Tanzania: the Hekima Waldorf School in Dar es Salaam has been in existence since 1997. Today the school has 170 pupils, 20 percent of which are orphans. After the end of the communist regime there was a new openness towards private schools, which was a prerequisite for the founding of a Waldorf School. In Tanzania the situation in the schools used to be very bad. Big classes with up to 100 children were not uncommon and corporal punishment existed. Almost one third of all children could not complete primary school. However the Government keeps working on improving the situation with visible effect.
A terribly malnourished little girl of six was found begging on the street. The father of the child had murdered her mother and had died shortly afterwards in prison. The wife of the girl’s grandfather, who was now responsible for her, forced her to beg and beat her when she didn’t bring home a pound of maize meal. Finally, the school was given custody of the child and the Hekima Waldorf School could await a new pupil.
Since 2006 there is an orphan programme at the Hekima Waldorf School. With the help of sponsorships more and more children who have suffered similar fates to that of the little girl, can attend the Waldorf school. However, for each child that may attend the school, there are a hundred others, who cannot be accepted for financial reasons.
The extent of the problems in Tanzania is so great, that a 12 year old girl has written a book about a family which was struck by AIDS; „Tunayo naasi ya kuishi“, or “we have the chance to live”. The school is continually searching for new sponsors, which are often found through the Friends of Waldorf Education. This is the only possibility to take in orphans, because the school has to survive without any support whatsoever from the government.
The children who attend the school are given many opportunities. In addition to Kishuaheli, English is taught as a second language. The children visit museums so that they can gain an understanding of the history of their country and go on excursions, for instance to a bio-dynamic farm. This comprehensive education helps the children to develop a good self esteem. Not only that, the school can also proudly count their matriculates as amongst the best in Tanzania.