“Volunteers Centre Skopje” is a non-governmental youth organization created in 2005 by former EVS volunteers. The main goal of the organization is to give non-formal educational possibilities to the young people, in different fields, in local and international level; to promote the idea of volunteerism and to connect young people without reference to their nationality, religion, political, economical or social status. We are putting effort to develop a multicultural civil society, to reinforce the existing democratic structure, to enhance the affirmation of young people through their individual abilities and skills, and to connect the young people with the purpose of their closer cooperation.
What We Do
Project “Local Youth Strategies”
Volunteers Centre Skopje, as a member of the Coalition of Youth organizations SEGA, was appointed as coordinator of the development and implementation of the youth strategy in the municipality of Kisela Voda, Skopje. In the period of 10 months, the working group and the coordinative body, trough organizing various focus groups, public questionnaires and debates, managed to produce a draft version of the Youth strategy for the municipality of Kisela Voda, in duration of 5 years and Action Plan for Implementation for the Year 2011. The draft version was approved on the final public debate in November 2010 and the proposal was set to be voted from the Municipality Council. On 31. 5. 2011, the Council of the municipality of Kisela Voda, with majority votes for and no votes against, has accepted the Local Youth Strategy for 2011-2015 and the Action Plan for implementation for 2011.
Currently as member of the Coalition of Youth organization SEGA we are part of the project “Alternative report for the respect of the children’s rights in Macedonia”. Our role is to collect information from the local municipality, state and local government and institutions; NGO’S, for the protection of the children’s rights in Macedonia. The collected data will be put in to one Alternative report for the respect of the children’s rights in Macedonia, which will be presented in front of the State commission for protection of children’s rights, the Government and other national and international institutions and bodies. The project has been financed by the “Pestaloci” foundation and it is implemented under the framework and in coordination with the office of UNICEF in Skopje.
Project: “Promotion of the intercultural dialogue between the young people in Macedonia”
Volunteers Centre Skopje had the role of regional implementer of the project activities in Kumanovo and Skopje, where 7 educators provided 28 workshops in the period of 6 weeks (September/October) in 3 high-schools (5 educators from Skopje, 2 from Kumanovo). The educators were between 16 and 18 years old, pupils of the same high-schools where the workshops were held. On the workshops approximately took part 15 to 25 participants, and every workshop lasted for 40 minutes.
In November was celebrated the International Tolerance Day by planting trees in the schoolyard of Orce Nikolov High School and a small basketball tournament in the sports hall "Independent Macedonia" in cooperation with the Municipality of Kisela Voda, where 8 teams took part composed of students aged 16 to 18 years, the winning team was awarded a plaque and certificate for each team member. As a final activity organized by the regional coordinator was the promotion of a collection of prose and poetry titled "Me and my friend", with competition previously published for writing literary works whereas have been selected the 3 best works from each city. At the final event the educators and the authors of the literary works were awarded with certificates and copies of the book.
Project “Bridging Divided Communities by Youth Work”
SOS village and Daily Centers for Children from the Street
Besides two above mentioned activities we have also established long term cooperation with SOS village Skopje and with Daily Centers for Children from the Street in Skopje. The main aim of this cooperation is to provide our local and international volunteers opportunity to take part in the activities of these institutions and experience voluntary work as to bring new experiences to children and youth there. Example of implementing activities: one of our long term EVS volunteers Andrzej Bukowski from Poland organized in SOS village workshop that provided children an opportunity to learn more about camera obscura. Other volunteer Elise Namir from France working in Daily Center for children from the Street in Shutka learnt children African dance.
Youth in Action Programme
We are also accredited EVS hosting organization (2012-SI-30), inviting foreign and local volunteers to collaborate in the creation of free magazine for young people of Skopje, called "VOICES" which is published in three languages Macedonian, Albanian and English. Until now we hosted more than 50 long term EVS volunteers. We also organized already 3 short term EVS projects connected with cultural events. In 2009 group of short EVS volunteers coming from France, Belgium, Italy and Hungary took part in XIV Edition of the Biennial of Young Artists from Europe and the Mediterranean. In year 2010 and 2011 we hosted groups of short term volunteers that took part in theatre festival Faces Without Masks organized in Skopje.
In addition we are accredited EVS sending and coordinating (2012-SI-30) organization, helping young people from Macedonia to become volunteers in non-governmental, non-profit and public organizations in EU countries, EFTA countries and Turkey. Until now we sent more than 50 youngsters which had an opportunity to experience EVS in different countries all around Europe.
Our members can participate in various local and international projects: seminars and trainings, study visits, youth exchanges organized under Youth in Action Programme. Each year we are for example organizing youth exchange connected with Vevcani Carnival one of the oldest Macedonian cultural traditions as training courses gathering youth workers and leaders all around Europe. In April 2011 we organized training course Adventureship that provide more than 21 participants coming from 21 countries (Sweden, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Turkey, Albania, Greece, Spain, Portugal …) an opportunity to take part in activities based on concept of adventure education. In June 2012 we organized first partnership building activity 'PBA: Better Cooperation - Better Europe' that provided participants coming from 16 countries an opportunity to established good working partnership and develop ideas for new projects providing new opportunities for young people with fewer opportunities facing social exclusion and stigmatization. Moreover, in 2012 we also organized youth exchange 'Say YES to Rural Development' tackling the issues of eco-tourism and training course 'Bridging Divided Communities' which was inspired by our local project 'Bridging Divided Communities by Youth Work'. In October Volunteers Centre Skopje become a member of the European Youth4Media Network e.V. which is an European association of 40 organizations from 27 countries working in the field of community media and civil society.
We are always glad to establish new partnerships and to plan, coordinate and realize youth projects within the framework of “Youth in Action Programme”. You are welcome to contact us if you would like to be involved in the activities we organize or to start new projects and actions together with us. At the moment we have around 30 members: students from Macedonia and EVS volunteers from different countries, who would be glad to collaborate with you in order to make the life of our community better.