The Center for the Support of Democratic Youth Initiatives (Youth Memorial)
Volunteer service for elderly and lonely victims of the political repressions
About 50 volunteers work in our organization taking care of 60 elderly victims of the Soviet political repressions. These volunteers tidy up flats, help with shopping. They also provide psychological support just visiting these people and speaking with them.
These workshops are learning seminars for activists of volunteer organizations in Perm region playing games, trainings and practical work. The main topics are psychology of volunteer work, technology of social cervices, psychology of social service recipients, the history of the volunteer movement in Russia, in Western Europe and the USA, studies of other volunteer organizations’ experience, development of volunteer initiatives, fundraising, conflict management, IT in volunteer activities, organization of public campaigns and so on.
Summer camps “Perm-36”
Youth Memorial together with Museum of political repressions “Perm36” organizes international work camps on regular base. Participants of the work camps (25 people each time) help with restoration and repair-and-renewal operations, land improvement on the territory of the formal political prison. An average working day is about 5 hours. Volunteers spend their free time participating in games, competitions, discussions, and meetings with interesting people (including former political prisoners). Volunteers learn about tragic episodes of our history during guided tours at the museum, studying of its exhibitions, video materials etc., meeting with the employees of the Museum and human rights activists. Volunteers learn about the tragic period of the Russian history: prosecution of dissidents, mass violation of human rights under the Soviet rule.
The first camp was organized in 1995 with participation of volunteers from Germany, Austria, Poland, France, and Australia. During 12 years more than 500 people (Russian and foreign volunteers) took part in these camps.
These expeditions (7-8 days rafting trips by kayaks and catamarans) take place in May and July. They include visiting of the former Gulag camps. During these trips volunteers find, study and mark location of the former camps and special settlements of Gulag, burial sites of the killed prisoners. Volunteers also gather “oral history” by speaking to witnesses and former detainees.
Scientifically valuable data then are processed and analyzed by employees of Memorial. Archaeological finds are distributed among local museums and also given over to the Museum of the Political Repressions “Perm 36”.
International volunteer camp “Flat”
Since 2002 Youth Memorial and German volunteer organization Aktion Suehnezeichen Friedensdienste (ASF) organize joint international summer cams in Perm and Perm region. The participants mostly from Russia, Belarus and Germany, but also from other countries of Western Europe repair the flats of elderly people, who were victims of the political repression. In 2005 they repaired 5 flats in Perm, 2006 they repaired 4 flats. Although for the majority of the volunteers had not repaired flats before, the flat-owners were happy with the results.
In 2005 Youth Memorial together with ASF received the first prize of Robert Bosch Fund for the civic initiative in the cooperation between Russian and German organizations.
The Coordination Center for development of youth volunteer movement and international exchange
“Youth Memorial” starts this year the project for establishment of The Coordination Center for development of youth volunteer movement and international exchange. The purpose of this project is to facilitate international contacts between Russian and European nonprofit organizations, to inform young people about them and their projects and also to engage young people in voluntarism. The financial support provides German Fund “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future”
Public campaign “My world without hostility”
This public campaign in Perm is a constituent of a large project called “Counteraction to the language of hostility. New stage (2005-2007)” that began in April of 2005. It is conducted by Youth Memorial in cooperation with the Center “Sova” (owl), the Center “Demos”, the Center of Democracy Development and the Center of Extreme Journalism.
The main action of this campaign is the creation of the “Linen of Piece” or the “Quilt of Tolerance”– a patchwork, which is made by a great number of people. So, the creation of the “Linen of Piece” is a protracted process, during which other activities connected with the campaign are taking place. The main purpose of this campaign is to support and strengthen kindness and tolerance toward people, which have different or even opposite views, traditions or religion practices.
Protection Rights of Soldiers and Conscripts
Since 1997 our Youth Memorial Center conducts a public campaign for the protection of the constitutional right of conscripts for alternative civil service. In the context of this campaign Perm Memorial and the Center for the Support of Democratic Initiatives of the Youth implemented the project “Development of the model for the alternative civil service in the Perm region” from October of 1999 till October of 2000. Since October 2003 the experiment with the alternative civil service model got a new impulse. But at this stage we organized the alternative civil cervices training courses for future conscripts. Such courses never existed in Russia before.
In the context of this project we render legal advice to the conscripts and their parents, provide films about the conscript’s rights. We also have the youth video-club.
HISTORICAL AND EDUCATION DIRECTION
The center organized mobile exhibitions (“The fifth section”, “Children in the totalitarian world”, “With faith against faith”, “Insight. Sacharov.”, “Hostage of the past”), dedicated to the different aspects of political repressions in the USSR. In the course of these exhibitions specially trained graduates of the Perm Pedagogical University provided lessons for about 30 thousand high school pupils in Perm.
Brochures about volunteer movement in the region Perm