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What can we do?

The attack on Ukraine, which began on 24th February, is a huge disaster. The people of Ukraine are fighting back as efficiently as they can. Many women and children are travelling abroad in large numbers. And all over the world, many people are responding with great willingness to help. So what can we do?

Shortly after we communicated the first concrete measures to support the people in Ukraine in our email newsletter as well as on our social media channels on 25th February, we received numerous donations, donations from Germany, but also from many countries within and outside Europe. We are - once again - impressed by the immense willingness of the international Waldorf movement to help and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for this amazing commitment.

The majority of the donations received are urgently needed for the Waldorf teachers and therapeutic teachers in Ukraine. The state Waldorf schools in Ukraine are financed by the state to the tune of 30% - 60% and are, therefore, largely dependent on parents' contributions and donations. Parents exclusively finance the independent Waldorf schools. After the outbreak of the war, parents left the country, lost their income or focused other priorities; in any case, contributions to schools stopped. This creates a great need for funding because we do not want to let the teachers fall into penury. Teachers are still giving online lessons because they cannot expect the children to go to school. The aim is for the pupils to be able to participate in lessons as much as possible in their usual class. Even those of them who have already fled abroad can take part in online lessons. We have already been able to transfer grants to six Waldorf schools to cover the living expenses of the teachers who have remained in Ukraine.

Emergency educational outreaches and trainings have already taken place in the border areas of Poland and Hungary as well as in western Ukraine. For the colleagues in Poland and Hungary, who work intensively with and for refugees, just like those in Romania and Moldova, the emergency pedagogical training was inspiring. We will certainly continue the emergency pedagogical work as well as the financial support of the Waldorf and therapeutic education institutions. And we assume that it will be necessary in the longer term.

Since the beginning of the attacks, mothers and their children, but also unaccompanied young people from the Ukrainian Waldorf schools made their way abroad. Many of them initially stayed in Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary or Moldova. For those who came to Germany, we were able to arrange suitable accommodation and a place at a Waldorf school or Waldorf kindergarten thanks to the open-hearted receptiveness of many families and many Waldorf schools. And now, new questions are arising for the receiving Waldorf schools.

April 2022, Nana Goebel, Christina Reinthal

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