St. Petersburg regional human rights organization “The House of Peace and Non-Violence” (HoP) was set up in December of 2002.
The mission of the HoP – create the space and opportunities for young citizens of Russian society (primarily in St. Petersburg), their parents, teachers and their environment to contribute in building up secure, peaceful and sustainable society by using interactive forms of education: trainings, discussions, social practice, organizing exhibitions, contests, peacemaking action, protection of human rights, etc..
The aim of the organization: encouraging citizens to take responsibilities over themselves for their role in the society.
The tasks of the organization: to give knowledge about human rights , the culture of peace, tolerance, non-violent methods of conflict resolution; to promote the ideas and practice of tolerance through overcoming stereotypes and image of the “enemy”, solidarity with other persons and peoples. To create the opportunities for the social practice of young people. Target groups: young people, their parents, those who work with the youth, and all those who are interested in the above mentioned themes.
The main programs of our organization are:
Within the framework of this program we organize and make training sessions, seminars, and discussions on nonviolent conflict resolution, tolerance, and education on a culture of peace and nonviolence in support of the human rights for the secondary school students, for parents and teachers in St. Petersburg and the Leningrad regions as well as in other Russian cities (including Chechnya).
Our peacemaking projects:
“Your role as a citizen", 2003 (financed by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium)
The project was focused very much on the aspect: your rights on the one hand, and your responsibilities on the other. Thousands of young people and their parents participated in the "School for Human Rights", receiving free and trustworthy information on the fundamental rights and freedoms of human beings and on methods how to exert them. Within the framework of this project we also started to educate Russian and Chechen teachers the methods of non-violent conflict resolution and non-violent education together with our partners from Pax Christi Flanders. The book The Culture of Peace was edited and caused a great interest among NGO’s dealing with this theme and working with young people and children as well as among teachers of the secondary and high school. We have received more than 100 requests for this book.
“Peace in the Classroom”, 2004(financed by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium) The project was aimed at the development and distribution of Russian materials on peace education for schools and Pedagogical High School in Saint-Petersburg. Within the framework of this project the teachers of this school as well as the secondary year’s students and their parents participated in the trainings on conflict resolution conducted by the trainers from Pax Christi Flanders. In these trainings one teacher from Komi Republic (North West of Russia) and two from Chechnya took part. This project helped to start long term cooperation with the teachers and people of other professions from Chechnya as well as to start establish contacts with the children in Chechnya.
“Your role as a citizen 2” (financed by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium)
Within the framework of this project together with our partners from Fax Christi Flanders we made workshops and training sessions on human rights, peace education and violence prevention for pedagogic staff and students, school children and their parents, and professionals in the Russian Federation, dialogue trainings, we have designed a web-site on these issues, we organized round-tables and conferences.
One of the most important aims of the project was to start the process of reconciliation and building up bridges between young people of Russia and first of all with the people in Chechnya. We have visited Grozny the capital of Chechnya in order to study the situation and to establish contacts with the teachers, librarians, journalists and young people. We brought the postcards with the peacemaking pictures made by our organization as well the postcards written by the schoolchildren of the school 120 of St. Petersburg and addressed to the schoolchildren of Chechnya. We handed them in to the schoolchildren from the school N 1 of Grozny and the children from the Art school of the city of Gudermes.
During the project we have organized 2 training sessions (in St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don –the city near the border with Chechnya) for the teachers, journalists, librarians and NGOs activists working with children from Chechnya and Russia)on non-violent methods of conflict resolution and the skills of building up bridges between us. The trainings were conducted by Pat Patfoort, the trainer from Belgium. These trainings showed us that even being friends and having very good relations the participants from Chechnya and St. Petersburg had some stereotypes and prejudices towards each other. There were themes concerning the war in Chechnya which were very difficult to discuss. Bu the end of the trainings we have had real peace negotiations. All the participants expressed the idea that we, the simple citizens would be able to establish peace not our politician.
The most successful part of the project was dedicated to the process of reconciliation of the Chechen and Russian citizens.
“Your Rights and Peace are in Your Hands” (Financed by the Catalan Government)
Within this project together with our partners “Dones x Dones”(“Women For Women) we have organized and conducted 3 trainings on non-violent methods of conflict resolution for the Russian and Chechen teachers, and NGO activists: in October, November (conducted by our very qualified partners from) and in January of 2006.
Besides in March of 2006 we again travelled to Grozny and conducted the training there on conflict resolution for the teachers, librarians working with the schoolchildren and the students. It was extremely important because: The training lasted 3 days for 2 hours in which 16 persons have taken place.
We organized the contest “The War in My Life” dedicated to the war in Chechnya.
The competition was a success. All in all we have received 183 compositions from the Russian and Chechen students of the secondary schools and 20 paintings from Chechnya and 1 from Russia.
Five members of the jury of the competition have chosen 6 best compositions (3 of Russian schoolchildren and 3 of Chechen schoolchildren) and 1 painting of the Chechen student.
We invited the laureates of the competitions and those adult people who had helped them to write their works to St. Petersburg.
This final meeting has taken place on May, 1, 2006 in St. Petersburg. The idea of the meeting was to bring the Russian and Chechen students together and to help them to establish the dialogue. The problem is that the only Russians whom the Chechen children had seen during the years of the war had been Russian soldiers.
And the most of the Russian children have never seen the Chechens but have had their image of them as the enemies formed under the pressure of the official propaganda. Some of them have heard the stories about the “wild” Chechens from their friends who had fought in Chechnya as the soldiers.
Within the framework of our peacemaking activities we have organized 2 exhibitions of photos of the Chechen photographer Musa Sadulaev dedicated to Chechnya and drawings of the Chechen children and young people.
Within the framework of peacemaking programs, the activities of “The House of Peace and Nonviolence” are aimed at helping school children and teachers to overcome racist and nationalistic stereotypes and towards teach them methods of nonviolent conflict resolution. The project “Peace Day” in the municipal district “Grazhdanka. The project was made together with the municipal deputies, St. Petersburg Pedagogical University. The project couldn’t be possible without the active work of Anne-Lise Dalou, volunteer of our organization from France.
Within the framework of this project we carry out trainings on human rights and tolerance for the secondary school students. We help representatives of national Diasporas in insisting on their rights (writing announcements to government organs/offices in contact with other social organizations)
Within the framework of this program we have carried out the following projects:
“How you may protect your right in the case of the contact with the police” (The project was sponsored by the non-governmental Fund “Verdict”, Russia)
This project was aimed at the students of the secondary school, their teachers and parents. Within the framework of the project we have conducted 10 trainings for the students of 2 schools. Through their personal experience schoolchildren had the opportunity to learn about their legal rights and tools how to protect them with methods of non-violence, especially their rights in the case of their contact with the police and the militaries in the military commissariats.
“Your role as a citizen», 2003, “Your role as a citizen 2” (financed by The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belgium)
During these projects we have conducted 60 trainings on human rights and tolerance for 600 students of the secondary schools. The project on tolerance together with the deputies of the municipal council, municipal district “Grazhdanka”. Within the framework of the project we organized the contest for the students of secondary schools “My family in St. Petersburg”. The aim of the contest was to attract the attention of schoolchildren to the histories of their families, to see that we all living in St. Petersburg had different origins. We wanted schoolchildren to overcome their xenophobia toward migrants.
New peacemaking program “Women in Black” together with women from Chechnya who participate in this program of reconciliation and solidarity.
To develop the work in the Center of Tolerance, the main program of “The House of Peace and Non-Violence”