A reflection of 2020 from the perspective of the Nyendo Institute

Like probably many reviews of 2020, the one of the Nyendo Institute is a mixed one. Our year started with a great retreat on the Fraueninsel at Lake Chiemsee. Many personal encounters, many guests with interesting inputs and even more ideas for the future characterized the retreat.

One idea seemed particularly worth pursuing. A jointly Nyendo product was supposed to be found, which all student companies should offer for sale. Sebastian Neu, from https://www.waldorfshop.eu/ has since been supporting the students in their efforts to develop a new product together.

The Corona crisis prevented the planned project trips of some of our students to Nairobi, a bitter disappointment for the young people and also for our partners in Kenya. But the project is only postponed. We really hope that visits will be possible again next year. Not only the students’ visit to Kenya had to be cancelled, but also the annual visit of a headmaster could not take place due to the pandemic. However, the students continue to meet monthly with their coaches, Alexander and Brigitte, to exchange ideas in Zoom meetings. They report on new sales campaigns, difficulties, plans, new employees and much more:

In Chemnitz, for example, we learned that six students are currently working at Pamoja, three of them in the 11th grade and three in the 10th grade. Highlights were a meeting with Ms. Dobrig to think about new actions, the group got a cool new coach, Mr. Mayerhofer, and the students gained new motivation at a collective picnic, which was fortunately possible during the lockdown in the summer.

A common highlight of our Nyendo student network was certainly the joint effort to compensate for the loss of earnings of teachers at our partner schools with a “Corona Special”. Each student company designed an individual flyer and collected donations. This helped us support the schools in Nairobi during the lockdown. We also arranged Zoom meetings between our student companies and their respective partner schools in the slums of Nairobi. This gave the young people a first-hand impression of the situation on the ground. At this point, we would like to express our sincere thanks to our great marketing team, who actively supported us in this fundraising campaign and provided professional advice to the students.

Such online workshops on marketing, product development and accounting, as well as fundraising and tendering, have been part of the Nyendo service catalog for our network schools since this year. Another new feature is the individual learning path portfolio that students can keep a log on while working in their Nyendo student company, which is confirmed at the end with a certificate from our side. This is a pound of gold that they can later use in job applications.

For the first time this year, young people also received a certificate from Joseph Simiyu about their Easter 2019 project trip to Kenya. In the future, this should always happen and, of course, as directly as possible after the end of the trip. Also new in our portfolio is our own Nextcloud server for the student companies, on which they can store and exchange data and information.

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Irmgard spent many months in Nairobi in 2020 and was able to initiate many new projects to improve the living situation for our friends in the slum. The student companies decided to support the NAIROBITS project with their proceeds of 2020. This non-profit organization offers training in computer centers and is a good chance for the graduates to manage a transformation and find work and thus an income.

In a Zoom conference, our youth met Emily, who told them about NAIROBITS’ approach and successes, and shared that NAIROBTIS has 25 years of experience. The student companies are supporting the construction of a Nairobits Center at the Kanghemi Youth Center.

In December, we then had the chance to present ourselves, our work and our offer at the first online barcamp of the network “Schule im Aufbruch”. Margret Rasfeld herself, one of the main initiators of this movement, was very enthusiastic. We very much hope that we were able to open a door to attract new schools to our network.

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The last weeks of the year are dedicated to planning a retreat under Corona conditions, i.e. online. Simeon Wutte, actor, director and theater pedagogue, supports the students in collecting and organizing their wishes, needs and ideas. In this way, we hope that in cooperation with the young people we will succeed in developing a format that will allow at least something of the lively encounter and exchange on the Fraueninsel to take place online. Irmgard will also visit as many student companies as possible before flying back to Kenya in January.

From the point of view of the Nyendo Institute, the summary for 2020 is that no Zoom conference can replace personal encounters. We therefore feel confirmed in our work, because enabling and shaping individual relationships and personal encounters, within the network, with our partners in Kenya, but also with other friends and like-minded people worldwide, is an essential concern of Nyendo.

So we hope for a healthy year 2021 with fewer restrictions, for visitors from Nairobi, for exciting reports from project trips to Kenya and for a student company congress in Berlin, which we hope to be able to set up together with Steinbr├╝cke.

Brigitte Lindenhofer & Alexander Piecha