Judi and her husband run The Stonetown Coffee House and B&B, and 2 other popular restaurants in town. They have a young daughter, and a year ago opened a Steiner School. Judi still has time to talk to her many foreign guests. This afternoon, she took us out to her school, Salome's Garden, in Bububu - a short drive from town on the beach. After the depressing, uncared for, unstimulating environment of Makunduchi Secondary School, where we'd just spent 4 days, it was heart-warming to say the least to be in this beautifully restored old Arabic villa which she has re-imagined into a creatively vibrant nursery and infant school, run as far as possible along Rudolf Steiner lines. There was colour everywhere, the walls covered in children's work and craft made of natural materials. Judi says it's a miracle they've got this far in only a year, but Judi is clearly a committed miracle worker! The vast majority of the children here are from local and very disadvantaged homes, with a few from better off families who are paying fees.
All the children were happily and actively involved in organised activities or creative play the whole time we were there. They seemed relaxed, happy, co-operative, helpful to one another and totally absorbed. I can't describe how inspiring it was to experience what had been achieved with so little, with passionate commitment and the obvious total engagement of the staff and volunteers.
Judi has no guaranteed funding for the future of the school, and is dependant on quality volunteers especially those trained and experienced in Steiner methods who can mentor the local teachers.
If even a few children can get this kind of start in life, they will help transform this society. I'm on board!
If you'd like to find out more, including how you can support the school, go to www.cefzanzibar.com