1981-91: Campaign for Disarmament and against Racism

Today voluntary service is not just a desirable activity but it is an activity that is badly needed. It is needed more than ever before in the field of local and national development it is needed for North-South dialogue, South-South collaboration and regional cooperation. It is not only a subjective discovery but also an objective necessity” Rao Chelikani (CCIVS President 1977-93)

One distinctive contribution of which CCIVS has always been proud is to have initiated and to have served as a forum for East-West workcamps and exchanges. CCIVS regularly organizes or sponsors meetings and seminars for the organizers of short-term voluntary service” Rao Chelikani

Important themes of the 80s were peace and disarmament: the number of East-West encounters and study trips across the “iron curtain” increased. CCIVS continued to play a major role in attempts at rapprochement between young people from east and West and, increasingly, South. Some CCIVS members were actively involved in political movements in western Europe, campaigning for nuclear disarmament, for human rights and against apartheid. In 1985 CCIVS was active in the International Year of Youth. In 1987 CCIVS was awarded the title “Messenger of Peace” by UN Secretary General, Pérez de Cuellar and made a film entitled “Let’s Work for Peace”.

During the 1980s many CCIVS members were active in solidarity campaigns on apartheid. Namibia was still under illegal South African rule. SCI Germany obtained second-hand military vehicles, “Unimogs”, had volunteers paint them white to be sent to the Namibian refugee centres as ambulances. To follow this on an international level, an old bus was bought and fitted out by volunteers as an exhibition about the Namibian independence struggle which had ended with independence in 1990. With a changing complement of volunteers inside, the bus moved in 1991 from Belgium to the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Czechoslovakia (as it was), Poland, the Soviet Union, getting across the border into Finland minutes before it was closed as the Soviet Union collapsed.