21 July, 2023

Young people are the change

Searching for a better future with “Volunteering for Peace”

Article by SCI Poland

At a time when society is considered to be more open, treating each other as equals and caring for each other’s rights more than ever before, the state of peace still cannot be considered something certain and natural. Wars can be fought close to any of us, and their effects can be seen not only in the countries of conflict. Basic human rights continue to be violated, and minorities of all kinds are still struggling for acceptance and equal treatment. Values, needed to live in peace, are fragile and constantly exposed to disrespect.

A generation of young people is aware of all these problems and fears for its future, which is painted in black and white tones. The increase in the number of people suffering from depression, climate catastrophe, overpopulation, economic crisis, or the culture of violence and war conflicts are the tip of the iceberg that society is facing.

Unfortunately, the Polish education system lacks the space to address these topics and does not provide time to take action together. Many students are unaware of organizations and initiatives that can help them fight for a better tomorrow. That’s why, as an NGO, we feel the need and responsibility to spread awareness among young people.

The “Volunteering for Peace” project aims to spread knowledge and create skills related to acting for peace among elementary and secondary school students and their teachers. As a result, young people will increase their awareness of peace matters in their daily lives. We want to give them knowledge related to inner peace, peace with others, and peace with nature.

This knowledge will be provided to them through educational materials prepared by our team, but the key activity here will be to create an educational chain among young people. In two-weekend training sessions in September, we will train a group of volunteers in peace knowledge and how to conduct workshops, and they will have the opportunity to put their newly acquired skills into practice later by conducting workshops on peace activities in the Greater Poland schools. This will make it possible not just to provide one-time contributions, but long-term activities and create a group of peace activists and educators who can expand their group independently.

In our activities, however, we will not be limited to the voivodeship in which we are based. During Global Education Week, we will launch a nationwide Challenge for schools, during which any institution or individual teacher interested in the subject will be able to use our educational materials and ideas for possible activities on the topic of volunteering for peace.

Only through continuous education and the spread of knowledge, there is a possibility to move closer to the chance of solving the world’s problems. Young people are the change. Let’s give them the space to act.

The European Union co-founds the project through the Citizens, Equality, Rights, and Values Programme. We are grateful to SCI International for making our idea possible within the international “Partnership on Peace” project.

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