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Home: Freunde Waldorf

South Africa: Lesedi Waldorf School


Building a house for Lesedi teachers on the school premises 

With last year’s WOW Day donations, Lesedi Waldorf School started to build a house for teachers and volunteers on the school premises. They collected donations to buy the necessary bricks (4,800) for this project. For the children it is important that both the teachers and the volunteers can live on the school ground. On the one hand, this encourages team spirit and the smooth running of the school and the boarding school, and on the other hand, it makes it possible for the teachers to work at the school at all. Many of the new teachers do not come from the surrounding villages, but from far away. This is a challenge, because up to now there is not enough space for them in the school.

There has been a lot of building activities during the last school year: the toilet block has received a much-needed upgrade. Furthermore, thanks to your WOW Day donations, they could finish the foundation for the new teacher accommodation. This has been a big step forward in helping to make teachers feel at home at Lesedi and a heartfelt ‘thank you’ for all the efforts goes out to you.

Due to the slope on the school-grounds more bricks than planned were needed for the foundation. The next phase requires windows, doors, roofing, electric work and labour. According to quotes the school has received, this next phase will cost approximately 4,.500 euros.

“Would you like to support this project some more so that well-qualified teachers can be offered accommodation? It would really help to open opportunities for Lesedi Waldorf School.

Ke leboga kudu - thank you very much!”


About the project:

176 children attend the Lesedi Waldorf School. 11 teachers and 8 other staff members look after them and provide them with good education as well as with a place to live in the school’s own boarding house. The fact that Lesedi Waldorf School is a boarding school makes good education accessible for children who would usually not have such chances. For example, for children from the neighbouring villages who come from poor backgrounds and whose families could not afford daily transport to school.

Hidden away behind some impressive rocky outcrops you will find the rural village of Madietane in the most northern province of South Africa.  The sound of cattle bells and bleating goats surround the small, scattered buildings of Lesedi Waldorf School.

When you look closer, you see children playing many great games, because there is no TV.  You hear happy singing and the sounds of the flute.  You see crafty children doing handwork and proudly harvesting the vegetable garden.  You see graceful eurythmy movements weaving in the hall and aunties cooking gigantic pots of 'mealie meal' in the boarding house kitchen.  You see teachers preparing, studying and guiding their classes bearing their goals in mind.  You see volunteers from Germany telling stories at night time to the boarding house children. You see the children's lanterns and faces shine in the fire's light when the community comes together to celebrate St John's.  And you see confident class 7 graduates presenting their future goals to the proud parents.

As one of the former students remarked when visiting: "It was this school and my teachers' vision for me, that set the foundation for working as a medical doctor today."

Lesedi was founded by Emily Maobelo, whose original employers paid for her to study at Baobab College in Johannesburg. When she returned to Madietane in 1989, she started a kindergarten under a large tree. Later, before returning to Germany, a doctor gave her his building and thanks to many other donations the school has grown since then.

In 2006 the school suffered a severe blow, when Emily Maobelo and two other co-workers were tragically killed in a car accident. Although the staff tried their best to continue running the school, they were not able to prevent a financial crisis. The collaboration of Federation of Waldorf Schools in Southern Africa with Friends of Waldorf Education together with other donors and huge engagements from volunteering individuals ensures to this day, the continuation of the school. Without the second leg of government funding the school could not survive, even though teachers’ salaries are nowhere near those of public schools.

Now 11 teachers and 8 other staff members provide this "education with a difference" to 176 children.  The current economic crisis and therefore a reduced number of scholars, continue to keep the team on their toes -especially the marketing mandate.  However - the staff, the parents, the community and everyone involved, know that Lesedi, the light, shines for the children.

This year Lesedi Waldorf School is finding its north star again. Whatever didn’t run smoothly is being ironed out and turned into positivity. The team of teachers are interested in Waldorf education and keen to learn more and more in their regular meetings. This positivity brings joy to the principal, the supporting mentors, the team itself and the children.

Unfortunately, the expected volunteers didn’t arrive last year, so everyone at Lesedi was very excited about the visit from ‘Die Freunde’ representatives from Karlsruhe who paved the way for the volunteers to arrive in October. Even though last years’ volunteers couldn’t come, two young ladies who love Lesedi came and brought music and stories to Lesedi. This ended in a ‘recorder day’ where the children presented their music pieces and even inspired the teachers to plan a eurythmy day. How exciting for everyone!

Empower & donate now
Empower & donate now