Peacebuilding UK is raising funds for a summer program to support Chechen girls, which aims to complement the work of the Young Women’s Development project. Two amazing young women role models, a film-maker and non-formal educator from New York and a writer and journalist from London (photo below), are volunteering to come to Chechnya for up to two months over the summer to spend every day with girls from our program. Please click on the link above to visit our fundraising page to learn more. Thank you!
Trial training workshops with teachers have been conducted using stories from Power of Goodness, and those teachers have already used the stories in their lessons at school. Their feedback to date affirms that this resource together with th…e manual is a helpful tool for creating high quality lessons. The wide selection of stories on different topics greatly facilitates the teachers’ work in the classroom. Some of the feedback is below:
Venera Minazova, Chechen State University: The book “Power of Goodness” has become so embedded in our personal and professional life that somehow it has become a benchmark for understanding and evaluating the many events happening to us and to others. The heroes in the stories have become friends to whom we so want to introduce more people. The more I conduct sessions on the same story, the more I marvel at the many different ways that the discussions on the story can go, and at the amazing range of emotions, thoughts and memories that the heroes of the story inspire in the listeners.
Peacebuilding UK plans to conduct a new peace education/ conflict transformation project in Chechnya from April 2014, which will build on the work of previous projects (the ‘Little Star’ psychosocial assistance program, ‘Power of Goodness’ stories of nonviolence and reconciliation by Friends’ International Library). The project will use the internet based platform developed in 2013 (www.power-of-goodness.org) as a catalyst for conflict transformation activities in Chechnya – a region beset by violence and armed conflict over two decades. 200 teachers in 20 schools will receive training, support and resources for peace education work in schools. A peace curriculum and teacher’s training manual will be provided, based on the real-life stories of Power of Goodness with examples of nonviolence and reconciliation, some by people in the region.
The project will aim to help prevent new violence by focusing on training and supporting teachers in schools to cultivate peaceful values of tolerance, nonviolence, reconciliation and justice among young people. This is a pilot project, which Peacebuilding UK and partners (including Friends’ Peace Teams and Conscience Studio in the US) subsequently plan to conduct in other regions of the world. Funding is presently being sought to enable this project.
The second edition of this tri-lingual book in Chechen, Russian and English has, after several editing delays, finally been published! 6000 copies were printed in summer 2013 by the publishers Groznenskii Rabochii in Chechnya. The book can be viewed online: http://www.power-of-goodness.org/downloads.php
The Power of Goodness is a peace education tool that can be used to raise awareness about issues explored in the stories such as nonviolence, forgiveness, justice, peace, tolerance and reconciliation. Since summer 2013, Peacebuilding UK and partner CPCD in Chechnya have worked on the creation of a new web portal, funded by the Berghof Foundation, (http://www.power-of-goodness.org/.
The Little Star psychologists have created a teacher’s training manual that will be used with the Power of Goodness stories. The Power of Goodness stories and manual are available on the website.
This is our first social media fundraising attempt for our Young Women’s Development Groups Project, born out of frustration with what should be an easily resolved situation: these three girls (in the photo) are from the mountain village of Dochu-Borzoi in Chechnya, where two weeks ago our colleagues started running an intensive, rights-based girls’ empowerment program. The girls loved it and were just thrilled, because there is nothing like it in their lives. But now we might be forced to close the program in this village and one other because we cannot afford the additional $160 a month needed to feed the girls some simple, essential snacks.
The social workers, materials and transport are covered, but in a village like this, where girls’ homes are a long trek from the school and where they are expected to do endless chores at home after school, we have to hold the program right after classes, because once the girls go home, their families won’t allow them come back for our program. So after a morning of classes, they are hungry and tired, and we need to feed them! For £2.50 ($4), we can feed one of the 40 girls in the two villages for a month. Funds from our donors cover all the costs of the program except this one. So here is our goal: can we raise £100 ($160) quickly, to cover the first month and keep the program going in Dochu-Borzoi?
If you want to make a donation to help achieve this goal, please go to our Peacebuilding UK donation site.
Every single penny/cent raised for this will be spent on the girls.
Enter “girls’ program” under message. Should we raise more than needed for these two villages, it will be used for snacks for other remote or poor program locations (we have a total of 22 groups with over 300 girls!).
This project means the world to us and indeed all the organizations and social workers involved, but not nearly as much as it does to the girls who take part in the groups, who regularly say that these are the happiest days of their lives, that they are now determined to succeed, to go back to school, to reach out for help when they need it, to strive to make their own choices, and a positive difference to their communities. And for some, just to have the light, love, respect and “time out” that these groups offer them, away from very difficult, and in some cases violent and troubled lives, means everything.
In September 2012, Peacebuilding UK and nine local NGO partners in Chechnya began a new project ‘Young Women’s Development Groups’ to support vulnerable and marginalised young women in Chechnya. Peacebuilding UK and partners had previously been working to develop and fundraise for this project over the last 2 years. The first cohort of groups has now been successfully completed, and a new cohort began in January.
The project provides training to 22 social workers from the 9 Chechen NGOs, who are being supported in implementing the following activities:
– Providing 1,600 vulnerable girls and young women (aged 11-17) in Chechnya with an extracurricular course on life-skills, confidence-building, personal development, health, human rights, and economic independence over two years;
– Providing 1,600 vulnerable girls with access to individual psycho-social counselling, health and educational support.
A curriculum based on international best practices in girls’ and young women’s social work was developed by Peacebuilding UK trainers together with leaders of the nine NGOs and 22 prospective social workers at a one-week workshop arranged by Peacebuilding UK in Nalchik from 31st May to 6th June.
The project aims to empower girls and young women in the Chechen Republic, enabling them to contribute to their communities’ social and economic development, increasing levels of education, reducing poverty and promoting gender equality. The project will also strive to strengthen Chechen civil society and expand its role in community development through improving the technical and professional capacities of the 9 key local women’s, youth and human rights NGOs. The project will help to build a movement of women’s NGOs with strengthened links and shared objectives, institutionalising sustained and comprehensive collaboration and coordination between them and providing experience in working together to further their common goals.
We are ready to go! The entire manuscript for the second edition of this tri-lingual book in Chechen, Russian and English is nearing completion and is in the hands of our Chechen publisher, Groznenskii Rabochii. The second edition is to be printed in September 2012. The Little Star psychologists will then begin a series of training seminars for teachers, initially in 12 schools in Chechnya, on using the Power of Goodness as a peace education tool and to raise awareness about issues explored in the stories such as nonviolence, forgiveness, justice, peace, tolerance and reconciliation.
The Power of Goodness project was awarded $80,000 from the United States Institute of Peace in 2011 – from 518 applications from around the world only 25 awards were made.
The Little Star psychologists have now completed work on creating a teacher’s training manual that will be used with the book Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation. 200 copies of the manual will be printed in Russian, and an English translation will also be completed shortly.