From Africans for Africans

From Africans for Africans

29 August 2023 Michaela Glöckler 2597 views

The All Africa Anthroposophic Training conveys anthroposophical foundations that can inspire the professional life of participants in their individual countries. What is special about this initiative is that it was created by Africans for Africans who are interested in anthroposophy. Its most recent working week took place from 6 to 13 August in Zanzibar (TZ).

When the final module in the 2017 International Postgraduate Medical Training (IPMT) of the Medical Section in Cape Town (SA) came to an end, representatives from fourteen African countries asked whether it would be possible to offer training in anthroposophical foundations for all professions in the style of the medical training. This was preceded by an initiative by Julia O’Leary, a Cape Town eurythmy therapist who is an IPMT co-organizer. She had taken six months off work and travelled through 37 African countries in order to visit and connect anthroposophical initiatives. ‘I love Africa and these many brave anthroposophical initiatives, particularly in the fields of biodynamics, education and curative education.’

Julia O’Leary and Friedemann Schad, head physician of Havelhöhe hospital in Berlin (DE), who had carried out the IPMT together with Michaela Glöckler, decided to respond to the request. It was clear that this new initiative, which was given the name All Africa Anthroposophic Training (AAAT), had to be a purely African venture. While Europeans could offer advice and support, the responsibility for the anthroposophical further training would be with the people in charge of the initiatives in Africa.

First a local preparation team was formed in Nairobi (KE) which sent out invitations to the first AAAT in August 2018. A second initiative followed in Kufunda Village (ZW) in 2019, a third, after a break due to Covid, in Tanzania in 2021 and a fourth in Uganda in 2022. This year the five-module professional development will conclude in Zanzibar. A new training course will start next year with the first module probably being held in Namibia.

Help with funding needed

So far it has been possible to carry out these working weeks, each with 100 to 130 participants, with the help of anthroposophically oriented foundations. Since this was not possible in 2023, we had to take out a loan, hoping to be able to repay it by the end of the year. We would therefore be very grateful if as many readers as possible will not only find interest in this fundamental anthroposophical work in Africa but maybe also support the AAAT with a donation.

The main costs arise because it is essential for the required intensive work to live under one roof in quiet surroundings and that the premises are suitable for the common morning eurythmy, the daily Goethean nature observation outside and the text studies inside. Support is also needed for participants who find it difficult or even impossible to cover their costs of travel, accommodation and food. This initiative therefore needs annual funds of 30,000 to 40,000 Euros for the preparation and organization of a working week. We used to need a similar amount of funding for our IPMTs in financially disadvantaged countries where even physicians often earn very little, something we can hardly imagine in Europe. In Africa, the social situation is often even more challenging, although everyone contributes what they can to cover costs. The lecturers offer their work entirely free of charge and those who can afford it pay for their own flight or travel costs.

Friendships across countries and professions

What is so wonderful about the ATTT work is that it is an initiative of the free spiritual life which will be able to survive as long as there are places and people who wish for this kind of fundamental work. Most participants are new to anthroposophy, some have acquired basic knowledge in curative education, Waldorf education and biodynamic farming and are grateful for the opportunity for further development.

The shared morning eurythmy is also a preparation for the Goethean nature observation which in turn is complemented by the study of texts by Rudolf Steiner, for instance on exercises from the book How to Know Higher Worlds (GA 10) or on anthroposophical foundations from the book Theosophy (GA 9).

The entire afternoon is devoted to the anthroposophically inspired professions. The local preparation team decides what topics they wish to cover. This year they included climate change, ecological and social questions, agriculture, architecture, early childhood education, curative education, emergency education, media education and art therapy. Lecturers are from African and European countries, with some of them giving joint courses. Evenings are spent looking back on the day, the ‘marketplace’ offers the chance to present initiatives and projects to each other and there is time for answering questions and for additional considerations.

Friendships can grow across countries and professions and forward-looking networks are being forged.

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Reference ‹AAAT Support Fonds›
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All Africa Anthroposophic Training