Curative Education in Romania
In 1990 the work of curative education started in Romania. Today there are successfully working several centers – and more and more people become aware of this new approach, which is still absolutely new for Romania. Adrian Pintea reports about the development of Curative Education and Social Therapy and describes future tasks.
Seventeen years ago, a group of persons came from Switzerland to Romania to bring hope and light for children in need of special care – and not only. After 45 years of darknessness, we found that light exists. We realized that these brave carriers of the light came from a place, from a spiritual place where the light is cultivated and shared. This place is in Dornach, in Humanus Haus, in Perceval, in Gempen or everywhere where life is shared in the anthroposophic communities. The first people who came were Hans and Johanna Spalinger, John Byrde and many others.
They have brought not only a new image of man, but a lot of commitment and support in order to change the conditions of life for the children in Romania; children that were neglected and not considered as human beings…
In Simeria, Hans and Johanna Spalinger helped us create an initiative group to start first curative education and later social therapy. There were 10 years of hard work (setting up buildings, a training seminar, structures for education including protocols with the local authorities and running the center). We started in 1991 with 21 children and after 10 years, they were more than one hundred. We have created a Romanian model of curative education to proof that these children have a chance, they can be educated, they are able to do something with their hands, and that they can be integrated. To run this model, the Hans Spalinger Association offers the land, buildings, buses, equipment and the methods while the state is covering the running costs.
Meanwhile, during this phase of pioneer work, the Center of Curative Education Corabia was set up in Bucarest, which at present integrates 70 children (with the help of Sonnhalde Gempen), and, at Urlati, the “Casa Rozei” Centre that has now turned its attention to social therapy.
Once the model was set up and good results were obvious, the authorities in the region asked us to multiply it in other centers of the region (Hunedoara, Orastie and Jiu Valley – Petrosani and Vulcan), in all about 300 children in Hunedoara County and 24 in Cluj Napoca.
To protect the initiatives, to guarantee and sustain the centers and the method, the local associations set up the Federation of Curative Education in Romania which made a protocol with the Ministry of Education. Soon after that (2005), the new law for special education in Romania, included curative education as an officially recognized alternative.
The main concern for the future is now to improve the quality of work, to set up a trainer-training programme and permanent training for the staff.
New tasks approaching us arise from the questions that different teachers from schools in other regions put us in order to find how to work with severe disabled children, based on curative education methods. There are open demands from Tg. Mures, Arad, Timisoara. Many delegations have visited the initiative in Simeria and we realized that the impact of seeing the children and their results convinced them to make steps in improving the life of disabled children in their regions. Being open to the other schools for children in need of special care, brings a lot of benefit for these children and also for the personal development of the teachers.
It is also very important the continuation of integration when school is finished, when the children become adults, in the frame of social therapy. In Romania, there are 3 places (Simeria, Urlati and Pantelimon-Bucharest).
We realized through all this that if we don’t stay in a closed circle, if we let others see the light brought by anthroposophic methods and if we share it, the light becomes bigger and something changes around us.