Two entrepreneurs, Daniel Stocker, 33, from Switzerland, and 39-year-old Rakel Domínguez, from Malaga, are hoping to open the first community eco-school in Spain. They have identified an area in the village of Almayate, which belongs to Vélez-Málaga, but need to raise 10,000 euros in order to kick-start the project and attract funds from other sources.
Domínguez and Stocker say the school follows the Gaia educational philosophy, which bases itself on the idea of environmental awareness as well as cultural diversity and social justice. There are currently just two other Gaia schools in Europe (one in Estonia and one in Denmark), as well as schools in Brazil, India, Thailand and Hong Kong.
The school currently has around 50 interested families. "As well as Spanish families, there are a lot of foreign residents in the Axarquía area who are very interested in giving their children an alternative education which teaches the values of sustainability, community, respect, cooperation, charity and altruism," explains Domínguez.
The school caters for children under the age of six, until which age school is not obligatory in Spain. They currently use wooden huts for the classrooms but need better installations, especially for the winter months.
Domínguez and Stocker have been running the pilot school for six months and they explain that they need to raise 10,000 euros in order to attract further funds and build better classrooms.