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May 1992 - Issue No. #08

News from Moscow: Dr. Valentine Mitina Appeal

by Kip Cates

Many Network member were able to meet Dr. Valentina Mitina of the Soviet Movement "Educators for Peace" during her fall 1991 Japan lecture tour sponsored by the Global Issues in Language Education Network. In February 1992 Dr. Mitina sent a letter from Moscow outlining the difficult situation facing Soviet people during the Russian winter (spiraling prices, food shortages and malnutrition) and appealed for funds for a special program she set up to help teacher pensioners. Let me quote from her letter:


The situation here is worsening practically from day to day and life for most of the people is getting harder and harder. Our "Educators for Peace" movement faces a lot of difficulties... all activities which demand money (publishing teaching materials, travel in country or abroad) we must cease. Because the situation for teachers is so difficult, I''ve started a new program "Help a Lonely Teacher Pensioner". I'm trying to find money to buy food and bring it to their homes. In December, when we could not buy anything in the shops, I used the Japanese yen left from my Japan lecture tour for this. Now, there is some food in the shops, but pensioners don't have so much money. So I'm trying to find some humanitarian help from different sources in including our foreign partners. I go to many letters from the people I met during my Japan trip and am very glad that they remember me. During my lectures in your country, many Japanese teachers asked how to help us and I left the bank account umber of our Movement for donations. However, we can no longer use this method because (1) the account number has changed and (2) bank official take 60-70% of the money for themselves and change the rest into rubles at a very low rate. If anyone would like to give aid, it is better to send it through such people as Mr. Junpei Takahashi (of the Soviet-Japanese "Face-to-Face" Friendship Association) who will shortly visit Moscow. I am sorry that my letter is so pessimistic, but such is the situation, such is my mood.


Thanks to the generosity of a number of network members, we were able to raise a total of 200,000 (US $1,500) in the three working days before Mr. Takahashi's departure for Moscow! With this money, Dr. Mitina was able to buy food and medicine for many retired teachers and restart various peace education projects in the CIS/USSR. Excerpts from her letter:

Letter of Gratitude

Valentina Mitina


March 4, 1992
The fall of 1991 was of special significance for me. Thanks to the Global Issues in Language Education Network, I had the rare chance to visit Japan to take part in the JALT 1991 conference and to give lectures on peace education to language teachers throughout the country. The audiences I spoke to were extremely friendly and interested, and I was pleased to be able to meet teachers, students and schoolchildren. Being able to stay in Japanese homes and visit historic places such as Kyoto, Hiroshima and Nagasaki was like a dream come true. I would really like to express my deep gratitude to all the people who made my visit a success. Due to the worsening situation in my country, I made up my mind to start a program for Soviet teacher pensioners and was deeply grateful when your Network launched a Japan appeal for funds to help us. Thanks to Mr. Junpei Takahashi, who delivered the money to us in Moscow, ww were able to buy provisions for our pensioners and plan to use the rest for publishing peace education materials, which we have been unable to do since inflation has wiped out all our savings. On behalf of the Soviet Movement "Educators for Peace," then, I would like to express my deep and sincere gratitude to all those who helped with this donation, in particular WIlliam McOmie, Julian Bamford, Keiichi Nakabachi, Marie Turuda, Kathy McDevitt, Hiroshima JALT, Sonia Eagle, Kenji Numoto, Liam Keeley, Dan LaBranche, Rod Pryde, Tome Hinton, Shogo Miura and Kip Cates.


Network members interested in participating in future fund drives for the CIS/USSR and other countries should contact the Network.


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Kip A. Cates, Tottori University, Koyama, Tottori City, JAPAN 680-8551
E-mail: Work Tel/Fax: 0857-31-5650