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Tuesday 30 May

Главная News Summer school in Kondopoga (Karelia) from 26th-29th July 2009
Summer school in Kondopoga (Karelia) from 26th-29th July 2009

On the shore of the picturesque lake Sandal, half an hour drive from the Karelian city Kondopoga, there has passed from 26th to 29th of June 2009 a summer youth school on tolerance. Forty persons were participating at the work of the school, basically pupils from senior classes in Kondopog and other cities in Karelia. The Centre for Interethnic Cooperation and the Youth-culture centre from Kondopog organised the summer school. The Youth-culture centre spent much work with the selection of young people who have leadership qualities and who understand well what tolerance means.

Right at the beginning we decided to leave hard discipline and to help the children not only to work good, but also to have a rest. Therefore, we made behaviour rules together with the children, which were not broken then. Our camp took place on a small peninsula surrounded by wood on three sides. There was nobody but us. The main part of the participants lived in tents. Well, one night heavy rain came down, so that two big, but old tents were leaking, so that the children were immediately evacuated in the bathroom. But on the next day, two new tents were brought to us and the problem was solved. We were fed well. Three times a day, a car from Korndopog brought hot meals. And the weather was also well-disposed to us. The last two days it was as hot as it does not happen often in Karelia. That was why we swam in the lake with great pleasure, played volleyball and football, and in the evenings we gathered together and sang songs to the guitar. Experts from Petrosavodsk and Kondopog came constantly to us and gave us lectures about the history of Karelia, we learned how to solve conflicts, and had many cheerful interactive games. We, from the Centre for Interethnic Cooperation, were not idle either. We put complicated questions to the participants, for example, we asked in small group what Kondopog will think in the year 2020. As the presentations showed, everything will be excellent in Kondopog in 2020.

At the end of the camp, we asked the participants to tell us what they liked and what they did not like in the camp. They like everything. But we knew that already. That was visible in their faces. It was our third action in Kondopog this year. And we were convinced that round the Youth-cultural centre a group of young and very active volunteers who did not only participate but also help with the organisation and realisation of our actions was formed. And so it is possible to realise serious projects in Kondopog. If…

At the end of the last year, the Centre for Interethnic Cooperation addressed the Ministry for Regional Development with the request of financial support for the Karelian summer youth camp. We planned to invite young people from 20 regions in Russia to this camp. At the beginning of this year, when it was clear that we would not receive the grant from the Ministry, we asked to give us at least a letter of support in the year of the youth. They did not give it to us. The Karelian authorities could not support the Youth-culture centre for the organisation of the summer camp either. Everything referred to crisis.

It is interesting that the leaders of the section for tolerance in Seliger assured us that the Ministry for Regional Development would finance the best projects that were presented in a forum. In the same way the crisis did not impede the Karelian authorities to plan the realisation of “Seliger” for 2000 people.

Here it is appropriate to remember the remarkable words of the director or the House of nationalities in St. Petersburg (and simultaneously the curator of the program of tolerance in the northern capital). When we (representatives of national and international organisations from twelve regions in Russia) arrived there on a visit in February she said: “If you were participants of our program of tolerance, we would meet you in a different way”. Funny that even the chief of the migration department in Astrakhan welcomed us more friendly.

In the summer camp we teached the young people that tolerance is respect for other people which does not depend on nationality, religion, social status or sex. It was certainly necessary to add that it is also independent of if there is a program of tolerance in your city or not. But to convince them definitely, we first of all had to teach them what tolerance of officials means, and that many of them confuse this with love for higher supervisors.


The team of the Center for Interethnic Cooperation