In Sirende, a village not far from Kitale in eastern Kenya, there is an unusual small Waldorf school: the Humane School. It is mainly attended by children of farm workers who work on the large plantations in this fertile area; the families live on small salaries and subsistence farming. They do not have the means to send their children to large schools.
The founding teacher Juliet Mia is one of the mothers who leave their children behind in this rural area to earn money in Nairobi as a livelihood for the family. As an employee of Nani Croze, the initiator of the Rudolf Steiner School in Mbagathi, she got to know Waldorf Education and became enthusiastic about it. She brought her daughter and had her attend Rudolf Steiner School. Nani Croze encouraged Juliet Mia to complete a teacher training herself and to forge an initiative in her home region. So she participated in the courses at the Rudolf Steiner School and returned to her village.
The school began in rented premises not far from Sirende, moved several times, but could not afford its own buildings. Classes take place in two mud houses with classrooms of just 10 square meters, into which 14 children crowd. There is no electricity, the water comes from a well, and vegetables are grown on a small piece of land. The Humane School now runs a kindergarten and classes 1 to 8. Since a school in Kenya must have its own solid buildings in order to receive state recognition, the Humane School is currently run as a self-help group. The next steps are the purchase of a plot of land and the construction of own buildings. Only then they can register as an official school.
In the meantime, Juliet Mia and her colleagues have found a nine acre property with a coffee plantation not too far away from the current location. They will acquire this property in the near future, mainly with the help of donors from the Friends of Waldorf Education. This site will host the future buildings for the two planned kindergarten groups as well as for the planned primary school from the first to the eighth grade. Part of the land will be used for organic farming, to provide for the school meals. The school will keep the existing coffee plantation and the organically grown coffee will be sold in Europe to co-finance the school.
The nine-acre plot will cost about € 150.000, part of which comes from a call for donations by the Friends of Waldorf Education. The remaining sum is covered by other donors of the Friends of Waldorf Education and by Swedish donations. In order to secure the property in the long term, we will not purchase it through the school's association, but through the supporting foundation of the Rudolf Steiner School in Nairobi-Mbagathi. In this way, no one individual will have direct access to the plot. The Humane School will then conclude a contract with the Rudolf Steiner School in Mbagathi and will be fully responsible for the use of the land. Ownership and use are thus organized independently of each other.
With this step, the further expansion of the African rural school (The Humane School) will make great progress and will hopefully become a trailblazer for the fertile high-altitude region in the eastern mountains of Kenya.
We were able to support the Humane School with donations we received after our call “schools in rural Africa” in the autumn of 2018. A heartfelt “thank you” for your donations!