Peru: Since 1989, an exceptional initiative is located in Lima – the Curative Education School San Christoferus. The institution provides not only apprenticeships, but also several workshops and therapeutic offers to 30 disabled students aged 5-30. Up to today the school financially fights for survival, as it is not state-subsidized and nearly all of the students’ parents are not able to pay the complete school fee.
Banana palms surround the premises, on which quite a few herb- and vegetable varieties are being cultivated as for example cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes and aubergine, just to name a few. The initiatives own fruit variety reaches from banana, maracuja, Cape gooseberry, pomegranate and quince up to papaya, tangerine and orange. The green appearance and the liveliness of the bio garden of San Christoferus give the school an atmosphere of an oasis that lets us breathe again, as we enter the school premise in the city district of Chorillos. Looking back to 1989, the year of the foundation, one can only see a single building surrounded by a lot of sand and dust. Ever since, a lot has been changed and the students, attending the initiative today, are able to live in a piece of nature amidst a megacity.
In the morning when the school day begins, the youngest children gather in a room. As far as possible the motor function and the ability to react are being trained with the help of rhythmical exercises and ball game. This physical activity is essential to the disabled, since this is the area in which they need a special fostering.
Two mornings a week, the children spend time in the garden and thus get to know smaller duties and responsibilities of gardening. Furthermore, the children participate regularly in acryl painting and bake cookies, which are proudly being eaten together with a glass of juice at 10 am. Massages, music, games in the garden and handicraft work fill the remaining hours.
The older students have a structured program as well. They are attending lessons and as soon as they are old enough they are being instructed in the workshops. When festivals are due, there usually is a busy drive at the initiative’s own carpentry. In such times others help out as well, who usually look after the garden or produce candles, paintings and woven carpets. The students are often allowed to take home products of the bakery, another training facility, for their families.
The San Christoferus School is not only a special initiative due to its dedication for handicapped people, but it also serves as a facility which providing a meeting place for children and teenagers coming from various cultural backgrounds. Until the co-workers achieve their aim of financial independence, the initiative continues to rely on donations. The Friends of Waldorf Education send a volunteer to Lima every year as an additional help to the initiative.