The Friends of Waldorf Education is preparing a series of actions to help traumatised, frightened refugees on the borders of Ukraine, as well as those who remain in Ukraine.
On 24th February, Russian troops launched massive attacks, driving many people in Ukraine to flee. Just five days later, according to estimates by the UN Refugee Agency, more than 500,000 people had fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries. Countries bordering Ukraine have already set up reception camps at the borders. It is mainly women and children who are arriving in Slovakia, Poland and Romania. Men between the ages of 18 and 65 are not allowed to leave the country; many of them stay voluntarily because they want to protect their country from the armed attacks.
For some days now we have been trying to establish contact with the Waldorf schools, Waldorf kindergartens and therapeutic education centres in the country. This is not easy. In the e-mails we have received, for example, there are reports of many power cuts. Moreover, during the time when people have to seek shelter in underground stations and basements, there is no access to telephone networks and the internet and thus no possibility of communication. We are receiving urgent and desperate messages. And we have also heard that some families are already on the run.
Help for Waldorf and curative education institutions in Ukraine
Some Waldorf schools in Ukraine are run by the state, but only part of the costs of the school are covered. Since many children are taken from the urban areas to more rural areas, or to other countries for safety, school fees are not paid, and the schools no longer receive any money. We would like to enable Waldorf schools, Waldorf kindergartens and therapeutic education centres to continue paying salaries to their teachers. We would also like to provide funds for the maintenance of the school buildings, for heating costs, for repairs or, if necessary, for reconstruction. Please support us in this.
Finding accommodation and school places
Since 26th February we have been in close contact with Waldorf teachers in some of Ukraine's neighbouring countries who are organising relief work and, above all, accommodation for Waldorf families. Families in Hungary and the Czech Republic, for example, have agreed to take in people and pick them up at the border. We are also coordinating accommodation facilities in Germany, in connection with places at a Waldorf school or kindergarten. We are also helping with food parcels, clothing and emergency educational care.
We are planning emergency educational outreaches, initially at the border crossings, in order to support people arriving there and to coordinate further steps. In due course, there will also be outreach work in Ukraine itself. In Germany, in cooperation with Notfallpädagogik Ohne Grenzen e. V., we will offer workshops at schools and kindergartens that take in children from Ukraine.
We would like to ask you to support us in all three projects and to give us your donation.