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Joint Action in response to the Corona virus: a first major success

The Friends of Waldorf Education have joined forces with various foundations and international Waldorf organizations to support Waldorf Schools and Waldorf Kindergartens affected by the economic consequences of the lockdown in their countries.

After 100 years of Waldorf Schools and following the great celebrations in 2019, reflecting on the inner challenges facing the Waldorf movement (the new educational challenges, generational changes, the need to revive collegial cooperation), the Waldorf movement is now facing an external challenge. The pandemic has seen the lengthy and widespread closures of crèches, kindergartens, schools and educational institutions in many countries. The financial contributions of many parents have become uncertain or dried up completely as a result of reduced working hours, the furloughing of employees and the loss of many jobs.

The Friends of Waldorf Education have asked Waldorf100, the International Conference of the Waldorf Education Movement, the Mahle Foundation, the Evidence Foundation, the Waldorf Foundation, the Iona Stichting and IASWECE (International Association for Steiner/Waldorf Early Childhood Education) to participate in the Joint Action in response to the Corona virus. All have agreed to participate. The joint action has enabled us to support Waldorf kindergartens and Waldorf schools that, in normal circumstances, depend exclusively on parental payments and receive no state subsidies.

At the beginning of April, we published our appeal for donations: "Mitigating the consequences of the Corona crisis", which has so far raised more than 231,000 Euros from private donations for Waldorf Schools and educational emergencies. In addition to this we received about 130,000 Euros from our partners for Waldorf Schools worldwide. In total, to date we have been able to make more than 344,000 Euros available to schools, kindergartens and other institutions.

We are very pleased that thanks to the swift and generous donations received, we have been able to act speedily and thus ensure the survival of many endeavours. The closures are causing chain reactions that are confronting schools with great problems. When parents cannot work, they cannot generate an income, and so, they are unable to pay the - often low - parental contributions to the school. If children are not attending school, they cannot benefit from the school meals provided there. Their basic needs can barely be covered, due to the parental unemployment.

We have been able to provide money to cover rent and salary payments for kindergartens and schools in Armenia, Ethiopia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Colombia, Nepal, Tanzania and Mexico, among others. In addition, we have supported schools and social institutions in Colombia, Brazil and Ethiopia, amongst others, by providing families with food donations.

We would like to thank all donors and supporting foundations and organizations for this great success. Of course, our work does not end here. Schools and kindergartens all over the world have registered needs totalling more than 824,000 euros. Many of the problems triggered by the Corona crisis will only come to light in the coming months, so we expect to receive further applications.

The Joint Action in response to the Corona virus is an initiative of the Friends of Waldorf Education in collaboration with Waldorf100, the International Conference of the Waldorf Education Movement, the Mahle Foundation, the Evidence Foundation, the Waldorf Foundation, Iona Stichting and IASWECE.

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Sicher fragen sich gerade viele von euch, wie ein Freiwilligendienst ab Herbst 2020 möglich sein wird. Wir bleiben zuversichtlich und arbeiten intensiv an Lösungen. Deshalb gilt: Bewerbt euch weiter und denkt positiv! Alle, die sich weltweit sozial engagieren wollen und optimistisch nach vorne schauen, werden gerade jetzt besonders gebraucht. Unsere Einsatzstellen freuen sich auf euch. Gemeinsam werden wir es schaffen, den Weg in euren Freiwilligendienst zu ermöglichen.

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