Daimohk in the press

Daimohk BoysTo whet your appetite for Daimohk’s forthcoming tour (see dates, venues, prices and booking information here) we thought we would put up some links to Daimohk elsewhere on the web.

First of all is Jos De Putter’s 2002 film ‘Dans Grozny Dans’.  In Chechen with French subtitles.

‘Jos De Putter’s powerful documentary “Dans Grozny Dans”, follows Daimohk on their 2001 tour of Europe and their preparations among the devastation of Grozny. The film won Best Documentary at Chicago’s 2003 International Documentary Film Festival, and Best Film at the 2003 St Petersburg Film Festival.’

There is also a wonderful selection of highlights from the 2005 Tour from Videoreel on YouTube.

These are reviews from their 2004 tour.

‘Dancing in the Dark’ by Vanora Bennett, Times Online, 19th August 2004

Daimohk at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod, BBC Wales, 4th-9th June 2004


Royal Opera House, Linbury Studio, London by Patricia Somerset, Ballet Dance Magazine, September 2004


Here is also a lovely selection of photographs taken in the Netherlands by Eddie Van Wessel on a previous tour




Daimohk dates

We’re thrilled to be able to announce the venues and dates for this year’s Daimohk Tour.  If you have not had the joy of seeing the Chechen Children’s Dance Ensemble before then please make an effort to come and see them – not only is the story and the spirit of these young dancers extraordinary, they really do shine in their own right as dancers worthy to take their place on the world stage.  For more information on the group please see our Daimohk page.

Daimohk Poster 2009

Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadlers Wells
Saturday 18th July and Monday 20th July at 7:15pm

Sat 18th July, 7.15 pm, tickets £14 / £10 concessions
Mon 20th July, 7.15 pm, fundraising night, tickets £30
Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN, Angel Tube
Tickets available through the Booking Office: 0844 412 4300 (Mon-Sat 9am-8.30pm), Minicom (textphone): 020 7863 8015

Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod
9th – 11th July

Tickets and prices available through the festival website  http://www.llangollen2009.com/index.php/tickets
Abbey Road, Llangollen LL20 8SW
Tel: 01978 862016; fax: 01978 862002

Michael Hall School Theatre
Monday 13th July at 7.30pm

Tickets £12 Adults, £7 for 18’s and under
Tickets available from the office at Michael Hall School, Kidbrooke park, Forest Row, East Sussex , RH18 5JA, or The Seasons,  Hartfield Road , Forest Row,  East Sussex
or Tel: 01342 825 083

Kings Langley Rudolf Steiner School
Tuesday 14th July at 7.30pm

Tickets £10, £8 concession and £5 for children under 16
Tickets available now from the office at the Rudolf Steiner School, Langley Hill, Kings Langley, WD4 9JB
Tel 01923 262505
www.rsskl.org or email info@rsskl.org

A message from the Chair

Hello, and welcome back to the website if you’ve not been here for a while.  I’ve had a tinker with the website and hopefully it should now be easier to access and receive regular news reports of what we are doing – particularly if you use RSS feeds (if not then find out more on how to use them here).  Please let us know what you think!

Saturday 16th May saw Trustees gather for our Annual General Meeting to review our work over the past year and to look forward to another year of providing essential support to people living in Chechnya and the surrounding region.  Rachel Gillies, who has been a Trustee since 2005 was elected as Chair for the forthcoming year, and we are happy to say that another year’s report and accounts have been compiled by our auditors and approved by the Board.

We would like to welcome another addition to our Board of Trustees.  Alice Lagnado has worked extensively as a journalist in both Russia and Chechnya, including working as The Times’ Moscow correspondent.  She is currently the Assistant Editor of ‘One in Seven’ magazine, the publication of RNID.  It’s great to have her on board and all of the Trustees and staff are looking forward to tapping into her skills and experience!

This coming year, and in particular the next few months are looking incredibly exciting.  We’re thrilled to be welcoming Daimohk back to the UK for their first tour since 2006.  Their tour includes performances at the prestigious International Eisteddfod in Llangollen – a real indication of how much artistic respect Daimohk have gained in their own right.  We are still in the process of confirming dates, but we will be posting them up as soon as we have them available.

We also hope to be welcoming our incredibly hard-working Little Star psychosocial workers to the UK once they have gained Visas.   Please see our previous post on our hopes for their visit.  We will be working to develop a Little Star website to enable both English and Russian speakers to follow their work.  More information on that once it is up and running.

You may also have read in a previous post our hope to take some of the skills and expertise of Little Star workers to assist with much needed Psychosocial work in Gaza.  We are presently seeking seed-funding for this venture.

And finally, on the subject of funding, we’re happy to report that we have had a successful year of fundraising.  However, with money being diverted away from the Caucasus to other regions, with so many funding organisations suffering due to the recession and of course the fact that people in the Caucasus are not immune from the economic crisis, it is imperative that we receive funding to continue in our work.  Please consider making a donation to PBUK to support us in our peacebuilding efforts.

Best wishes,

Rachel Gillies (Chair)

Little Star Psychologists to Visit the UK in 2009

Most of the twelve Little Star psychologists will visit the UK in 2009. Working every day with traumatized people causes a strain for those conducting this work, and Peacebuilding UK therefore arranges a break or retreat for the team of psychologists and counsellors each year for rest and recuperation.

Previous retreats have been conducted in the UK, Norway, Azerbaijan and the Crimea. The visit will also include a training component to increase and deepen the range of skills of the Little Star team. A small team of UK-based specialists has agreed to work with the Little Star psychologists during their visit to support them in the writing of a teachers’ manual to complement the book ‘Power of Goodness: Stories of Nonviolence and Reconciliation’, which Little Star has been using in its work for over a year (please see ‘Psychosocial’ page).

A substantial part of the financial support for the Little Star project comes from the UK via Peacebuilding UK. The Little Star visit to the UK will therefore also provide the valuable opportunity for such contributors to meet with the Little Star team.

Finally, the visit will enable the Little Star team to meet with Peacebuilding UK friends and trustees. The team’s visa application attempt was unsuccessful in March, but we hope that discussions with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office will lead to successful applications shortly.

Supporting Psychosocial work in Gaza

Peacebuilding UK has been invited by an NGO in Gaza to support their work through staff training in the fields of child psychological trauma counselling and rehabilitation. This co-operation will focus on psychosocial counselling of children in the field and the training of new staff/ mental health professionals in Gaza. An initial one-week seminar is planned in Gaza in August 2009. Two representatives from Peacebuilding UK and two Little Star psychologists will visit Gaza in August to conduct the training seminars. It is hoped that this will be the first of a series of such trainings and cooperation between Peacebuilding UK/ Little Star and the partner in Gaza.

Rebuilding Sharoi School

Classroom Sharoi SchoolIntroduction
The children of the village of Sharoi have been without a school from 1999 to 2008, after the original school building was largely destroyed during bombardments in the second Chechen war from 1999-2000. Sharoi is deep in the mountains in the South of Chechnya, and access to other villages from it is limited. The children’s education was therefore severely limited to ad hoc lessons in homes in the village, and when possible to making trips of several miles, sometimes on foot, to the nearest neighbouring village.

Work Conducted
The work at the school in Sharoi has been completed, and the Ministry of Education of Chechnya is currently running the school, providing the necessary funding and supervision for the school to operate, including paying teachers’ wages, maintaining the school. The Ministry of Education will continue to run the school over the long-term now that the building has been rebuilt and can provide adequate provision for classes. The school opened for the new term on 1st September 2008.

The population of the village of Sharoi is 520 people, and the number of children attending the school is 62. This includes 31 children attending classes 1-4; 25 children attending classes 5-9, and 9 children in classes 10-11. There are 35 boys, 25 girls and 12 teachers. One of the children is disabled and five are orphans. There are now six classrooms in the school, as previously before the devastating damage inflicted to the building before the war. The school, as many others in Chechnya today, works in two shifts.

Please see further data regarding the school and the work conducted below:

District: Sharoi regionEntrance Sharoi School
City/town/village: Sharoi
Degree of damage (1-5): 5
School: No.1 secondary
Work being conducted: Full repairs, including laying floors, ceilings, building walls, roof, plastering, installing electrics, heating system (wood boiler)
Population of town/ village: 520
Total number of children 6-18 years: 62
Number of pupils classes 1-4: 31
Number of pupils classes 5-9: 25
Number of pupils classes 10-11: 9
Number of shifts: 2
Number of boys/ girls/ teachers: 36/26/12
Psychologists: no
Number of classrooms available before rebuilding: 0
Number of classrooms after rehabilitation: 6
Electricity/ gas/ heating/ water: no/no/no/no
Latrines/ lavatories: no/yes
Medical room: no
Canteen: no
Gymnasium/ playground: no/no
Number of disabled children: 1
Number of orphans/ semi-orphans: 8

The grant of £6000 from QPSW was used to fund the replacing the school roof, including the wooden framework, insulation, tin sheeting, guttering and drain pipes. The costs of both building materials and labour were covered by the grant. The actual costs of repairing the roof rose to £8120.

Sharoi Corridor, Before and AfterThe full cost of the repairs to the school was £31,600 – £7600 more than expected. This included the rebuilding of walls, roof, laying of floors, ceilings, plastering, installing electrics, heating system (wood boiler) and installation of doors and windows. The majority of the shortfall in funds was covered by additional funds from UNICEF (see more details below in ‘Problems in Implementing the Project’) as well as some additional funds from Peacebuilding UK.

All building materials for the project were purchased locally in Chechnya from local suppliers. This helped to reduce the environmental impact of transporting such supplies, although they did have to be transported up into the mountains from Grozny along narrow and at times perilous mountain roads. The timber purchased was from sustainable forests in the region. The building has been insulated, thereby reducing the loss of heat as much as possible.

Problems in Implementing the ProjectSharoi Ext, Before and After
A truck transporting building supplies to Sharoi skidded off the road and fell down into a small ravine in March 2008. The materials lost had been funded by UNICEF. As the materials were lost, UNICEF fortunately agreed to replace them, which is partly the reason for the project expenditure having increased above the budgeted amount. A recent earthquake in the Chechen mountains has caused landslides that have now completely closed this road. The further reason for this was the substantial increase in the costs of building materials in Chechnya and Russia as a whole.

There is currently a problem of insufficient number of school desks at the school. Peacebuilding UK’s partner, the ‘Centre for Peacebuilding and Community Development’ Russian charitable fund, is assisting the school authorities to find a solution to this problem with the Chechen Ministry of Education, which initially expressed that it would provide all such furniture.

The teachers, pupils and parents of Sharoi school have expressed their sincerest gratitude to all of those people and bodies that supported the rebuilding of their school, including QPSW. Eight years was a significant amount of time for the children and families of the village to be without a school, and its re-opening marks an important step for them in rebuilding their lives after the destruction of the war, and to restoring their educational system.

School re-building project

Thank you to everyone who has donated to this appeal. We have so far managed to raise 50% of the total £10,000 of the appeal, which is required to complete the rebuilding of four schools in Chechnya.

A further £5,000 needs to be raised by the end of June as Peacebuilding UK’s contribution. The schools serve about 1,800 pupils and were moderately or severely destroyed during the recent wars. UNICEF is paying for 86% of the rebuilding costs but expects PBUK’s partner in Russia, a Russian Charitable Fund with the same name, to contribute 14% by the end of April. Peacebuilding UK has raised £15,000 to date for this project.

Pupils and parents of these schools very much want them to reopen this Autumn, and this work is not included in the Chechen Government’s current rebuilding programme.

Please go to our Donations page for information on how to contribute. Thank you.