The Covid-19 pandemic is also forcing Vacation from War to change its plans for this year. In the past few weeks it has become clear that we have to go different ways in 2020: both the dialogue seminars for Israelis and Palestinians in Germany and the big seaside peace camp for young people from the countries of the former Yugoslavia cannot take place as planned. Above all, we were guided by our responsibility for the health of our employees and participants when making these decisions. In addition, the development of the situation is currently very uncertain. Due to financial responsibility towards the project and towards our donors who enable our work with their donations, we also did not want to let cancellation deadlines for flights and accommodation pass. The possibility to enter Germany and the conditions connected to it were other open questions. The same applies in the former Yugoslavia: the young people come from different countries and it is unclear which travel regulations will apply in Croatia in summer.

Alternatives in summer 2020

Instead, we decided with our partners to use the impossibilities that the pandemic causes in a constructive way – with new formats and concepts, some of which have already been discussed, but for which either time or additional funding was lacking. We expect to gain experience for future work from this year’s new activities. In addition, we will offer partners in the project regions opportunities for small training workshops. So we can use the crisis as an opportunity in times of Corona.

Specifically, the coordinators of the women’s seminar are currently planning a series of multi-day meetings for the participants of the last seminars in Israel and Palestine from autumn onwards, in which opportunities for joint activism should form a central topic. In this way, the work in the region can be continued. Being an important aspect for strengthening the impact on local societies, expanding our follow-up work has been on our agenda for a long time. The coordinators of the Allgenders seminar have even set out to organize a dialogue seminar with new participants locally.

In the former Yugoslavia, young people from the network YU-Peace are currently involved in neighborhood solidarity initiatives or support  activities by the Red Cross. Our partners will postphoned  activities already planned, i.e. a follow-up camp for alumni and several weekend visits, in the last quarter of the year. An “online camp” is planned for the summer, in which the young people can exchange ideas in virtual space across borders and take part in various political workshops.

Virtual meeting across borders

Many of the youth groups in the cities are already working online. In addition to the fact that they can exchange experiences about the current situation, these meetings are important for the young people in order to continue working on the issues that are important to them –  especially in the current situation. They find it particularly motivating to exchange ideas with like-minded people about something else than Covid-19 and to plan joint actions for the time to come after the pandemic. The older active members of the YU-Peace network are already now in contact across borders.

So this year a lot will be different than usual, but our work continues! Especially now we are thankful for your ideal and financial support!