Our working group was formed in 2003 thanks to the experience in Palestinian refugee camps. In 2004 we organized Italy’s first peace camp, an experience of multicultural sharing with children from Shu’fat refugee camp and the Municipality of Rozzano (MI). In 2005 the first projects in Palestine and Mozambique took place.
In 2006, we founded Vento di Terra Onlus on the basis of our common experience. The following two years were the basis of an original method we applied on larger projects. The starting area was Palestine with the management of educational services. In Italy, the support network expanded with the membership of ten local authorities of the provinces of Milan and Cremona, of which Rozzano was the leader. An awareness raising process started among the communities involve.
2009 was an important year: Peace Steps and the School of Tyres were born. Two complex and innovative projects in the OPT (Occupied Palestinian Territories). The former enabled us to develop a new model, a cooperative for the production of sandals in the refugee camp of Kalandia. It is a micro-enterprise associated with an educational service, whose products are sold in Italy through fair trade.
The School of Tyres is the first Peace Architecture project. It is a bioclimatic structure, designed by the group ARCò – Architecture and Cooperation – built in the desert of Jericho with second-hand tyres. Due to the context, the project has had a wide media coverage. It houses a hundred Bedouin pupils, previously excluded from the right to education.
In 2010 we extended our activities. After the earthquake in Haiti, we decided to act in support of the refugees with an agricultural and educational project. We activated a training intervention addressed to doctors from Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem, with the collaboration of San Paolo Hospital in Milan. We rehabilitated a second school in the desert of Jericho using straw, mud and bamboo. Nowadays the building houses 120 Bedouin children. And also in Mozambique, where we supported the farming community during past years, we built a new wing of the primary school in Milange (Zambezia). In December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recognized us as a non-governmental organization (NGO).
2011 was the year of the first project in the Gaza Strip for the Emergency Program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is a Children’s Centre for the Bedouin city of Umm Al Nasser: a kindergarten, a family desk and a health education device. The building, designed by ARCò – Architecture and Cooperation –puts in place the self-construction model on a larger scale. We also created a second social enterprise for the Bedouin communities in the West Bank, that enabled us to strengthen the collaboration with the fair trade network: the birth of the women’s cooperative Silver Tent, specialized in traditional Bedouin jewelery.