How it started…
In 2007, several South Tyroleans were in a solidarity mission in Mexico when the coincidentally met a Group of volunteers from Operation Dagsværk visiting their current project. They talked and shared their ideas about critical development cooperation and how to involve youngster in solidarity movements and activism. The South Tyroleans were fascinated by the Solidarity Action Day concept, so when they returned to Italy they immediately got a group of committed young people together to found an Italian Operation Daywork. Soon it became clear that there was potential for a similar organisation in Northern Italy. Until now Operation Daywork has stayed local. Since the beginning we involve around 24 schools and 400-600 students a year.
OD Italy wants to promote civil activism through our awareness campaign and the Solidarity Action Day. Our targets are especially secondary school students, who choose the yearly OD Human Rights Award winner. By sharing context-related topics with students, teachers, authorities and the general public we try to raise awareness and to motivate students to stand up and raise their voices for a fair and sustainable world, participating in the Solidarity Action Day and campaigning for human rights.
Our Solidarity Action Day
The Solidarity Action Day is the central event of our organisation. Every year about 400-600 pupils participate in the Solidarity Action Day. The money of the Solidarity Action Day goes to the Human Awards Winner of that year. The participation depends a lot on the topic of the year and on related politics (e.g. we had difficulties during the awareness raising campaign for our project in Palestine). Operation Daywork was founded as, and still is an organization with a critical engagement in development politics. This criticism can be seen as the strength of the organization. On the other hand, we don’t grow as fast as the other SAME organizations in Europe. For our youngsters though, the political correctness, fairness and critical engagement, values seen as quality guidelines, are more important than the number of participants or the income from the Solidarity Action Day.
Yearly, highschool students from the region have the right to elect the Human Rights Award Winner at our general assembly. Through the Award, we recognise and honour the brave commitment of a person, organisation, movement etc. who fights, often under difficult and dangerous conditions, for a dignified social development. The Award calls attention to different problem areas the winner is facing and gives human rights defenders international attention. The Human Rights Award winner can be located in the entire world.
Operation Daywork’s best practice
Our educational material is trilingual and consists of a journal of articles in German, Italian, and English and pictorial material. South Tyrol have 3 official languages that`s why it is so important that all who want to can understand our topics.