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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Blooming Social Therapy in the Desert City Beer Sheva

Israel: The Camphill Village, Kfar Rafael, was founded in Beer Sheva in 1979. The population of Kfar Rafael is comprised of 51 villagers aged 19 to 71, 10 families with 17 children, and 27 young volunteers from Israel and abroad, about 115 people in total. The joint working takes place in workshops such as a weaving mill, a bakery, candle making, a laundry, a paper-recycling workshop and work areas associated with the large biodynamic farm. In addition there is a wide offering of various therapies.

There is intense activity in the paper-recycling Workshop. At first the old paper is being transformed to little shreds, then they are soaked in water, sieved into the net frames, dried and pressed and finally the new paper is being cut. Additionally leaves, straw, and tree bark is being added, in order to achieve different textures and colors. In the afternoon the workshop members decorate the paper, draw, print and glue different elements from nature (flowers, feathers). Among the list of the workshop products one can find greeting cards, bookmarks, letter papers and envelopes, notebooks, boxes, lanterns and wind fans just to name a few.

The paper-recycling workshop is a new achievement of Kfar Rafael and enriches the community with new job opportunities. It was a group of parents in the late 1970s, which dealt with thoughts and questions, about what kind of place their children with disabilities would need, in order to receive special care and support, a perspective and job opportunities. This led to the foundation of the future village on April 4, 1979 and thus to an initiative that was the first of its kind in Israel.

But until Kfar Rafael became what it is today, a lot of patience was required. The location at the northern edge of the Negev desert confronted Kfar Rafael with great challenges due to sand storms and drought, so it still surprising how it was possible that this green and flowery spot could be wrested from the desert. The Agriculture is fruitful and brings a rich harvest of almonds, apricots, olives, avocados, figs and lemons. A vegetable garden and a vineyard complement this range.

Next to the daily work the villagers benefit from the various therapies that apply according to the personal needs and include language training, art, rhythmic massage, Curative Eurythmy, music or horseback riding. In the afternoons and evenings there is time for collective activities and thus after work the social interaction among the people with special needs and the remedial teachers is being fostered. Activities include dancing, music, games as well as study groups or seminars. So again force can be drawn in order to successfully master the next day.