Worldwide solidarity: SAGST matching fund doubles donations of Waldorf One World Day
For 26 years the Waldorf One World Day – or WOW-Day for short – has been an expression of global solidarity. On this campaign day coordinated by the “Friends of Waldorf Education”, Waldorf schools and kindergartens but also therapeutic and socially beneficial institutions are committed to providing support to Waldorf education initiatives abroad, which have to do without any government assistance.
In 2020, the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic have grown in addition. Not only have these institutions been exposed to even greater financial hardship due to prolonged closures – their supporters’ room for manoeuvre is also limited. While countless pupils, teachers and parents normally perform at their best on WOW-Day, baking waffles, organising charity concerts or mowing their neighbours’ lawns, much of this is hardly feasible this year due to the social distancing and hygiene regulations that apply. In addition to the previously existing restrictions, the second nationwide lockdown is now also hampering the implementation of WOW-Day during the scheduled period of 29 September to 29 November.
In order to get through the crisis and prevent individual organisations from permanently collapsing, it is more important than ever for the international Waldorf community to show solidarity. In this tense situation, the Software AG Foundation (SAGST) is therefore supporting WOW-Day 2020 with what it refers to as a matching fund. A total of €50,000 are available to double the funds raised up to an amount of €2,000 per donation. “With the matching fund we create an added motivation to establish creative donation campaigns despite all the difficulties”, says project manager Andreas Rebmann, who is well aware of the rather dramatic conditions in other countries. For months, SAGST has been receiving enquiries from Waldorf schools in South America or the Asian region with desperate appeals for help. “They need support to be able to buy food or even to bury with dignity members of the school community who have died from the virus”, says Rebmann. “But schools in Switzerland, France or Austria are also under pressure, as they only receive a small amount of government funds. Many parents are affected by short-time working or business closures – this is already resulting in noticeable decreases in school fees.”
On the “Friends” website, there are plenty of tips for campaign events that are still possible despite the current restrictions. By the halfway point of the campaign at the end of October, quite a few donations had already arrived. “Right now, it’s becoming clear that programmes like WOW-Day are essential for us to live together”, as the WOW-Day project coordinator Johanna Ruber emphasises. “During WOW-Day, our youngsters learn what solidarity, cohesion and welfare mean in very specific terms.”