START THE CHANGE – What activities were initiated by the students from SS “Pero Nakov” in Kumanovo

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The students from SS “Pero Nakov” in Kumanovo conducted several activities through distance learning and with physical presence in accordance with the protection protocols. As part of the Start the Change project, they showed that when their voice is heard, together they can make a positive difference in the community.

First, they attended an online workshop, participated in discussions and completed a short interactive exercise. They suggested values that are important in the lives of young people and through working in groups shared opinions on environmental protection by raising environmental awareness and increasing the sense of acceptance and respect for the elderly. To this end, they suggested using empty plastic bottles to make decorative baskets for Easter. They made the baskets at home with the support of their parents. They sent them to the “Zafir Saito” nursing home in Kumanovo.

“We made the Easter baskets with a lot of love and pleasure and made an effort to bring joy to the elderly who feel scared, insecure and perhaps even unhappy in these pandemic times, and our message to them was clear: You are not forgotten and the young people are with you. By helping others, we build unbreakable human relationships based on humanity and gratitude, which is one of the values we, the students, want to share with the elderly. Humanity is the key to personal happiness and motivation for a better life”, the students said.

The students also conducted an activity “My Voice” which included a creative workshop for decorating and writing messages on T-shirts in Macedonian and Albanian. This activity gave voice to the students who said that all differences should be accepted and people should respect each other regardless of the language they speak and what they look like. The T-shirts with the messages will be presented on the patron saint’s day of the school.

A glass drawing workshop was organized to demonstrate the development of the students’ artistic capacities and acquired knowledge on various topics, such as diversity, peace and coexistence. Students composed messages and shared them in their drawings. Their work on glass surfaces will decorate the school and remain for future generations.

Humanity has once again come to the fore despite the pandemic. The students were part of a creative workshop where they made templates for protective masks, tailored the material according to the templates and started sewing the masks. They expressed their ideas and messages on the topic “Let’s Protect Ourselves” by decorating the masks, which they gave to the people from the regional center for people with intellectual disabilities “Poraka Nasha” in Kumanovo.

“It does not take a lot to make someone happy, to give them support so that they can continue to battle with the harsh environment. Our messages were filled with the hope that children will have their wishes and dreams fulfilled to be more accepted by society and their parents will have more courage, fighting spirit and strength. We need to start changing ourselves first and become the change we want to see in the world”, the motivated students added.

These activities allow young people to be more present in the decision-making process in the community in which they live and study. They express their opinions and ideas, realizing the goals of the Start the Change project.