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Education needs nourishment

In our latest call for danations as well as in the current issue of our nesletter "Waldorf Worldwide" we would like to focus on a special topic: food. Far too often, we underestimate the importance of a nourishing diet during school time, as well as the challenges running a school cafeteria brings with it. In most families around the globe, both parents are at work during the day and thus need to rely on all-day care offers, which also have to feed the children. As you will read in this issue, some parents are hardly able to feed their families because of a low income. But, of course, there is more to school lunch than just being filling. To be able to learn well, children need a sensible, thought-out diet: education needs nourishment. The following links will provide you with further information on the subject, as well as on schools that urgently need support.

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Topic: School meals

Providing students with hot meals is always a challenge: financially, educationally, and culinarily as well. This of course also applies to Waldorf schools – in Germany and all over the world

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“The school kitchen should not be a for-profit business – it is an expression of the school community’s will“

Heidi Leonhard has been a domestic science teacher and nutrition expert for many years. She teaches sustainable cooking –also, for example, for former participants in the voluntary services of the Friends of Waldorf Education. She organizes the annual anthroposophical nutrition and domestic science conference of the German Association of Waldorf Schools. She spoke to the Friends of Waldorf Education about the special role for school meals today. The focus was not only on European schools, but also on schools worldwide.

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“Everything is lacking“

Children need nutritious food and when they do not get it at home many schools provide their students with school meals. Waldorf schools in the countries of the global South do not receive state subsidies, as they do in Germany. Often they do not know how to finance the children's school meals. With your support, we want to help these schools!

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“To support their growth, we provide them with food here at the school”

In Tibetan “Tashi” means “all that is good”. In keeping with this motto the Tashi Waldorf School, which was founded in 2000, focuses on imparting an education that includes the country’s culture and traditions. It offers an alternative both to the now very outdated Nepalese school system and to expensive private schools. The school aims to offer an education to those children who would not have the opportunity to attend school otherwise.

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"Most of the families really struggle to provide food for the children"

Serious drought can be seen all over the dry savannah-landscape near Nairobi in Kenya, where the Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi is situated. Long dry cracks are spreading networks through the soil and the acacia trees are dusty grey and brown. Nothing can grow. There are worries all over.

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“There are some students whose parents can only provide one meal a day“

The Waldorf Kindergarten in the small town of Hawzen in northern Ethiopia was founded in 2006, followed by a school in 2014. The parents are only able to pay symbolic fees to the school and the kindergarten. The school’s founder Atsbaha Gebre-Selassie and his colleagues are almost entirely dependent on donations.

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“Most of the children come from very poor families”

Providing lunch is also an important aspect at the Humane School in Kenya. Outside the regional capital of Kitale and just 25 km away from the border to Uganda: Here, Juliet Mia together with several colleagues, began to build a village school. Most of the people who live here work in agriculture, e.g., on the big tea plantations, and live in buildings that are not connected to electricity.

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“Usually our children don’t get breakfast at home”

Salvador is one of the poorest cities in Brazil. In the  midst of this poverty, the Projeto Salva Dor offers a supplementary program of Waldorf educational activities before and after school for about 50 children. Here, children between the ages of five and ten, meet daily to overcome the difficulties of a largely chaotic school life. The children receive breakfast, a warm lunch, and a snack in the afternoon.

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Starting into Life from the Back of the Field

In January, the little Waldorf School of the Creative Education Foundation in Zanzibar started into its sixth year. In the semi-autonomous island state off the cost of Tanzania, half of the population lives below the poverty line; about 12 percent of children are malnourished. School founder Judi Palmer wanted to present the children of the island with an alternative to the often-overcrowded schools and quickly opted for Waldorf education.

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“There is a lack of everything“

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. "The children who come to our school live in very difficult situations," explains school founder Myriam Silien, "there is a lack of everything or almost everything, especially food, without which the soul has no earthly place to thrive”. The parents of the 107 children are essentially unable to contribute financially. In an interview, Myriam Silien explains what the school aims to achieve in order to be able to offer the children a healthy school meal.

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Call for donations

Children need nutritious food and when they do not get it at home many schools provide their students with school meals.  But they need our help ...

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