WHO WE ARE

...Friends of Chechnya, an open group of people of different background, skills and professions, who are interested in life, culture and society in Chechnya and who are trying to develop mutually beneficial contacts between people there and here. In the Czech Republic we are part of the NGO Berkat, and in Chechnya we come from the Semya organisation.

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Our common goal is to gradually make good and complementary use of our knowledge in our efforts to improve the living conditions of people damaged by war. Up-to-date knowledge works on both sides - by being continuously in touch for almost 8 years we have been learning from each other about the way of communication within our different contexts and communities.

We believe that nowadays various worlds are being mingled together due to the universal needs and abilities of individuals and that by working together we can cultivate the important ability to define the environment(s), from which we, as people, come. The life led by people in Chechnya has been significantly complicated by war over the last two decades. Through our activities for Chechnya we hope to improve our mutual understanding and use this knowledge by transforming our friendships to small, precisely defined acts. By doing this we encourage creativity in people who have lost confidence in the future. The first achievement is the existence of a first active local community (providing services to the others) around the Fund Semya in Grozny.

We do not work on a large scale and we do not use large financial sums for our work. On the contrary we try to inspire people in various professions to become involved in our activities through investments, whether it is in the form of money, documentary work, free time or ideas. Thus we also hope to open up space for a realistic reflection on the changes that are going on around us.


Genesis:

1999 - 2001: SOS Chechnya Committee (Petitions campaigns, demonstrations, Memorandum of international non-profit-making organisations to the Council of Europe, Caucasian evenings, etc.)

2001: Founding of the Berkat civic association - Travelling exhibitions, project entitled "Before The War I Had Toys"

2002: Publication of the book "Alluminum Queen" supported by the filanthropist Jim Ottaway from New York

2001 - 2003: project entitled "People in Ruins Aid"

2003: First visit by Marsho (chechen dance group of children from refugee camp Sputnik) to the Czech Republic

2003 - 2005: Iman Women's Centre, Friendly Help for Families in Grozny (both projects in collaboration with People in Need)

2003 - 2004: The first Chechen student Vachit Goytemirov comes to stay in the Czech Republic

2004: Founding of the informal Czech-Chechen Society (Prague)

2005: Founding of the Semja Fund in Grozny

2005 - 2007: Running of a family community centre in Grozny, continuation of the Friendly Help and Friendly Investments programme

2006: Second visit by the Marsho group to the Czech Republic - Dancing Against Terrorism project

2007 - 2008: The second Chechen student Alikhan Pashaev comes to stay in the Czech Republic

2007 - 2008: Preparation of the Czech Days festival in Grozny

2008: Start of the new Doezal Community Centre project in Grozny - Eva Institute, Doezal Bistro

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