After the IGM, peacekeepers from the International Reconciliation Movement meet in Bilthoven with the aim of making visible the rejection of war. In this meeting the Swiss man Pierre Céresole proposes to found International Civil Service as a response to the horror of the war: “Acts, and not words!”.
In Esnes (Verdun, France), a group of volunteers work together to reconstruct what the war has wrecked : infrastructure and life in the villages; peace and solidarity between people. SCI is born as an international antimilitarist movement.
From the emergency to the social construction
If during the 20s the movement devotes its efforts to projects focused on the reconstruction of areas devastated by natural disasters, the 30’s are characterized by a strong mobilization in favor of social inclusion, especially with the populations affected by the crisis of 29.
From Europe to Asia
Gandhi meets Pierre Cérésole (founder of the SCI) and three years later, he organizes the first volunteer workcamp in India. A real and horizontal collaboration is being fostered with the aim of overcoming current colonialism.
Spanish civil war
SCI intervenes part for the first time directly in an area of armed conflict by distributing food, clothing and medicines to the population affected by the bombing. When pro-Franco troops enter the Principality, humanitarian action continues in French territory, supporting exiled Republicans so that they can flee from Spain and..Read More
Maternity of Elna
Elisabeth Eidenbenz, swiss volunteer of SCI, found near Perpinyà the Maternity of Elna. It was a refuge that hosted hundreds of women and children who fled from the Spanish civil war, and later, also the World War II. 597 children were born in this Maternity.
The growth of the movement
SCI dedicates its efforts to develop projects in Asian and African countries where new branches begin to emerge. This is a time dedicated especially to the support of refugees from armed conflicts such as the Chinese occupation in Tibet, or the Algerian war. It increases the workcamps organized around the..Read More
During the Cold War, SCI faces another challenge: the dialogue between Eastern Europe and the West after its division. From 1958 to the 90’s, the “East-West workcamp” are organized on both sides of the “iron curtain”, where Eastern and Western volunteers work together.
From the Catalan Workcamps Service to SCI Catalonia
After the Franco dictatorship, SCI reappears in Catalonia. Between 1981 and 1982, the Catalan Workcamps Service (SCCT) was created which, later, became SCI Catalunya.
First workcamp in Catalonia
It is the summer of 1982 that the first SCI workcamp of Catalonia is organized at “la Selva” colony house, in the Serra de Busa. The same year the 10 first volunteers were sent to workcamps around the world.
The fall of the Berlin Wall and the territorial changes in Eastern Europe lead to the creation of new branches of SCI in central and eastern Europe. As a result of globalization, visible issues occurred such as climate change, violence and displacement, among others.
The participation in the workcamps increases
During that season, 341 volunteers from Catalonia, the Valencian Country and the Balearic Islands participated in workcamps around the world. At the international level, an increase in participation was also detected.
Towards the 100 years
With a movement formed by 42 branches and more than 80 partner organizations, SCI faces the celebration of its centenary in 2020. One hundred years that represent thousands of small stories of transformation and peacebuilding.