The children; our future
The Dominican Republic, sharing with Haiti a beautiful Caribbean island, is a tourist paradise and export country of raw materials such as minerals and tropical fruits. But it is also one of the poorest Latin-American countries, with a small very rich elite, and a large extremely poor peasant population predominantly descending from African slaves. There is barely any traditional culture left, and the “Global” influence is growing steadily through television and the fact that many families have a relative in New York or Miami. The result has been rapidly declining social and family structures and a tremendous rise in criminality.
What is most striking is the miserable condition of the school-system. Public schools are barely functional through lack of funding, and many children are not going to school because they lack the means to purchase the required school uniform and -materials or may have to work in order to support the family income. It is touching to experience, when one is accustomed to indifferent children in “developed” countries, with which eagerness children here want to learn and how they endure the most boring public school class lessons.
People are painfully aware of this shortcoming, illiteracy is widespread and it is not uncommon that they are not able to sign their name and generally are taken unfair advantage of by middlemen and moneylenders because of their lack of basic math.
There are many aid development projects in the country, but with few exemptions not very effective. Although necessary we consider these efforts only as palliatives, in order to provide real "development" one has to start with the improvement of children’s education.
We, Christoph and Annelien Meier as well as our own children have known the privilege being able to study in Waldorf schools, and for over thirty years we have worked as farmers in some connection with curative and Waldorf education in Europe and the USA. We consider this teaching method as the most advanced in addressing the educational needs of our time.
After developing a sound economic basis through the activity of our company we have been able to establish a non-profit foundation “Fundacion Nuestro Porvenir” as a legal entity for the establishment of educational and cultural activities.
We recently had the opportunity to find considerable additional economic support of a client, a large organic produce-wholesaler, “Weiling” in Germany. This company sponsors our bananas with their own “Bioladen*Fair” brand and contribute to our foundation with $ 0.10 per Kg. of sold bananas. This model of school financing is reminiscent of the first Waldorf School, which was founded in Stuttgart / Germany in 1919 for the children of the workers in the Waldorf Cigarette factory!
In fall 2004 we have been able to find a teacher and open a Waldorf Kindergarten with 13 Children of farm workers and neighbors. The Kindergarten is temporarily located on our farm in a modified storage room; our intention is to build a proper Kindergarten for 40 Children on its own land adjacent to the farm. We hope that this may develop to a full school, provided we can find or train Waldorf-teachers as well as continued funding.
For the strengthening and development of our project we are searching for a trained and experienced Spanish speaking Waldorf-Kindergarten teacher as well as potential teachers to initiate a primary school in the near future.
Fundacion Nuestro Porvenir, Inc.
Apt.P #15 Ȃ Azua de Compostela • Dominican Republic
Tel. (809) 521- 1022 • Fax (809) 521- 0754
Banco de Reservas, Azua de Compostela, Dominican Republic
Acct. Nr: 190-0004873 Fundacion Nuestro Porvenir