20 years of the Oasis Masloc. Pupils build a medical and therapeutic centre in Romania

Wilfried Kessler

At the beginning, the land was totally neglected, covered in rubbish and full of abandoned former cooperative buildings in need of renovation or demolition. Today it is unrecognisable. More than 300 pupils in 35 work camps have in the meantime built a new, three-storey clinic building and renovated other buildings which today serve as a kindergarten, old age home, youth centre, pharmaceutical production building and staff accommodation. The helpers designed a beautiful large clinic park with a swimming pool, chapel and paths with wheelchair access; three years ago they built an ecological waste treatment plant which purifies the sewage from the houses (the only such plant in the whole of the Banat!). 

In the meantime there is also a large vegetable and herb garden. More than 200 medicines are produced here which are used not just by the clinic but by doctors throughout the country.

Good contacts with the large pharmaceutical producers Weleda and Wala ensure the donation of medicines and the training of laboratory and pharmacy staff. Two or three medical conferences are held here each year to which well-known lecturers from Germany and Switzerland are invited. The patients are not only from the rural region between Arad und Timisoara, but meanwhile come from the whole of the country as news of the good reputation and successful treatments of the medical and therapeutic centre has spread.

36 aid shipments with 22-tonne trucks

The Ulm pupils organised 36 aid shipments to transport the donated materials to Masloc. The centre has now received donations of materials, money and medicines to the value of four million euros. Each year the pupils undertook a fund-raising campaign in which they contacted companies and foundations, organise buffets and theatre performance, even complete tours, the proceeds of which went to the centre.

A biodynamic farm develops

A new project phase was started in 2012: the pupils of the current class 10 have helped to develop the planned biodynamic farm in two construction deployments. A small stable has been built and in May the pupils finished painting the building. Construction of the farmhouse started in late October. In Mai 2013 an older building was renovated in a further deployment and converted into a bakery. The aim is to improve the diet of the patients through the biodynamic products. The baked goods will also benefit the people of the village where there has not been a bakery for years.

Individual pupils have established strong links with Romania: one pupil worked in a Romanian kindergarten for Roma children for six months after her final exams; another went for a year to Bucharest to work in a kindergarten there; one pupil undertook his alternative service at a Waldorf school in Bucharest; another pupil worked in a curative education facility in Simeria during the summer holidays and a second pupil went on a nursing practice placement at the clinic. Two former pupils are meanwhile working in Romania as agents for major German companies.

In a country which has suffered for more than 40 years under dictatorship, in which poverty and unemployment are dramatically rising, a place of development and hope has been created through the great voluntary commitment of the pupils who worked there during many holidays: the Oasis Masloc.

About the author: Wilfried Kessler is a non-medical practitioner, eurythmist and drama teacher at the Ulm Free Waldorf School.