Youth Centers – Now and Immediately

With the third and last activity in Skopje (the first two were in Antwerp and Bremen), we completed the project “Neighborhood of youth centers in Europe” within the “Erasmus+” program of the European Commission through the Belgian National Agency.

Thirty youth workers and representatives of municipalities from eight countries and partners in the project last week (May 6-13) at the House of Culture “Biljana Belichanec” in Kisela Voda discussed the need for Youth Centers and the implementation of the Law on Youth. They also agreed on further cooperation to improve the conditions for young people and provide opportunities for their more active participation in public life.

As part of those activities, we organized three major open events that aroused great interest among young people and locals, who were convinced that the House of Culture is reopened and has all the predispositions to become a (youth) Community Center.

On the occasion of “May 9” – Day of Europe and the Day of Victory, Volunteers Centrе Skopje and the Municipality of Kisela Voda organized an art exhibition in digital art and photography: “Youth and community volunteering”. The event was opened by the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Kisela Voda, Ivan Mitrovski, followed by a speech by the Director of the Volunteer Center Skopje, Nikola Stankoski, and the President of the Association of Educators of the City of Skopje, Katerina Mitkovska. The famous artist Zivko Cvetin presented a painting of the Municipality of Kisela Voda, and the song: “White Tender Bird” was read on the occasion of the opening of the House of Culture named after Biljana Belichanec. The event was enhanced by the recreational chess game between Dimitar Ilievski – International Chess Master, and the young promising chess player Dino Tabakovski, followed by other renowned writers, poets, students and educators.

At the same time, there were stands in front of the House of Culture where our guests from Germany, Belgium, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina presented their country, food and culture.

The need for Youth Centers, implementation of the Law on Youth, and better communication between the institutions at the local and state level and the civil sector was the goal of the panel discussion on “Institutional support as a key to youth development” held on Wednesday, May 11. The panelists agreed that the opening of Youth Centers, which is a legal obligation of every municipality – is not only an obligation but also a need for young people and a place where they can channel their energy, but also to hear what opportunities are offered, i.e. to propose their ideas, proposals and initiatives.

The Youth Council, the Youth Officer, and greater allocation of funds from the institutions for youth development are the components that will additionally influence the youth activism and their stronger participation in the social events. The first part of the discussion was attended by important stakeholders in society regarding youth and civic activism, which leaves hope for an immediate improvement of conditions.

In the second part of the discussion, representatives of the eight countries participating in the seminar compared good practices from their communities, the support they receive from local authorities, and these centres’ sustainability. It was a great opportunity for dozens of local youth who attended the event to learn about youth work and volunteering.

Speakers at the panel discussion: Ana Gjuroska – Project Coordinator in the Municipality of Kisela Voda, Nikola Ilievski – Councilor in the Municipality of Kisela Voda, Biljana Paunovska Nikolovska – Head of the Education Sector of the City of Skopje, Monika Zajkova – Member of the Macedonian Parliament, Director Marko Gjorgievski of the National Agency for European Educational Programs and Mobility, Nikola Stankoski – Director of Volunteer Center Skopje, Tomislav Gajtanoski from Coalition SEGA, Dragana Mitrovic from the Union for Youth Work and Luca Citarella from the EU Delegation in Skopje.

We believe that Volunteers Centre Skopje and the Municipality of Kisela Voda were excellent hosts, and we are sure that in the House of Culture, there will be many, many more events, seminars, gatherings…

“Neighborhood of youth centers in Europe” is a project from the “Erasmus+” program of the European Commission through the Belgian National Agency, which is attended by thirty youth workers and representatives of municipalities from eight European countries.

Partners: ART of the BOX, Општина Кисела Вода, Carpe Diem, Don Bosko Centar Podgorica, Environment Engineering Group, NaturKultur e.V., Mladinski center Postojna, Zdravo Da Ste OC, Nvo Prima.

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