The Young for the Green Future


In July, 2016, 6 teenagers from Bragin district (one of the most contaminated areas after the Chernobyl disaster) got an opportunity to have a rest and enrich their knowledge at the International Camp in Switzerland thanks to their skills and work at the Green Cross Belarus.

Over 19 days rich for events, thought over and prepared by the chief managers of the camp, Green Cross Switzerland, the guys were actively communicating with their age mates from Italy, Moldova, Ukraine and Japan, learning about the cultures of these countries as well as the latest ideas and technologies in the field of ecology and environmental safety. In addition, the camp programme had a variety of different events, meetings and excursions.

On the first three days, the guys got acquainted with several entrepreneurs who promoted ideas of sustainable development and respect for the environment in their stores and enterprises, and also visited a “box” of environmental ideas, the Umvelt Arena exhibition complex.

When travelling to Wimmis, where the main base of the camp was located, the teenagers learnt about the process of biogas production in the company “Zurich-Biogas” and visited the mountain farm, where farmers grew beef cows and followed organic agriculture.

Most of the time in Wimmis, a small picturesque place near three mountains, was dedicated to theatre rehearsals, sports, communication and learning about cultures during the national days. For example, on Italian day, the camp participants got acquainted with traditional cuisine – the Italian group prepared parmigiana, and Maria Vitaliano, the SocMed project manager and curator of the camp, played the game, which showed that all people had something in common. Ukrainians group prepared borshch and talked about a vyshyvanka. Moldovans spoke about their country and a folk craftsman who with his own hands made a small wind power plant and many other interesting and environmentally friendly things, and, in the evening, the girls showed their talents and how to dance their folk dances. The Japanese group proposed everyone to put on a kimono and make an origami. Our guys talked about the nature and history of Belarus during their presentation, and, in the evening, they involved everyone to play folk games.

In addition to the presentations, the guys actively participated in classes on renewable energy sources, healthy eating and living, learnt about the traditional Swiss recovery and cold training system - Kneipp.

Besides Zurich and Wimmis, the camp participants visited 7 cities and towns more: Bern, Geneva, Ruttihubelbade, Myunzingene, Thun, Spiez and Zweisimmen. In Bern, the capital of Switzerland, during an excursion on the Parliament building, the camp participants learnt about the history and modern governance system of the confederation, walked through the old town, saw old and new bear hounds. Belarusian teenagers visited in Bern even twice as the managers invited them as the most athletic and responsible participants to deliver bikes to the camp. In Geneva, the participants visited the Palace of Nations, one of the European offices of the United Nations, and the office of the Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. Unfortunately, the children did not have an opportunity to walk around the city because there was the first night of the play “Mowgli. Let’s Protect the Future” which had been prepared two weeks before by the participants of the camp under the guidance of Evgeniy Matkovskiy, an actor of the theatre “Satirikus” (Moldova). By the way, the play was also performed in Myunzingene, Thun and Wimmis, and left strong impressions: it brought tears to the eyes of the audience. Everyone was surprised that children from 5 countries performed the play so well.

The guys themselves were probably impressed by the museum “Sensorium” where they could experiment with their senses, the interactive Umvelt-Arena and, of course, water parks in Spiez and Zweisimmen.

The teenagers left the camp with tears on their eyes as they had to leave their new friends. However, contacts wouldn’t be lost. All the participants of the camp would keep in touch with each other and share acquired knowledge and experiences with their friends and families.

See photos

Thanks to everyone who organized the camp! Thanks to all the participants! Thanks, Wimmis!