Everyday Law or “Dura Lex, sed Lex”
Our program is based on the American Street Law program. Street Law is practical, participatory education about law, democracy and human rights. Through its philosophy and programs, Street Law empowers people to transform democratic ideals into citizen action. Street Law's programs do not end at the door of the classroom. Each student gains essential lessons that can be used for life.
Looking at the strings of affairs, bribery, the dominance of the mafia, and the helplessness of an average person, it becomes extremely clear that such activities are crucial in Poland as well as in every country where MTO works. One of our partners in Albania was running a program to invite police into schools so that kids as well as teachers and parents would be less afraid of the police. All of these countries share a similar past. Their citizens do not trust the government nor they believe that they do, in fact, have certain rights. Programs such as Everyday Law enable youth as well as adults to understand that civil society in based on respect for law, which in turn should be created to serve people rather than work against them (which was very common in this region). Our program involves work with ethnically mixed groups, the free exchange of opinions as well as connecting people.
Since 2003, MTO has adapted the content of the program to the reality in post-soviet countries and has trained teachers in Romania, Moldova, Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Albania. Upon return to their countries these teachers implement Everyday Law as an after-school program thereby engaging 50 groups of about 20 students each. In 2006 we brought the idea of raising citizenship awareness through law-related education to Ukraine and in 2009 to Belarus and Russia.
The program was designed to encourage youth, parents and teachers to seek independently answers to the question “How does law function in my neighborhood, city, country?”. By looking for answers to this personal question, fundamental skills are developed by the students themselves. In this way, they create their own innovative methods of education, which makes learning more attractive.
“Dura Lex, Sed Lex” in Belarus, 2009
In July, 22 university students and youth leaders from six Belarusian cities (Minsk, Brest, Grodno, Gomel, Pollock and Vitebsk) came to Nowy Sacz to participate in the “Dura Lex, sed Lex” program. The goal of the project was to prepare them to work with their peers in student organizations to raise awareness about legal matters. During the workshops they prepared lessons plan for activities such as creating a survey to asses the degree to which consumer rights are respected (case study), fighting against corruption and other ideas.
“Dura Lex, Sed Lex” in Ukraine, 2006
The aim of this project was to strengthen democratization, good governance and respect for the rule of law in Ukraine by creating and implementing a specific Street Law program tailored to the needs of local citizens. This project emphasized respect for human rights and creative conflict prevention.
“Dura Lex, Sed Lex” enters Belarus and Russia
A group of 14 students from the Law Department of the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia and Minsk, Belarus spent a week in Nowy Sacz as part of MTO’s “Dura Lex, sed Lex” program. One element of the training focused on efforts of Nowy Sacz police to bring the basics of the law and prevention to middle and high school students. The participants also visited the regional and district courts in Nowy Sacz.
“Dura Lex, Sed Lex” in the Balkans, 2003 – 2004
The project actually began in August 2003. A seminar was held in Nowy Sacz for the six country coordinators in October and for the 23 teachers in November. Members of the School Plus Network form the following towns were involved: Nowy Sacz, Poland; Mamurras and Lac-Kurbin, Albania; Tuzla, Lukavac, Bosnia; Sofia, Plovdiv, Radomir and Chepelare, Bulgaria; Chisinau and Pirlitsa, Moldova; Detva and Hunedoara, Romania; and Subotica, Serbia.