to 2016, Seyda Aysel, supported by IASWECE, held between one and three advanced or introductory seminars per year in Bulgaria. At the same time, she had also done valuable public, parental, and advisory work. As a profound anthroposophist who lives anthroposophy in every spoken word and gesture, she contributed a lot to overcoming many difficulties and conflicts. With her balance, her experience, and her deep understanding of every person and every situation, she was and is a great example to us all. In all these years, Seyda Aysel had never been tempted to let private matters interfere. She politely declined our invitations to stay a few days after the seminar to take a holiday in Bulgaria and always flew back immediately after the seminar, sometimes only to Germany for a holiday at her own expense immediately afterwards. She was always very modest when it came to accommodation and food and always settled everything down to the cent. For years, she spent most of her free time in our country; weekends, official holidays, the holidays of her own kindergarten in Germany, without receiving any money for it. Since only very few people from abroad can stand it in Bulgaria for a longer time - in the last decades also less and less Bulgarians - I often asked myself why Seyda Aysel is one of these few people who, despite everything, continues and wants to continue. And I know: It is love, fidelity, a self-confidently assumed duty and the connection in spirit that make this possible.

My deepest respect and my heartfelt thanks to Seyda Aysel! Her work in and for Bulgaria continues. Since 2016, a new three-year training course for teachers and educators was established in Sofia, for which she is co-lecturing.  In addition to her seminar work, she continues to accompany the Waldorf Kindergartens in Sofia.

We hope that her faithful cooperation and the support of all the people and organizations involved will soon bear new fruit.

We would also like to express our deep gratitude to all these people and organizations!

Welitschka Jordanova
of the association “Friends of Waldorf Pedagogy”
Bulgaria

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