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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Columbia: CES Waldorf


Music programme for the children and adolescents in Bogotá's favelas

Music plays a very important role in Waldorf education. Making music has a therapeutic effect on emotional and physical aspects of the personality and is a creative way to support severely traumatised children and young people in their healing of the traumas they have experienced. When making music, the children have a rich, colourful and emotionally positive new experience. They learn to be part of a whole when they play in an orchestra or sing in a choir. They learn to hear their own voice and thus also to respect the voice of others. Their creativity and self-confidence are fostered. Moreover, making music with others is fun and brings joy.

That is the reason why the music workshop, the orchestra and the choir have a particularly important role in the work with the children who attend CES Waldorf. In the music workshop, the children learn to break the cycle of violence that they experience daily in their immediate environment. It enables them to replace feelings of aggression, abandonment and conflict with healthy and positive experiences.

In order to continue the music project, CES Waldorf needs financial support. The personnel costs for the music teacher and the choir director amount to 7,250 euros per year. The choir children and the children of the orchestra need new uniforms (2,100 euros) and the instruments have to be maintained regularly, which costs about 250 euros per year. To give the children and young people a sense of achievement, there are various performances each year to which the children travel. For this, excursion costs of about 800 euros are incurred every year. In total, the CES Waldorf music project costs about 10,400 euros per year. 


About the project:

CES Waldorf (Corporación Educativa y Social Waldorf) is a non-profit organisation in Ciudad Bolívar, a district in the south-western mountains of Bogotá and one of the largest "slums" in Colombia. Here, there are no cultural or recreational spaces for the children and their families. This lacking opportunity of creative exchange with other children and young people often leads to great anxiety, stress and depression.

Inspired by Waldorf education, CES Waldorf runs a special educational and social project. Through art and culture and also with medical and psychological care, the children, young people and their parents are given the opportunity to deal with their life situation, which is marked by extreme poverty, drugs and violence, and to strive for a more dignified and better life.

Five kindergarten teachers, three social workers, a psychologist, a doctor and seven trained Waldorf teachers, as well as eleven administrative and communication staff look after the approximately 70 kindergarten children as well as 150 young people and their families.

In Colombia, an armed conflict between illegally armed militias (guerrillas and paramilitaries) and the state security forces has been going on for more than five decades and has caused more than four million people to flee the country and be displaced. Driven by fear and poverty, new people come to Bogotá every day, seeking refuge in the slums of Ciudad Bolívar. There they try to build a new life amidst an atmosphere of violence, neglect, defencelessness and social exclusion. The presence of criminal gangs, the influence of the illegal drug trade, as well as a lack of job opportunities and poor schooling exacerbate the situation of the population in the mountains of Bogotá.

In the midst of these difficult socio-economic conditions and the precarious security situation, the "House of Colours", as CES Waldorf is also called, represents a place of healing and refuge. With the help of Waldorf education, people find faith in themselves again.


Current challenges: 

The pandemic has driven a large number of young people onto the streets, where they try to earn money. They often seek shelter in street corners, in the park or with friends. These young people have a great need for security, love, family, safety and protection. Very often, they are exploited by criminal gangs who make them use drugs. In search of drugs, power and recognition, they end up selling drugs themselves. There are now six known organised gangs in the district, mainly made up of young people between the ages of 12 and 20, who control the difficult-to-access neighbourhood. 

The consequences of the pandemic are felt throughout the whole country. However, due to the socio-economic characteristics of Bogotá's Sierra Morena neighbourhood and the lack of functioning state measures, the lack of cultural and recreational spaces for children, the young people in the favelas suffer even more. They lack goals and often find no meaning in life. This leads to great anxiety, stress and depression.

The project's continued funding is currently probably its biggest concern. Although CES Waldorf is financially supported by public and private donors from Europe and Colombia, raising funds to cover ongoing maintenance and upkeep costs remains a daily challenge.



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