TOYS FOR PEACE
These toys bring joy to children who grow up in a
world of war, poverty, separation and fear.
Gaza ( Feb. 2011)
Syria (Feb. 2014)
*Guatemala and Kenya “Linda Weech Peace Project”
*Gaza and Syria “The Friends of Rudolf Steiner Education”
ABOUT EMERGENCY WALDORF EDUCATION
Based on Waldorf Education, a comprehensive curriculum for emergency pedagogy was developed by the German special education teacher Bernd Ruf after he was confronted by traumatized children in a refugee camp in Beirut during the 2006 Lebanon War.
A first pilot project was started which quickly advanced to another major field of work: Following the outbreak of a war or a natural disaster, a team of specialists, made up of special education teachers, therapists, psychologists and doctors is been sent into the crisis zone within the first few weeks after a disaster.
The team worked with psychologically traumatized children in Lebanon (2006), China (2008),Gaza (2009), Indonesia (2009) and Haiti (2010).
Repeated visits to Gaza in 2010 as well as Kyrgyzstan in the same year. In 2011 the group worked in Japan and again in Gaza. In 2012 and 2013 in Kenya, Gaza, China, Lebanon, Phillipines; and in February 2013 and 2014 Kurdistan/Iraq.
“ Trauma is firstly a wound, not an illness. It is possible to prevent later effects by using relatively simple means, as long as one takes action within the first weeks.A physical wound usually heals within a few days. A wound to the soul needs a bit longer….Being traumatized means being thrown out of the stream of life. First one must dissolve the state of frozenness before the traumatized person can begin to work through their experiences. A trauma is always a near-death experience. Most of the time children are able to return from this threshold, but not always….Traumatization will become more wide-spread .. we also have to expect more disasters in the future…
Difficult experiences are part of life. People who have overcome a crisis will have different priorities and will be able to distinguish the essential from the inessential. They will value human relationships more highly and be more open for spiritual questions….
Crises cannot be prevented; but with the means that Waldorf education has in store one can help people and try to transform crises into biographical opportunities.” (B.Ruf)
I met Bernd Ruf when I lived and worked in Israel as a Waldorf kindergarten teacher and also visited Gaza and its refugee camps during the First Palestinian Uprising on a regular basis for almost seven years ( 1989-1996). Bernd had heard of my work in the camps and offered his help.
Our contact was interrupted when I moved to Canada.
I was never able to forget “my children” on both sides of the border (Israel / Gaza); and when I heard that his group of specialists and therapists, called the Friends of Waldorf Education, was investing major energy into Gaza, I offered to contribute and donate once per year a large shipment of my handmade toys for individual children as well as for Child-Friendly Spaces to be created.
My most recent shipment of toys went to Syrian children (2014) who had to flee Syria and took up the long, cumbersome journey to its Northern borders . Trauma-pedagogic relief is given to the children in the autonomous region Kurdistan/Iraq.
Many of the children are showing obvious trauma-induced symptoms, violence-prone behaviour, speech disorder or even loss of speech; visible injuries are proof of the horrible experiences which they were exposed to in their home country, and on their flight.
You can find further information and regular updates at :
Christiane Brown, Hornby Island, BC Canada
TOYS FOR THE WHOLE CHILD