Waldorf volunteers rescued from Lebanon
KARLSRUHE (NNA) – Three German volunteers undertaking voluntary service at the Rudolf Steiner School in Beirut and on a social therapy farm in Baalbek were dramatically rescued from war-torn Lebanon earlier this month.
According to the Karlsruhe office of the international organisation Friends of Waldorf Education (“Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e.V.”), the three volunteers, Marie Pfister, Tabea von Verschuer and Matthias Galle, had at first been taken to various places of safety in Lebanon when the fighting began.
When a village close to the Rudolf Steiner School’s summer camp had been bombed, the Lebanese partner organisation of the Friends of Waldorf Education, FISTA, decided to move the two volunteers working there to the German Evangelical Church’s community centre in Beirut. From there they were taken by bus convoy organised by the German embassy to Damascus airport, where tens of thousands of refugees from many different countries were already waiting to leave.
The third volunteer working in Baalbek was taken to Damascus by secret routes by a FISTA member of staff after the roads and buildings in and around the town had been bombed and there was a risk that escape would no longer be possible.
After their 16-hour rescue, the three young people were received by the Friends of Waldorf Education team in Damascus and flown to Stuttgart via Italy on the next day.
In Stuttgart they met up with a group of Lebanese pupils from the Beirut Rudolf Steiner School who had attended the UNESCO Peace Festival in the city and had subsequently been given asylum in the Karl Schubert School in Stuttgart since it is currently too dangerous for the children to return to Lebanon.
The successful evacuation was planned and executed in close collaboration between Friends of Waldorf Education, the German foreign ministry, the German embassies in Beirut and Damascus and the Lebanese partner organisation FISTA.
Some 400 young people are currently undertaking voluntary service in anthroposophical institutions in 50 countries all over the world through Friends of Waldorf Education. The organisation has appealed for financial support for the expensive rescue action.
Photos can be requested from Friends of Waldorf Education.
Account details for donations: name: Freunde der Erziehungskunst Rudolf Steiners e. V., bank: Badische Beamtenbank Karlsruhe, bank sort code: 66090800, account number: 1014250, purpose: „Aktion Libanon“
Item: 070631-01EN Date: 31 July 2006
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