After a visit to Serbia in 2001, Hetty returned home determined to do something to help the teachers with whom she met. The challenges they faced on a daily basis, after the war made daily school life a struggle. Following discussions with the Serbian Ministry of Education and Group Most, the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) and Peaceful Schools International (PSI) applied for and received funding from the Peacebuilding Unit at the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to implement a school-based peace education project with six schools in Belgrade, Pancevo, Leskovac, Nis, Novi Sad, and Backa Palanka. The project was strongly supported by the Serbian Ministry and NGO Group Most and was officially carried out from September 2002 to December 2003.
Since the official end of the project, PSI has hosted a conference for educators from all parts of Serbia, planned and hosted a “Youth to Youth Conference” in Serbia with the participation of 32 Canadian youth called “Students for Teaching Peace” and held three “Way to Peace” summer camps in Nova Scotia which were attended by groups of Serbian youth.
The teachers who were involved in the original project continue promote peace education in their own school and work with neighboring schools. They have adopted the motto,
“Do what you can, where you are with what you have.”