The Education Research Centre and School of Education presented this seminar on Thursday 27th October, 1-2pm, Mayfield 129, Falmer Campus:
The Early Pestalozzi Children Project: recovering a lost story of refugees, childcare and education through oral history
William Eiduks and Len Clarke, the Early Pestalozzi Project
This was a well-attended event that many audience members found very moving – it was a vivid example of the power of research (in this case, interviews and archival study) to recover lost histories.
The Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Sedlescombe, East Sussex, was a unique care environment that opened in 1959 to take in children whose lives had been affected by the Second World War. Initially, the majority were selected from European refugee families living in displaced persons camps in Germany, along with a small number of British children. Subsequently, a group of Tibetan children were brought in from families in northern India who had escaped Tibet during its occupation by China. Eventually, the Pestalozzi charity changed its direction and the story of its beginnings was lost.
The Early Pestalozzi Children Project is an oral history project that aims to gather, preserve and relate the story of the children who arrived at the Pestalozzi Children’s Village between 1959 and 1965. It hopes to offer benefits to a range of interest groups, including those with an interest in childcare and education (and particularly with reference to refugee children).
William Eiduks and Len Clarke are both original former resident children of the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Sedlescombe, East Sussex when it first opened. William was a refugee of Latvian origin and Len was born in the UK in disadvantaged circumstances. They are co-organisers of the Early Pestalozzi Children Project: www.earlypestalozzichildren.org.uk
You can hear them talk about the origins of the project here:
William describes life in his Displaced Persons refugee camp after the war and his arrival at Pestalozzi here: http://earlypestalozzichildren.org.uk/2015/11/meeting-with-modern-pestalozzi-once-again/