This was originally written for posting on the LILIPOH Magazine Facebook account, thanks to social media editor Willa Maglalang’s call for stories on non-Manila anthroposophic initiatives in the Philippines. Final posting–25 June 2013.
It was pretty easy, cobbling this together, as Shei and I had already mucked around on the topic for the ImagePraxis exhibition at the Liwanag Festival in Davao last January. What I do hope though is to be able to write more about these amazing local projects and initiatives (with ImagePraxis, Do-Good.PH, and other platforms), and maybe, even make it sustainable for everyone involved, somehow.
WELLSPRING OF HOPE: FOCUS ON TUBURAN INSTITUTE
In a tiny vegetarian eco-village in the outskirts of Davao City, the largest metropolitan center in the war-torn island of Mindanao, stands the very first Steiner/Waldorf-inspired school in Southern Philippines.
Founded in 2012 by young university instructors Kate Estember and Maya Vandenbroek, Tuburan Institute aims to make Steiner Education accessible to all Mindanawons–regardless of cultural background, or religious and political beliefs–especially those who cannot afford it.
Tuburan Institute started with a kindergarten class of nine children, which has since grown to eighteen enrollees for the 2013-2014 school year. Half of these children come from urban poor communities. Thanks to a system of sliding school fees, families of factory workers and tricycle drivers are able to get support from families with more resources, and from benefactors with big hearts.
The base tuition at Tuburan Institute is 40,000 pesos per year (approx. 800 USD), but some families are able to pay only as low as 2,500 pesos (50 USD) per year. All these differences fade as the kids happily learn and play side-by-side: a crucial step in healing a society that has suffered decades of conflict driven by culture and class.
Tuburan Institute (which means “wellspring” in the Cebuano language) has grown steadily despite the odds, with some help from the local and international community. In 2014, Tuburan Institute will expand to Class 1, and will transfer to a donated 1-hectare plot in another part of Davao.
Teachers and green architects have volunteered their skills in transforming the future space, but Tuburan Institute needs more support. It takes only 344 pesos per day (or 7 USD) to give a child a Waldorf education at Tuburan; any help, whether in cash or in kind, will go a long way.