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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Waldorf Education in South Africa’s Wine Region

South Africa: Stellenbosch Waldorf School is located in 50 km away from Cape Town, in a fertile rural area known for its long wine growing tradition. The city of Stellenbosch is quite famous for its university and as a popular tourist destination. In this environment, on the premises of former farm buildings, classes 1 through 13 are being educated up to matriculation. In 1993 the "Honeybush" Kindergarten was started, which preceded the development of the school.

One day a man with a bicycle stood at the gate of the just developing Waldorf School and said that he had heard that this would be the school for his children. This was quite an exceptional way of how one of the founding parents of Stellenbosch Waldorf School became part of the initiative. Currently, about 270 children attend Stellenbosch Waldorf School. The language of teaching is English and Afrikaans and Xhosa are being taught as well, since the native language of the children usually is either of the two.

It is a main concern of Stellenbosch Waldorf School to enable children coming form an underprivileged family background to go to school. It is always a challenge to pursue the ambitious goal to admit up to 10% of children whose parents are not able to pay tuition fees. This is due to the fact that Stellenbosch Waldorf School is not a public school and thus receives no government funding. As a result, the Waldorf School continues to rely on educational sponsorships, in order to keep on providing education for the less fortunate.

The Friends of Waldorf Education do not only arrange educational sponsorships, but they also send volunteers to Stellenbosch Waldorf School through their "Weltwärts" program. These volunteers are gladly welcomed, as they are able to help children with their homework, or engage the students in artistic, handcrafting, musical and sportive activities. In this regard the school considers itself very fortunate, since some children are not able to go home after school because their parents work all day and thus an afternoon program is necessary.

Through Waldorf Education and its philosophy, Stellenbosch Waldorf School provides a significant contribution to reduce the barriers of Apartheid, which are unfortunately still not completely overcome. With a lot of dedication and despite the small financial means the initiative provides opportunities for a state recognized graduation certificate and along with it positive prospects for disadvantaged children.