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Rudolf Steiner School, Mbagathi, Nairobi Easter Report 2013

12 Jun 2013
The Mbagathi Rudolf Steiner School, where our sponsored children board and receive an education,  has sent us their Easter Report for 2013 which we are pleased to share with you …

For Supporters and Friends of the Rudolf Steiner School, Mbagathi, Nairobi   Easter Report 2013Welcome to our Easter Report 2013.

We are pleased to give you our news, our developments and our struggles which have taken place since our last Easter Report of 2012.
We are grateful that the country has held its first elections in peace since the last election in 2007 with its subsequent violence.  Prayers were being said over Kenya prior and during the election time and we are grateful that all was peaceful.  The government is now implementing the new constitution with its new government structure and we have a young new president: Uhuru Kenyatta.
Last year has been challenging, our financial situation due to the rate of the Euro and increased inflation put us in a worrying position.  Thank you to all our concerned friends and the efforts from our school community which pulled us through this difficult time.  Our school organized a fund raising walk with the children, and a special Harambee (fund raiser) on our Open day in October.  Within a few days I was feeling great. Our friends and sponsors from abroad offered their generous support.   Our two staff houses are having their finishing touches; this is a welcome development for greater responsibility to be provided within the school.  The staff flats have been supported by: Vidar Foundation in Sweden, Acacia in Switzerland, Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungshilfe and Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V in Germany, Sanduko from Denmark, Susan Cook, as well as other friends from abroad.
Anne and Rolf Bucher, came in March 2013 to work with the farm team and make new steps in the implementation of a crop rotation to meet our kitchen needs.  This is our challenge for 2013.  We welcomed our new organic farmer Wellington Mbindyo in January 2013 and said goodbye to Samuel Mukuna Kang’ethe.  We continue to strive to improve our farm production to ensure a regular supply of milk and vegetables to our school kitchen.  At the beginning of December our cattle contracted Foot and Mouth disease, this was a new and worrying experience.
The Rudolf Steiner School was due to hold a Conference on the Theme ‘Balance in Life’ this year, but a decision was made to postpone it until Easter 2014 due to the current elections.
The teachers, their classes, and the number of children at the end of term 1, 2013 were as follows:

Sarah Munyua – kindergarten teacher 20 children
Jackline Juma – kindergarten assistant 15 children
Tarasila Kimani – kindergarten teacher 20 children
Idah Nyambura – kindergarten teacher 20 children
Naomi Wambui – class 1 26 children
Patrick Njoroge – class 2 25 children
Christine Ingada – class 3 30 children
Augustus Mutua – class 4 29 children
Philisia Shake – class 5 28 children
Joyce Wanjagua – class 6 31 children
Michelle Otieno – class 7 29 children
Amos Macharia – class 8 26 children
Teresia Gachiri – exam class 25 children
Total 324 children

We have twenty permanent teachers; nineteen are Kenyans and one British.  We said goodbye to Joyce Wanjagua who decided to leave.  Churchill Adika our office accountant and Amos Macharia had to leave the school for misappropriation of funds – this shook the foundations of our social life.  We welcome two new teachers Margaret Liani who joined us in January 2013 and Kenny Wamalwa who joined us in March 2013.  In addition to the above class teachers we have the following specialist teachers: Mwakai Shake teaches kiswahili and art, Rose Ingala teaches handwork and gardening, Wellington Mbindyo  – agriculture, Judith Brown – mathematics and flutes, Lawrence Agira – English language, Komora Wayu – kiswahili, games and traditional dance.
Our boarding house is full with 92 children. We have four full time boarding parents: Ndinda Mutisya, Agnes Wambua, Peter Karaja and Pamela Simiyu.  We welcome Jane Wanjiru as our weekend boarding mother who replaces Victor Ombati.
Our non-teaching staff are as follows:

Accountant Vacant
Secretary Zilda Mwawai
Office Assistant Dainah Hiuko
Maintenance man Boaz Otieno
Farm Manager Wellington Mbindyo
Farmers Henry Wambua and Abednego Ngwala
Chief Cook Mehta Makotsi
Cooks Scolastica Buke, Kibet Ngetich and Judith Achieng
Cleaners Sila Kathambi and Grace Manyasi
Cleaners/Drivers Patrick Maika Opicho, Peter Mutuku Mbete
Watchmen Mohammed Galgalo, George Kilungu, Francis Mugambi and Partungas Ole Pertet
Groundsman Gift Mwatabu
Bus Escorts Warda Mwarabu and  Catherine Gachoki
Boarding Parents Ndinda Mutisya, Agnes Wambua, Peter Karaja, Pamela Simiyu and Jane Wanjiru

Kenyan Exam Class

There are twenty five children sitting the Kenyan National Exam (KCPE) this year.  Children who choose to go into government secondary schools need this exam to continue studying within the Kenyan system after primary school.  Although our children have a range of grades, overall our children pass well.
Co-workers and Visitors

Our experienced co-workers who visit us regularly are extremely important in the development and growth of our Steiner school.  They are as follows:
Troels and Clara Ussing and Peer Jøker from Sanduko in Denmark came in October 2012 and in February 2013.  Troels Ussing and Peer Jøker visit us at least twice a year.  Troels works with the College of Teachers and the larger teachers’ group as a whole, giving us lectures/workshops and helping us to develop a consciousness for the social side of the school.  He runs self-development workshops and study groups.  Peer works with our financial and legal matters.
Ynez Wilbers from Norway is our new friend;  she has been helping us find sponsors and raise money while living during this past year close to the school.
Claus and Christel Metzler returned in January 2013, Claus mentored the teachers and Christel helped in various ways.  Susan Cook from the USA will join us later this year or early next year.  She will mentor and work with teachers on developing the curriculum, especially in the sciences. Simon Shirley from England has been assisting with the teacher training modules.
In September 2012 we had a visit from Anne, Rolf Bucher and Catrin Cohnen.  During this time Anne and Rolf engaged themselves on the farm, working with the farm manager.  They initiated the planting of 100 fruit trees together with the school children.   Rolf and Anne came again on an official visit in March 2013 and developed – crop rotation, composting and our orchard.
Emily Gearing-Grief, a volunteer from the UK, came on a five week visit from 11 th September to 27 th October 2012.  She helped in various areas both in class and with the boarding children.
Nora Dwyer from the US came mid-November with her son, Sean, and his friend, Milan, for the last two weeks of term.  The two boys joined class 7.
Annette Massmann from Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungshilfe, visited us briefly in October 2012.  The majority of our individual sponsors come through this organization.
We said farewell to Lea Röhrich from Germany as she completed her year as a volunteer from Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.  Florian Bieberstein from Germany joined us in September 2012 also from the volunteer programme of Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V. but unfortunately he had to leave us prematurely due to the doubling of the cost of the work permit.  Our volunteers help in the library and support learning activities around the school.
Leah Graham a volunteer teacher came from Australia at the end of June for a few months.  There was also a safari group of 12 young people from Germany who came in August 2012 organized by Irmgard Wutte.
Teacher Training

Our teacher training modular course continues to attract and inspire teachers from East Africa.  The course is run by Peter van Alphen (Primary) and Ann Sharfman (Kindergarten) from Cape Town, South Africa.  The fourth teacher training course began in April 2009 with module 1.  Students are required to complete 10 modules; the latter are run for two weeks three times a year during holidays.  Those having completed the modules and passed their mentorship receive a Diploma recognized by the Goetheanum, Switzerland.   In addition to Peter and Ann, in August 2012 Catherine van Alphen also taught.  Simon Shirley taught on the modules in December 2012.

Advanced Training in Waldorf Education

A new course was started by Peter van Alphen and Ann Sharfman in August 2011.  Modules will be run for two weeks every August.  This course is run for Diploma holders and will deepen Waldorf Education enabling teachers to become teacher trainers.
Anthroposophical Study Group  An Anthroposophical study group was formed with Troels Ussing.  The group worked with ‘Self development’, and will meet again when Troels Ussing visits us – also at other times of their choice.

Nyendo –
Trade Nyendo is the trade project based at the Rudolf Steiner School in Ismaning, close to Munich.  Nyendo buy African goods which are sold on Open days/markets at some Waldorf Schools in Germany.  The annual income from this is a welcome contribution to our school funds.  Students running the programme have the opportunity of visiting our school.  Tobias Kupek, Marius Lentz- Wimmer, Linus Heirz Michaela Truckenbrodt and Lorenz Spenger visited in May 2012 and stayed in the school for four weeks’ work experience; they bought trade goods at the local markets.  Two other students – Karlo and Sylvio – also joined the group.
Adult Education

During term-time two of our teachers – Philisia Shake and Patrick Njoroge – take classes in reading and writing for Masai women at Kitengela Glass.
Financial situation

We are fortunate that Peer Jøker from Sanduko is able to continue to support us in the organization of our finances.  Peer, a chartered accountant, advises us on all financial matters.  The school was in an exceptional financial situation during the second half of 2012 where we had to put our efforts into raising funds for our budget shortfall.  This was due to the build-up over recent years of the unchanging euro and the increasing inflation eventually leading to the use-up of our reserves.  We engaged our school community and friends abroad in fund raising, and we were grateful to get safely through the year.  The German sponsors increased their contribution significantly which will allow us to stabilize again.  The school has grown and naturally there is ever-increasing administration work.

We have a small sponsorship group consisting of Sarah Munyua, Judith Brown and Clara Ussing alongside the on-going sponsorship work done in the office.  We are looking at new ways of sponsoring children or sponsoring the school in general.

The positions of co-ordinators was created in January 2007.  The post of office co-ordinator is held by Mwakai Shake and the finance coordinator by Judith Brown.  These positions carry the responsibility for the daily running of the school.  Both Mwakai and Judith have a reduced teaching load, therefore allowing them to spend more time on administration and planning.
The College of Teachers

The College of Teachers is responsible for the educational quality and the well-being of the school.  The members are presently: Rose Ingala (Chairperson), Mwakai Shake, Judith Brown, Tarasila Kimani, Philisia Shake and Mutua Augustus.  My cardiologist prescribed flagyl cheap. Trust Our present trustees are: Nani Croze (chairperson), Eric Krystall, Anne Daykin, Nana Göbel for Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners, Sanduko (Peer Joeker, Troels and Clara Ussing), Wairimu Ndirangu and Judith Brown.  The group meets approximately three times a year.
Development Meeting

The Development Meeting, which takes place every October, was set up to support the College of Teachers in planning ahead for the school’s future.  Members are those working regularly in or for the school.  The permanent members are: the College of Teachers, Troels and Clara Ussing and Peer Jøker from Sanduko (who visit the school two or three times a year).  This meeting reviews the events/happenings of the past year and sets the goals for the following year and the years to come.
Physical development during the past year

  1. The near completion of two staff houses.

On-going tasks for the year 2013

1)    Farm development.
2)  Raising educational standards.
3)  Employ a new kindergarten assistant, support for music and woodwork.
4)  Financial structural problem: look for new ways to raise income
5)  Find ways to raise money for a bus.
6)  Ensure the 17 acres is adequately secured.
7)  Look for ways to facilitate teacher observation abroad.

Planning to consider in 2013

To plan for:

a) Sports field – plan.

b) Bio-gas production.

c) Toilets and showers for huts/guests.
Suggestions for those who wish to give smaller gifts to the school

Stockmar block or stick colour crayons.
• Coloured pencils.
• Coloured chalks.
• Stockmar water colours (crimson red, lemon yellow and light and dark blue).
• Small monetary gifts.

Should you know of anyone who wishes to make a contribution to the school – or sponsor the school, please contact us at:
The Rudolf Steiner School, P.O. Box 15609, 00503, Mbagathi Nairobi, Kenya   Email address:  Website:
THANK YOU account
We wish to give a big thank you to all our friends, supporters and co-workers from around the world, all of whom make this school possible.  Without the support from friends the school could not be here.  We cannot mention all names but each one is important to us through the variety of ways assistance is given.  When one sees the children happily playing, eating good meals and making progress in school, one realizes the enormity of your gifts in bringing about such changes in the lives of our children.  Our supporters come from diverse areas of the world – Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland, Australia, the USA and Kenya.
We wish to give a special ‘thank-you’ to the following for the building of our two staff houses: Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V through Nana Göbel, Vidar Foundation through Anders Kumlander and Ursula Flatters from Sweden, Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungshilfe through Annette Massmann from Germany, Acacia through Jules Ackermann from Switzerland, Sanduko through Troels and Clara Ussing and Peer Jøker, Susan Cook in honour of the late Peter Cook.
There are a number of initiatives and organizations that co-ordinate sponsorship in different countries whom we wish to thank:   –

– Annettte Massmann of Zukunftsstiftung Entwicklungshilfe, with Astrid Blei and Christel Metzler.

– Nana Göbel and Fabian Matejek from Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners in Germany.

– Troels and Clara Ussing and Peer Jøker from Sanduko in Denmark.

– Pedagogical section of the School of Spiritual Science, the Goetheanum in Dornach.

– Jules Ackermann from Acacia in Switzerland

– Truus Warrink from the Internationaal Hulps Fund in the Netherlands.

– Flora Fremantle from England.

– African l.e.a.f.  (love.educate.acknowledge.feed) from Australia.

– The Vidar Foundation through Anders Kumlander and Ursula Flatters from Sweden.

– African Circle from Schwäbisch Gemünd our sister school through the African Circle.

– Lux-Foundation with Jürgen Ackermann.

– Susan Cook and her friends in San Francisco.

Thank you to Peter van Alphen and Ann Sharfman, who have continued without fail to run a quality teacher-training course, allowing our school to maintain a high standard of education. Also to Catherine van Alphen and Simon Shirley for supporting the course.  Thank you to Rolf and Anne Bucher who developed the farm organisation, to our volunteers and to all our friends who came and worked with us.  Thank you to Ynez Wilber for her work in finding sponsors.
Thank you to the Nyendo for organizing the buying and selling of goods in Christmas markets in Germany through the Ismaning school.   Also to others who sold goods at bazaars, Karin Hedrich and Solvejg Ruarus.
Thank you to the young people of Germany for their efforts with WOW and the adults who encourage this activity; their donations are hugely valued.  Thank you to all around the world for your special donations/gifts, regular or intermittent that we have received this year.
Thank you too for the donations brought through the friends of Anne and Rolf Bucher, to ‘The Lux- Foundation’ for the boarding girls’ cupboards and a water pump for the drip system, to Catherine Hay and Kris Clerkin, Peter Jason Cook and friends at the San Francisco Waldorf School.
Our special appeal contributions: Thank you to all our friends who responded to our appeal: the sponsors who increased their contributions and for the special financial gifts for our fund raising event, also from:  Stiftung Accanto, Kaminsky Stiftung, Hilke Mayntz, Else and Bernard Wolf, Hermes Trust, to Yuriko Ross, George and Peter Brown, the Anthroposophical Society of GB, Dieter Schraysshuen and Karin Neusscüt. Last but not least – to our neighbours here in Kenya and our whole school community.
Finally we wish to express our sincere thanks for ALL your gifts, in whatever form.  We shall continue our efforts to give the children a safe and sound education, in preparation for their future tasks.
Judith Brown, on behalf of the Rudolf Steiner School Mbagathi Community.

April 2013