In mid-May, 2018, twenty students of the Zivko Brajkovski primary school in the Municipality of Butel completed a final activity that crowned the long-term joint work.
Less than two months ago, these students studying in different languages of instruction met for the first time. In the course of the initial workshop, they were tasked to jointly identify the problems they face on a daily basis, regardless of their ethnic background. Despite it being their first meeting, their commitment to the common goal and their tireless effort united them rather quickly.
It was on the very next meeting that the students started developing portfolios of the identified problems. Each portfolio described a different challenge that young people face. Creative and productive ideas were born, which the young people discussed together.
With an apparent excitement and undisguised enthusiasm, they went a step further, and offered potential solutions. Based on their proposals, they made posters, educational messages and human-shaped figures.
In order to turn the attention of the competent institutions to take action regarding the identified problems, the students decided to publicly present the results of their work.
They exhibited their joint products in a public space before the Butel municipality building. The Mayor and the representatives of the municipality attended the public presentation and closely followed the presentations of the young people.
“Our community does not have playgrounds that are accessible to children with difficulties. Unfortunately, many people are poor and cannot afford the bare necessities such as food and clothes. We have illegal dumps, and on the other hand, what we do not have is enough garbage bins. People drive fast on the streets and threaten the safety of the students and all traffic participants”, the young people said.
Immediately afterwards, the students proposed their common solutions. “We should raise public awareness for children with difficulties and help the elderly. We should organize humanitarian actions to collect food and clothes that we can donate. We must select the waste in our households. Finally, pedestrian crossings and proper traffic signalization must be put up”, added the students.
Having listened to them carefully, the Mayor opened the proposed activities up for a joint discussion. The event also sparked interest among the passers-by, who stopped to see that was happening and support the youth in their efforts to improve their community. Not only did this activity contribute to the improvement of interethnic cohesion, but, at the same time, it also significantly promoted the development of civil and democratic values among students.
Тhis activity is supported by the Youth Ethnic Integration Project, funded by the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
This article is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of MCEC and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.