In December 2007 in conjunction with the human rights organization Memorial (Moscow) German-Russian Exchange initiated a project aimed at creation of a center for education in the Prigorodny district of North Ossetia, where once there was a civil war.
For more than 7 years of existence the Kurtat’ education center unites the two sides of the conflict – the groups of ethnic Ingush and Ossetians - in the process of cooperative learning, and thus contributes to the inter-ethnic understanding between these people and creates real economic prospective for the future in this very poor region of Russia. In addition, the center arranges peace-building activities in the local schools, as well as lobbies the relevant initiatives in the state facilities.
The hostility between the two nations sparked in 1934 after the change of borders during the Stalin’s rule. In 1992, this hostility turned into a civil war, which resulted in the Ingush population exiled for almost 15 years.
After the restoration of the building for the Education Center in 2008, first professional entrepreneurship courses were held – jointly for the representative of both nations.
Since then, the list of workshops offered has been continuously expanding. Now, besides the computer, accounting, language (English) courses, legal and financial council and workshops on tolerance and conflict resolution for teachers of both nations, the Center’s programme includes a variety of leisure and educational activities for students from Ingush and Ossetian schools (video projects, summer camps, lectures, joint holidays, etc.).
At present, the project participants established 120 small businesses and created more than 250 jobs, while the Center’s courses were attended by about 600 participants. More than that, since the foundation of the center hundreds of legal consultancies took place, as well as dozens of activities on professional, social and intercultural development in the republic of North Ossetia. Among other achievements there are regular job-orientation workshops at schools, as well as many new acquaintances and connections established between the Ossetian and Ingush students and teachers that have arisen due to various programs of the Center.
In the next phase of the project that started in 2013, the Kurtat Center developed a range of new entrepreneurial courses that would secure the financial autonomy of the Center. Such courses were meant to allow people in the future to get their own sources of income. Since June 2014 the NGO "Svoe delo" has taken the coordination of work in Russia over the Memorial. "Svoe delo" was founded in September 2011 as part of the project and now of Julia Hardin (Moscow) presides in it. She wants to continue the development of the education centers as a model for other regions of Russia.
In November 2014 a similar center in Ingushetia, the republic of Russia bordering the Prigorodny district of North Ossetia became operational. A similar set of entrepreneurial courses are arranged in Ordzhonikidzevskya village, in addition, there are regular meetings "Warm House" where women discuss their proximate issues in the Ingush society. Those arise due to the presence of archaic family structures, due to the unstable social situation in the country and also because of the still existing radicalization of young people who fall under the influence of outlaw groups.
Ingushetia, according to the state data, is the region with the lowest per capita income in Russia; the unemployment rate there is 50%. The situation is tangled because of the conflict with Chechnya and its leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who announced territorial claims on Sunshensky district in Ingushetia, where the Center is located.
The project was extended to March 2016 through funding from the organization "Bread for the World." Non-governmental organization "Svoe delo" has opened another Educational Center in Udmurtia, which is also being supported by the DRA.
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The Kurtat Center (North Ossetiya) was funded by the following organizations:
The Center in Ordzhonikidze (Ingushetia) is funded by: