How could we live all together after events happened? Press release of "Building Bridges, not Walls"

How could we live all together after events happened? Internally displaced children and their peers tried to find their own answers to this question in the camp "Building Bridges, not Walls".

In October 27 - November 3, 2014 in the complex "Sun Valley" vil. Bojani, Chernivtsi region, the camp "Building Bridges, not Walls" was successfully held. It was an intensive course for children, directed for building dialogue and reconciliation.

The project involved 80 teenagers, most of them — internally displaced children from Lugansk, Donetsk region and Crimea, as well as their peers from other regions.

The main aims of the course were: to promote the integration of immigrant adolescents, psychological rehabilitation, creating opportunities for dialogue and joint learning, action in resolving conflicts. The course was organized by the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine in partnership with Kyiv Educational Center "Toler Space".

To participate in the course adolescents had to write an essay or to illustrate statements of Marlene Dietrich, Frederic Nansen, Vladimir Korolenko or Augusto Boal.

The camp participants learned more about successful communication and mediation of conflicts. The unique authorial program allowed children to find their inner resources to overcome problems and to develop the ability of recovering from stressful situations. Every day children had two workshops to choose from: theater, mediation of conflicts, philosophy, art discussions, dance, cuisine, music, art, psychology, sports, blogging, movie club, creating stencils and posters Loesje.

Children with different backgrounds were united into groups according to age, and every day played and socialized together. Due to the Theatre of the Oppressed techniques that have been tested previously in the initiative Theatre for Dialogue, teenagers could understand for themselves the theme of equality, majority and minority in society, discrimination and human rights.

The days of democracy were unique, because the participants on their own experience felt a possibility to choose, they understood that their interests in the camp can be represented by their peer, teenagers realized that they can really influence the camp program, particularly, planning the celebration of Halloween and organizing their free time in Chernivtsi. Each group of children chose the candidate to the Council of Camp.

Methodist of course Alexander Voitenko:

"The programs of candidates were expectedly serious. Who else today but the young people understand the importance and responsibility of democratic procedures and elections. For example, Ivan Kushpel from Kiyv in the main statement of his program was based on the slogans of French Revolution: "Liberty, equality, brotherhood, sisterhood" and promised to take into account the opinion of everybody. Julia Lagutkina from Lugansk promised an exciting Halloween, Yasya Scholna from Kiyv offered a flashmob in Chernivtsi. Children have organized themselves, making decisions and meeting with their consequences". The pilot program of the course was created by the best experts on civic education for children – Anna Lenchovskaya, Alexander Voitenko, Kira Kreyderman. Psychological training of educators and rehabilitation of children were provided by leading children's therapists Lyudmila Batalina and Irina Ivakina.

The team camp was trained at specialized seminars. We were also assisted by international experts:

Olga Fougelson from St. Petersburg-Toronto developed the Democracy day and elections to the the Council of Camp, Manana Tsintsadze from Tbilisi was a teacher of choreographic art, Hjalmar Jorge Einhorn (La Paz-Hamburg) trained team camp according to the methods of the Theatre of the Oppressed, Daria Strayster from Chisinau was a photographer.

"Many thanks to everybody who helped to organize the camp "Building Bridges, not Walls". I really liked it ... I’ve got amazing new impressions, bright 7 days passed extremely quickly, but during these days I managed to meet a lot of good people"

 «Camp – is to expect 2 workshops - before and after lunch…»

"Camp – is a great way to take a break from school and learn something new"

"Camp teaches you to overcome scene fright"

"Camp taught me to help other people" - wrote on her page on the social network 12-year-old Anya Paly.

Photo-reports are available at the following link:

The course was organized by the Congress of National Communities of Ukraine in partnership with Kyiv Educational Center “Toler Space” and initiative “Theatre for Dialogue”.

This pilot project was realized with the support of U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, the Netherlands Embassy in Ukraine and the Euro-Asian Jewish Congress.

This project can be used as a model of complex target program for the integration of children - internally displaced people in the new places of residence.

Report of the Non-Governmental Organization «Kyiv Educational Center «TolerSpace»

Photo Week

A training seminar for young internally displaced persons “Meeting at the new place”

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