On August 11th the Representative Office of DVV International in the Republic of Belarus celebrates its birthday. This year it could have been our 12th anniversary.
We could have been accepting greetings, but events have turned out differently: we have received a rejection to extend a permit allowing us to operate and thus are forced to start the process of closing the Representative Office of the German Adult Education Association ("Deutscher Volkshochschul-Verband e.V.") in the Republic of Belarus.
For 12 years our efforts have been focused on the development of the sphere of additional education for adults in Belarus. We advocated the right to education for different target groups, we promoted adult education as a public benefit, we popularized the idea of learning cities and communities, we supported adult education centers, we helped to implement mini-projects in towns and villages, we cooperated with organizations from the state and public sector.
Together with our partners, we implemented 15 major projects and supported many small project initiatives. We organized and assisted about 1,000 events with over 30,000 participants. We attracted around four million euros to the country.
We worked with the elderly, the rural population, the convicts and the released, the andragogues and people with disabilities, and many others. We wanted all of them to have the opportunity to receive both vocational and additional, formal and non-formal education.
We shared stories about our partners and our work (you can still read the interviews on our website); we conducted trainings, forums and festivals of non-formal education; we celebrated every registered project and every new course from our partners; we supported each other during the pandemic and explored new formats; we taught new things and learned new things - with our partners and from our participants; we looked forward to every "summer academy" and warmly remembered each of them; we believed - and still do! - that education will save the world.
We published over 50 papers and received hundreds of history essays from pupils and students all over Belarus. With our support, inmates had the opportunity to receive higher education in prisons, and the city of Vitebsk joined the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities.
We had many more plans and ideas.
We hope that this is not a goodbye but a short parting and that we will become even stronger and better during our forced separation. And, of course, education for everyone, worldwide, lifelong.