It is also part of the holistic approach of SEKEM to support people, who have been negatively affected by life and have to be given special support. Currently for example SEKEM carries out a crowdfunding campaign to expand the activities of the SEKEM Environmental Science Center, which aims to bring science closer to children. The SEKEM Friends Association Austria has set itself the aim of bringing the SEKEM Vision from Egypt to Austria and is therefore particularly committed to development aid and refugee education.
Young refugees need help with integration
The most urgent problem of our time is the refugee crisis, which destroyed the livelihood of many people. Many refugees are now in countries, where they are safe but in the same time neither familiar with language nor with culture. In this context the SEKEM Friends Association Austria, in cooperation with the Waldorf School Graz, has established an “International Class” with underage refugees from Afghanistan. The aim of the campaign is not only to provide young people with language skills, but also to facilitate their arrival.
Art and craft education spread enthusiasm among refugees
The current refugee project of the SEKEM Friends Austria started in early September 2016. After just over two months it can be said that it is a complete success. “The students are motivated, keen and happy to come to the classroom,” says Volker Mastalier. The initiator and pedagogical coordinator of the International Class visited SEKEM several times with his wife Susanna and participated in pedagogical training courses. Besides German as a foreign language, the young participants also have art and handicraft lessons, which are popular. “The young people are particularly skilled in the artisan activities, such as carpentry, basket-weaving and horticulture and they enjoy shape,” says Volker Mastalier. The music lessons are also very popular among the students especially when they are allowed to contribute something from their own culture.
The International Class is integrated as a permanent class in the Waldorf School Graz and is to be expanded. “The greatest challenge is to secure the International Class a permanent place in the educational landscape for refugees,” says Volker Mastalier. In order to achieve this goal, a number of obstacles had to be overcome, which the SEKEM Friends Association Austria can only cope with through generous donations.
Sherif Abou El Naga