Thankful for my Roots

In this blog post, educate. board member and trustee Lisa van Holsteijn gives us an insight into the community where she grew up and how this community continues to contribute to her work for educate..


Going home for me doesn’t just mean going home to see my parents and immediate family, it means going home to a much larger family. I grew up in a unique community located in the north east of Scotland. The community is called Camphill and as its central focus is a school for special needs children. In order to provide full time intensive care for these children, surrounding the school is a unique way of life; a shared living experience. Those that work with the children also live with them. This way of life has its roots in anthroposophy, a holistic philosophy developed by Rudolf Steiner in the 20th century.

Although I moved away from the community almost four years ago, I still feel very closely connected to this way of life, and in many ways my travels and studies over the past few years have allowed me to gain a deeper appreciation for Camphill. I am beginning to see how unique this shared living experience truly is, and how important community life is in our fast paced modern world. Although many of the people that worked in the community when I was growing up have now moved on, the idealistic ethos remains, and the anchoring individuals of my parent’s generation (some of whom feel like my uncles and aunts) have offered me continued support in my work with educate.

With regards to my work with educate., having a community like Camphill as a background network is wonderful. People are incredibly supportive of all things philanthropic and well- intentioned, and after some discussion amongst the children the decision was made to donate the community’s 2017 advent sale profits to educate. This is an annual sale where all the houses and workshops present and sell a vast array of christmas-themed handcrafted gifts. As a child I always remember this being one of the best events of the year – yummy christmassy biscuits, cakes, waffles, chocolates, cards, hand dipped candles, pottery, books, live music – everything a child could ask for! This years advent sale raised a grand total of £780! To say a special thank you to the school and to give the children a bit of an idea of the things educate. is doing with this money, I gave an assembly in the school a few weeks ago. It was lovely to be able to interact with the young children and to witness their curiosity and amazement when hearing about what it’s like to go to school in the ‘far and distant tropical land of Honduras.’

This short assembly (and of course the advent sale) was a great success, and I really hope to be able to continue organising fundraising/awareness events in collaboration with the community.

As always, if you are interested in educate. and the work that we are doing, please take a look at our website:


Here are a selection of photographs from the Camphill advent sale:


Thank you for reading!

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