Pierre Cérésole was a Swiss engineer, known primarily as the founder of the Service Civil International or the International Voluntary Service for Peace in 1920.
Born: August 17, 1879, Lausanne, Switzerland
Died: October 23, 1945, Lausanne, Switzerland
Parents: Paul Cérésole
Organization founded: Service Civil International
THE BEGINNING OF SCI
The roots of Service Civil International lie in a very practical peace project. In 1920 a group of volunteers gathered to reconstruct a war-torn village on the French and German border. The initiative came from a Swiss man called Pierre Ceresole. It was his idea to work together in a spirit of friendship and demonstrate a concrete act of international solidarity. He wanted to show that people of different nationalities can work together instead of being each other’s enemies.
In 1931 Ceresole got acquainted with Gandhi, which invited him to bring SCI to India. In 1934 he traveled to India in order to organize workcamps for a region a_ected by the earthquake in Bihar. This project was repeated in 1935 and 1936. Further development aid projects followed after World War II.
In 1950 SCI was invited by the recent independent India in order to carry out construction of houses for refugees in Faridabad (India). A small group of international volunteers were recruited and many local volunteers join these workcamps. The con_ict between India and Pakistan inspired them to organise workcamps in Pakistan from 1951 onwards. As a consequence several local branches and groups of SCI were founded in Asia.