Belarus: Common Cause

Alla Chako
October 8, 2018  

WFWP Japan Visits Belarus on Charity Mission


From 18 to 27 September, 2018, three representatives of WFWP Japan visited Belarus on a charity mission. One of them has been coming to Belarus for 24 years.

On Wednesday, September 19, in the Republican Center of National Cultures (RCNC) in Minsk City, a Japanese cultural night was organized. More than 145 people visited the event, including members of the Belarusian Women Union (a Public Association that unites more than 183 thousand of women of Belarus). Guests were welcomed by WFWP Japan members. The program of the event included a presentation and quiz about Japan, tea ceremony, traditional Japanese dance and several songs, and the art of calligraphy. Some guests tried on kimonos, while every all guest received lovely origami presents.

Reflections:

"I am surprised by the amount of people you could gather together tonight! You were able to create a truly homey atmosphere. I liked everything a lot. Thank you! We are ready to cooperate with your organization in the future" Gosteva Elena, artistic director of the RCNC.

"It was even more than I expected. Thank you!" said  a local reporter.

On Thursday, September 20, the representatives of WFWP Japan, together with the president of WFWP Russia, Olga Vakulinskaya, and a special guest from Russia, the Head of the Department for Relations with Educational Institutions of the All-Russian Public Organization for Support of Presidential Initiatives in the Sphere of National Health "Common Cause," Lyudmila Zyuzina, were invited to the opening ceremony of the Peace School by the head of Vitebsk region Branch of the Belarusian Peace Fund (BPF). After the ceremony, the scientific and practical conference "Peace Starts with Me and My Family" was held at the local House of Culture, Gorodok town, Vitebsk region.

During this conference, pupils of high-school age from Belarus and Russia were discussing life stories of their grandparents who participated in the Second World War. The title of Ambassador for Peace was given to the Chairman of the Gorodok regional organization BPF and the Head of the Gorodok District Inspectorate for Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Korobach Kseniya.

Mrs. Sumie Shiotani and Olga Vakulinskaya, also gave their presentation on WFWP's activities to the pupils of Belarusian and Russian schools.

On Friday, September 21, the representatives of WFWP Belarus helped in conducting lectures at the Vitebsk State Industrial and Technology College. Ms. Vakulinskaya and Ms. Zyuzina spoke to the three groups of students. on"Love and sexuality in the era of AIDS" and shown some videos about the harm of alcohol and smoking. The atmosphere in each group was very different because of the students' varying personal situations and life experience. Some of them are from wealthy families, while others don't even have parents. Almost all of them, however, were moved by the  presentation.

Reflections:

"Before the lecture I was thinking that maybe it was not good to have sexual relationship before marriage but I was not sure. After the lecture it became completely clear to me that we can have relationship only with a person whom we can absolutely and unconditionally love.

"As for the presentation on smoking I was shocked by the fact that there are more than 400 poisons in the tobacco smoke."

"Before the lecture I didn't think that this issue of having sexual relationship before marriage was so serious but after the lecture I realized that these are not the things that can be taken easy or can be made jokes about. This is very important for our life and we can't make such crucial mistakes.""I was moved by this lecture especially by the point that in spite the fact that you couldn't grow in a loving family you can still do your best to create a happy family yourself."

On the same day, the Sixth Global Women's Peace Network conference "Peace Starts With Me and My Family" was held at the Vitebsk branch of the International Institute of Labor and Social Relations. More than 80 people from different public organizations of Vitebsk city participated in the conference.

The welcoming address was given by the head of the Vitebsk branch of the Belarus Peace Fund, Tatiana Tumanova. Ms. Vakulinskaya gave a short but touching speech. Mrs. Shiotani talked about a mother's heart and the role of women in creating peace all over the world.

The Japanese delegation once again showed their traditional dance and sang several songs in front of the Vitebsk guests.

At the very end of the event, a sisterhood ceremony between Japanese, Belarusian and Russian participants of the conference was held. With tears of happiness in their eyes, the women hugged each other and exchanged gifts.

The representatives of WFWP Belarus would like to express their deepest gratitude to WFWP Japan for their heartful contribution to Belarus and to WFWP Russia for their kind support and caring guidance.