After the irregularities brought about by the Covid pandemic, we are striving to restore our vibrant Tashi Waldorf community spirit. The pandemic was unsettling for the children, especially since most of them were already living in less than healthy socio-economic circumstances. For many, it is a relief to be able to return to a safe and stable school routine.
Poverty is an ongoing challenge for many families at our school. Single parents or those with physical disabilities have an especially difficult time. Many struggle to earn enough money to pay their rent, let alone provide food for their children and other family members. We see our role as educators as not only to teach or care for the children, but to provide them with a safe, secure and loving environment that nurtures their souls, minds and bodies!
We attach great importance to art lessons. Handwork, modeling with beeswax and later modeling with clay are part of our curriculum. Art - including watercolour painting - permeates all of the students' work. Music plays an important role at all ages, from daily singing together to the first steps on an instrument. The western recorder is introduced in the first classes, and later our own cultural wind, string and rhythm instruments such as bansari (wind instrument), sarangi (string instrument) and madal (drum) are added.
Class teachers also engage the children in outdoor activities, including gardening and maintaining common areas. We are fortunate to have the beautiful foothills of the Himalayas just a few miles north of our school grounds. Once a week, the children go on a field trip to the mountains.
Our 4th grade visited the important district of Boudhanath, a few kilometers southeast of our school, as part of the local history theme. Boudhanath is the centre of Kathmandu's Buddhist community with a beautiful stupa.
Nepal is a country of festivals! More than 50 festivals are celebrated every year. The most important festivals are Holi (the festival of colours), in spring and Dashain and Tihar in autumn. In December we also celebrate Midwinter with a beautiful spiral of freshly cut greenery. Silver and gold stars in the spiral mark the points to which each child can carry and place their freshly lit candle! This is also a time when we realize that Christmas is a celebration of love and goodwill for all, regardless of ethnicity, creed or religion.
School finances are a great challenge. The majority of families are economically and socially disadvantaged and therefore cannot pay school fees, or can only pay a small amount. As a result, monthly income is far below expenses. In addition to the monthly rent, our expenses include transportation for the children to and from school, staff salaries, and classroom materials such as exercise books, pencils, watercolours, art paper, craft materials, beeswax, and chalk. It is also important to us that each child receives a daily nutritious meal. Almost all of the children are malnourished and we see it as our responsibility to ensure that they are nourished physically as well as mentally and spiritually while at school. The cost of food alone - a mid-morning snack and lunch - is nearly $20 per child per month!
For the new school year, which started in March 2023, we urgently needed a new classroom. For this, we had to convert a storage room into a classroom. Windows and a new door had to be installed, as well as suitable flooring and a blackboard. This conversion was only possible through donations. Many thanks to all the donors and supporters who make this and so much more possible for us.