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Home: Freunde Waldorf

Kenya: Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi


Musical instruments, textbooks and school materials for science lessons

The Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi (RSSM) in Kenya uses Waldorf education as an art to bring out talents that are hidden inside, enabling the child to achieve his/her full potential. Music is one of the subjects that is popular with the students in our school as it boosts their self-confidence and spices up their lives. It is therapeutic and helps them deal with their difficulties and traumas in life because most of them come from poor backgrounds and struggles are their daily experiences.

The school therefore wants to upgrade its music department. They want to create a rich sound of different instruments and wonderful experiences for the children. For example, they would like to buy a good keyboard that sounds intense enough even outdoors or in the large dining hall. Recorders will help to make the music in the orchestra richer and drums are important to accompany performances and to create extraordinary moments while singing together. The violin will be very useful as an accompaniment during advent spirals among and other performances. The old music stands are now rusty or broken, so they will buy new music stands. With 2,350 Euros, the school could fulfil all its musical wishes.

For science lessons, the Kenyan government has listed weather stations as one of the requirements in the newly introduced competency based curriculum. The subject of science is very fascinating and very experimental in nature. Students understand it much easier when they can do hands-on experiments. In the previous science lessons, there were only a few materials and equipment for experiments, so now, for example, test tubes, metals, lab coats and much more will be added. This and the weather station will cost about 2,750 euros.

In order for all children to receive textbooks and school materials (pencils, paper, chalk, erasers, exercise books, etc.) and to stock the school library with high-quality books, the school needs another 5,000 euros.


About the project:

The Mbagathi Steiner School currently has 375 children with four kindergarten classes and a primary school, that runs from class One go Nine. 80% of these children come from very poor backgrounds where affording basic needs such as food and decent shelter is a problem. They also face additional challenges such as split families, alcoholism and drug abuse. Only 20% of the children's families are able to pay full school fees

Currently, 120 children live in the boarding facility. The school has a total of 52 staff members (21 teachers) who look after the children. The teachers are Kenyan and receive a Waldorf/Steiner education from the East African Teacher Training program, which is hosted in the school during school holidays.

The school is located south of Nairobi National Park on an 8 hectare property on the endless Maasai grasslands. The property was bought as the school was starting in 1989. Since then, some buildings for classrooms could be built. Now the property has water from a borehole, electricity and Wi-Fi.  The school has a small biodynamic farm that comprises a vegetable garden and cows, therefore children receive fresh milk and vegetables as part of their meals.

The school's vision is to help less privileged children in Kenya receive a quality Steiner/Waldorf education.


Current challenges 

Compared to the last few years, RSSM expenditure rate has increased at an alarming rate in 2022. The budget shows an overall increase of 20%. The sharp increase in costs is among others, due to the consequences of the pandemic, the drought in Kenya and the war in Ukraine.

Covid-19 had severe consequences to the general economy. Many people have lost their jobs, salaries have been cut and businesses had reduced sales as spending rate went down. In Kenya, Covid-19 has taken a back seat since mid-2021 and the economy slowly started to recover. 

However, rains started to fail and farmers have had experienced more crop failures. There was noteable drought throughout the country. Livestock died in North Eastern part of Kenya, cow feed was scarce and so were other farm produce. Milk and meat prices skyrocketed and even then it was not available for purchase. Milk prices went up by 30%. Cooking oils, sugar, maize flour, and beverages had the most notable price increases.

At the same time, Kenya, like the rest of the world, felt the effect of the war in Ukraine. Fuel prices rose dramatically, affecting the already increased food prices. The ripple effect of the war is stoppage of exports that have led to price escalations. It is also important to highlight that Kenya is in an election year. Fear, uncertainty and lack of political goodwill are some of the feelings in the air. One area of uncertainty is pricing.

Most of the parents of the students at RSSM are from the bottom most part of the economy and so they were most affected and became needier with every calamity that struck. The above challenges mean that the school's meals budget is overstretched. Income from school fees is increasingly failing as families struggle to meet their own basic needs.


What else is the money needed for?

In addition to the items mentioned above (instruments, books and school materials), the school needs financial support for its food programme (134 Euros per child per year), for the transport costs for the kindergarten children (12,500 Euros for the whole school year) and some small purchases. These include, for example, playground equipment for the children (1,200 euros), a dairy cow for the farm (1,350 euros), a large refrigerator for the main kitchen (1,100 euros) and a chef for the kindergarten.

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