A group of about 60 students from Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Japan, Italy and Switzerland, all taking part in a Green Cross summer camp programme, visited Geneva on 26 July.
The youths took part in a tour of the United Nations, met with representatives of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) at their headquarters to provide an account of what it is like to live under radioactive contamination and to hear about the experience and activities of the IFRC in this area. The students then put on a performance of a play they have prepared in Geneva’s Parc Eugène-Rigot.
The play, which is an adaptation of The Jungle Book in which Mowgli and his friends must contend with the effects of a nuclear disaster near their forest, is one of the projects the youths are working on as part of the camp. They are also putting together a documentary film on their time in Switzerland, and exchanging with each other about their experiences at home.
“It was a big challenge putting together this play with kids who speak different languages, but a rewarding one,” said Director Eugeniu Matkovschi, from the National Theatre of Moldova. “We are very proud of the result, and I’m very proud of these students.”
The students from Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova live in areas affected by the Chernobyl disaster, those from Japan are from the Fukushima region, and a number of the Italian students are part of a programme to keep poor youths off the street in a disadvantaged district of Palermo. They have all had to adapt their daily habits to the unique challenges they face, such as preparing food in ways that minimise the effects of radioactive contamination, and the chance to compare experiences with young people from other countries encourages them to explore new horizons and “open their minds to the world”.
The group will continue to show their play in different venues around Switzerland over the two weeks ahead.
The camp and visit to Geneva was organised by the Green Cross International SOCMED programme director Maria Vitagliano with the participation of Green Cross organizations in Ukraine, Belarus, Japan, Italy and Switzerland while the various visits and meetings were put together by the Green Cross International headquarters in Geneva.