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  • Writer's pictureCristopher Cruz

International Day Against Atomic Testing - Kazygurt

On Saturday, August 3rd 2019, I sat down with high school students in Kazygurt, Kazakhstan to discuss Nuclear Free Schools and possibilities for collaboration; It was 4 p.m. ALMT and 3 a.m. PST when our Skype call began.

After a brief introduction of myself and the Nuclear Free Schools project, students were quick to jump to questions, each more unique than the last, making the whole hour and a half spent discussing a magnificent time.

Written from the perspective of Sardor Ismanov:

During skype session our students shared about their volunteer works and environmental projects in Kazygurt village. Participants asked some questions based on Semey-Nevada, ways of decreasing of producing nuclear weapons, action plans and etc. Moreover, they knew more about sequences of Nuclear Bomb testings and offered their readiness to help and be part of Nuclearfreeschool. Co-founder Cristopher promised them to organize some online lecture on Nuclear Weapon [sic] and its sequences.

Our collaboration officially launched in the form of a "community awareness"-style event.

Once again, I will let Sardor take it from here:

"In honor of 29th of August International Day against Nuclear weapon test Public Association “Zhalynda zhastar” cooperating with Access program alumni and Y-peer volunteers held an informative workshop for Kazygurt Districts youth.

The aim of the event was to show youth sequences of Nuclear weapon testing and support Nevada Semey International movement which helped to close one of the biggest Nuclear weapon test site in the world Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan and it is 30 years anniversary of the anti nuclear movement.

Because Kazakhstan is a party to all fundamental international treaties in the field of nuclear safety.

The participants were given historical data and some international Treaty which were adopted by UN. After [the brief history lesson] participants were divided into groups of four where they had a task to combine two things and draw: human and Nuclear weapon then describe it.

Moreover, there were discussion about: should countries end investments in nuclear weapons including investments by banks, city, pension fund etc? Many of our students were for it but some of them mentioned that if the countries don’t have Nuclear weapon it will be unsafe. Overall they came up not to invest since [they are meant to destroy and the mere existence is a threat].

During the workshop they talked about shifting these budgets and investments to promoting peace, protecting the climate, ending poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goal.

We are convinced that this workshop will make an important contribution to enhancing the process of banning nuclear tests somehow and supporting UN Sustainable Development Goal."

As an addendum from our part at Nuclear Free Schools, it is important to not only remember and honor the tragedies the befell upon humanity as a result of experimenting, developing, and maintaining these weapons, we strongly encourage everyone and anyone to play it forward by searching for ways to reduce the nuclear threat. The best way to "play it forward" is to increase and maintain nuclear literacy and awareness so that the next generations can keep up the good fight, only then can our efforts not be in vain.


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