Celebrating 35 years in SCI Catalonia

Posted by projects on Dec 21

Our branch in Catalonia tells us all about their 35th anniversairy! 

In 2017 23, as SCI Catalonia, are celebrating the 35th anniversary of our branch! We have used the occasion to read deeper into SCI Catalunya’s history and we have done it through the stories and memories of our volunteers and activists, as they are essence and the core of SCI. Looking back has inspired us and given us renewed energy, tools and ideas to keep writing our history, facing the challenges that being a volunteer organization means today as well as shaping our future together in the way we want it to be.

 

We have collected some articles from SCI Catalunya’s historical volunteer’ that capture different places, actions, emotions and reflections. For instance, Gianni Orsini takes us back to Elna, a place that for him (and for many other SCI volunteers) a way to get back to the beginning of their connections with SCI. Josep Miquel Alegret explained to us the origin of the catalan branch of SCI, originally called SIPAJ (Information and Promotion Service for Youth Activities) and how has it changed to reach the current SCI Catalunya’s name and reality.  Bernadette Hortal remembers one of the most meaningful campaigns promoted by SCI Catalonia, in solidarity with Namíbia, that took place in 1988. Belen Gopégui shares with us some thoughts about her experience in SCI workcamps, that remain still meaningful and strongly connected to SCI current work:

 

“I think that any group that has run a SCI workcamp could be hired to run a country and a half, several multinationals and a lunar colony. Because if they succeeded in making thirty unknown human beings understand each other in different languages, having something concrete to do for fifteen days, feeding themselves (...) creating some of the friendships that continue today to underpin our lives (...) then, what small easy detail would be for us and ourselves to take over the world government?”

 

If you want to learn more about our the SCI 35th anniversary articles, you can read the stories here https://blogs.sci-cat.org/35e-aniversari

 

Another initiative that helped us getting into SCI Catalonia history through their protagonists is this small collection of videos, where many SCI Catalonia volunteers and activists answer short questions about their relation with SCI, their most remarkable experience and the changes that SCI made in their lives.

 

https://www.sci-cat.org/videos


 

Hosting the SCI International 2017 General Assembly was another way to celebrate and share with the whole movement our anniversary. It was a very intense week in Llinars del Vallés, and you can read all about it here, that finished with a great party organized by our local volunteers.

 

http://www.sci.ngo/entry/2017/12/14/482-international-committee-meeting-2017

 

FOTOS Attached and here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/143008718@N02/albums/72157691215384715


 

And finally, on Saturday December 16th, we celebrated a party! The event took place in Barcelona and gathered different generations of SCI volunteers, activists and friends, locals and internationals, sharing old memories and current stories lived in different parts of the globe.

 

We started the afternoon with a round table, with Cecile Barbeito - from the School of Peace Culture -, Anna Cervera, from La Recol·lectiva-, Marta Palau from the SCI Board and Anna Palou, journalist in La Jornada, reflecting on the role of international volunteering as a tool for social transformation. Some key topics were highlighted, such as importance of international volunteering as a door to other realities, the solidarity with international struggles, the intercultural processes that happen in workcamps that break stereotypes and prejudices towards others. We did look back, but also to the future and we reflect on the current challenges for and work to do, they indicated the need to train the feminist and decolonial look when it came to going to southern countries, and incorporating trainers from the countries where we go to the preparation sessions. Care work within the projects and political advocacy were also pointed out as the lines to work on in order to be able to contribute to social transformation.

 

After the round table, Gianni Orsini, a historical (but also current) volunteer, guided us through the historical exhibition of the SCI that reviews the role of international volunteering, and specifically of the Movement of the International Civil Service during the twentieth century.

 

We had dinner together, given by Barrinar towards sustainability, we blowed the candles of a big cake and finish the evening with the final concert of "La Bulla", a Colombian group of Cumbia composed by a former volunteer of the SCI, Diana de La Torre .

 

FOTOS here

https://www.flickr.com/photos/143008718@N02/albums/72157691173011395/with/38253756405/

 

As you can see, we have found inspiration to keep writing our history for the 35 next years… and beyond! Also looking back to 1920, when the SCI International was born, we found some many connections with our local and current work in SCI Catalonia. Many of the first international volunteers were conscientious objectors. Those that volunteer today, we continue to be objectors in some way. We refuse to be mere consumers of our time, we do not want to have a passive role in the reality that surrounds us, and we resist being complicit in an unjust and unequal system. There is always something we want to change. Or we want to change everything, and volunteering is how we start.

 

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