The voice of the youth from Gostivar: Together we act for a better life for all

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Towards the end of March, 2018, in collaboration with the Municipality of Gostivar and Youth Educational Forum (YEF), the third youth debate – a part of the cycle of youth debates Youth Talks was held in Gostivar. More than 60 students from different ethnic communities from the primary schools “Goce Delcev”, “Edinstvo Bashkimi Birlik” and “Cajla”, v. Cajle participated in the discussion on the topic “The integrated youth act locally”.

At the beginning of the event, a representative from the Municipality of Gostivar held a speech, encouraging the young people to engage in an open discussion and share creative ideas for improving their community. 

After the introductory remarks from representatives of MCEC and YEF, the students worked in groups on the topics: “Our school”, “Our neighborhood” and “Our city”. Through drawings, they represented their ideas about improving their schools, neighborhoods and city.

Based on the drawings, they jointly discussed how they can contribute towards accomplishing their ideas. At the end, the students presented their proposals, summarized through the presentation below which provides solutions in several areas important for improving the lives of young people.

 

“Relying on the general definition of democracy which entails the rule of the people, we, the youth from all ethnic communities, full of life force and new ideas, should actively participate and act in the creation of conditions for a better life for all citizens in the City of Gostivar and in Macedonia, in general. Pondering upon this topic, I would like to point out some of my ideas and proposals that I hope will be accepted.

When talking about our city specifically, we will discern that there is a lack of some of the crucial items necessary to make our lives better. Let us start with ecology. During the winter season and in this period as well, the pollution of the air, which is indispensable for us to be able to live, was and still is on a high level. I suggest that we, the young people, should work on changing the awareness of people in terms of the utmost need of filters on the factory chimneys, using catalysts in vehicles for cleaning the exhaust fumes, using solar energy for heating the homes instead of wood, throwing the waste in special containers according to the waste type, making sure that the yards of private homes and buildings, as well as all public areas, are clean (this is something that we should all do personally and on a daily basis) and, finally, building a factory for recycling the waste in our city (at the location of the old landfill site near Rusino – a source of numerous infectious diseases).

In terms of the culture in the city, we should really make efforts to improve it. We would achieve that by opening several school clubs in which young people would actively participate and raise their cultural awareness. The Culture and Art Association “Braka Ginoski”, with the help of the municipality, as well as with our help, should grow into a centre comprising several clubs that will stir up a greater interest in us. More plays and performances should be held in the culture house by the numerous professional and amateur theaters in our country. Inter-school multiethnic quiz competitions in knowledge and other skills should be organized.

Sport is especially important for us, young people. In that regard, I propose that multiethnic sports games should be organized in various sports between the schools in our city. It would certainly help us get to know each other better and be friends with everyone, regardless of their ethnicity.

Furthermore, I would like to emphasize the necessity of shelters for stray dogs.

By talking to some grown-ups, I found out that practical work by students in various firms, companies and in the city administration, in the course of a period of two to three weeks of each semester, through which we acquire work habits and skills, used to be very beneficial both for the society and for us, the young people. Therefore, I propose to reinstate internship as a factor that will motivate us and make us interested in certain professions.

In my opinion, these are only some of the spheres of living in our city in which we, young people, can and must be united and integrated in order to act locally.”

This activity was organized in cooperation with the Youth Educational Forum and it is a part of the Youth Ethnic Integration Project financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).