There are always lessons to be learnt from every CISV programme. We, the Human Rights Campaign Team, contacted different people involved in different ways in CISV to ask for their “lesson from camp”. We have taken these lessons and connected them to Human Rights and The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We share them here, as a way to give you tips or ideas, now that you are back home and preparing yourself for your next programme.
A spirit of brotherhood
One thing I have learned over several seminar camps (but could be applied to any camp) is to “let it go” (like Frozen!). Sometimes you have to let camp flow, even if you think you might know better (!!), or when you are frustrated with people ‘not getting it’.
We all learn in different ways, and the beauty of CISV is sharing these different perspectives.
Tracey, CISV New Zealand, Read article 1 UDHR: Right to Equality
Right to the Freedom of Movement
In 2007, the Lebanese delegation was unable to attend the Village I was taking part in due to a bombing at their international airport that happened just a couple of days before camp. Their names were printed on our T-shirt and every other material. Debriefing for Peace was especially intense that year.
*That was the first time I saw myself comprehending Article 13 and what it actually means*
Fernanda Ferreira, CISV Brazil, Read article 13 UDHR: Right to Free Movement in and out of the Country
Being able to express who we are and learn from different cultures
When I think about my camp experiences I realize how much learning about other cultures has taught me about myself and my own culture. I came back from camps with different eyes to my own reality full of ideas of how things can be done differently. I appreciate this learning being reflected in my daily life in things such as cooking a different meal for my family or promoting interesting debates on the theme of my camp in my school or work. But, how can all of this happen?
By answering this question, I realize these lessons are only possible because we have a free and safe space to show who we are and to learn about others and ourselves. These experiences have opened my eyes to the importance of the right to express your own culture without being judged or discriminated against; of being able to participate in a community where we appreciated and learn from diversity; and to understand that we can be different and have different views on what is universal to all of us, but that the fundamental principles of respect, equality, and dignity are a language we can all speak.
Adriana Rodrigues, CISV Brazil, Read the preamble of the UDHR and article 27: Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Pushing our Boundaries Further
When you grow up attending CISV meetings, participating in minicamps and in programmes, you believe you are working towards providing the highest quality content activities for your participants, to give and gain different attitudes, skills and knowledge, but ultimately that the experience will have an impact on someone. I felt the same way when I was a Step Up leader in Jordan in 2015. Even though it was my first time as a leader, I thought I knew what I could expect from this programme. It was especially during the Local Impact Day (a day where both CISV and a local NGO work together for a specific purpose) that I have realized the relevance of these initiatives and days like these. Surrounded by more than 70 young children (5-12 years old), mostly orphans that had fled from a conflict area in the surrounding countries, we spent a day full of laughter, fun, and understanding of one another without having to speak one single word.
I believe that with understanding, an open mind, the willingness to give to others and to accept each others’ differences, Peace Education is becoming more and more relevant in today’s society. We must keep pushing our boundaries further, to develop our programmes more and to always remind ourselves to keep the local communities at the heart of our actions.
Pipa Raimundo, CISV Portugal, Read articles 1, 2 and 3 of UDHR: Right to Equality, Freedom from Discrimination, Right to Life, Liberty and Personal Security
Right to make mistakes
CISV taught me how to be self aware of myself, my flaws and my strengths. It gave the safe space to grow without feeling judged. CISV really allowed me to be a much stronger person that is not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.
Farah Nassar, CISV Egypt, Read article 22 UDHR: Right to Social Security
Recognize others and being recognized
If the staff or any management is visibly disagreeing, it will change the whole dynamic of the group. Every single person and every group need to function together to reach the goals.
Martin Ingelström, CISV Sweden, Read article 29 UDHR: Community Duties Essential to Free and Full Development
Leisure is a right too
After holding many roles in and around CISV’s programmes, I’ve come to realise that you really need to do your best to spoil each other. The chapter should do the little extra for the staff, giving them the energy to in turn take good care of leaders and JCs. When leaders and JCs are feeling good, it will show not only on the delegates’ behaviour, but in the entire learning process of the programme. With everyone participating in the group, forming a community at camp, we can balance each other’s efforts and make sure everyone gets enough rest and leisure.
Anton Ruus, CISV Sweden, Read articles 24 and 27 UDHR: Right to Rest and Leisure and the Right to Participate in the Cultural Life of Community
Taking lessons home
After coming back home from my first camp I felt like I didn’t really belong there anymore. Home, and my life, weren’t the same anymore. I felt like a foreigner. Nothing looked the same, because I wasn’t the same.
My memories from that CISV camp are very important to me. Memories of what people taught me, all the smiles, how much I learnt. I remember the importance of giving yourself to others in order to reach a common purpose. The greatest lesson I learnt from camp was that life is something amazing, something irreplaceable. It inspired me to make my life about teaching others what CISV taught me. With CISV I found a purpose. I was able to answer to the most difficult question I’ve ever had in life: The “Why?” question. Why camp? Why all this? And then I knew… To show it to the world! To create an impact!
João Rocha e Melo, CISV Portugal, Read article 20 UDHR: Right of Peaceful Assembly and Association
Learning is a lifelong journey
The biggest lesson I’ve learned coming back from a programme, both as a participant as well as an adult in a leadership/responsibility role, has to be that we all have the ability to unlearn. We have our ways, or ethics, and our morals. Yet all of this can be unlearned and relearned to better benefit ourselves, our communities, and one another. Habits may die hard but they’re a battle worth fighting against (if for the better).
Gavin Firkser, CISV Canada, Read article 26 UDHR: Right to Education
Incorporating human rights and CISV into everyday life
The biggest lesson I’ve learnt, from all of my CISV programmes, is that there’s always something for you to do. There’s never a moment when you can say: ‘there’s nothing else I can do!’. You can always engage in planning the programme, help other people with their own responsibilities, improve what you have already done, and so much more. Doris Allen wasn’t afraid to create CISV from scratch, so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and do more than just what’s asked of you.
Teamwork is one of the most important aspects of CISV, so don’t be lazy, don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty, to put yourself out there, and just act. Our motto is learning by doing, so keep doing!
Human rights education is also very much about ‘doing’, about respecting and protecting our rights and those of others. CISV is an environment that allows us to learn about human rights, through human rights and for human rights.
Flor Lança de Morais, CISV Portugal