BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/NORTH MACEDONIA/SERBIA –Within the third RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, supported by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Forestry School Kraljevo from Serbia in partnership with SOZCU Gjorce Petrov Kavadarci from North Macedonia and the Secondary school for the Environment and Wood Design from Bosnia and Herzegovina, implemented the project “Exchange for the Future” which took place from January 2020 to March 2021.
More than 200 young pupils and teachers from three forestry schools from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia participated in the activities organized within the project “Exchange for the Future”.
The project enabled pupils and teachers of these unique schools to not only exchange experiences related to educational and professional aspects of forestry but enabled them to learn about the importance of intercultural dialogue and the important role young people have in the reconciliation processes in the Western Balkans.
“I cannot believe how much young people about their culture and they presented it so nicely, even during our free time from the project activities,” said one of the project representatives.
“The presentations show how beautiful the entire region is,” added one of the project participants.
Due to the situation and restrictions imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not possible to conduct all three exchange visits in person, however, participants took active roles in presenting the specifics of each of their cultures, customs, and natural beauties of their areas.
New friendships were made, many prejudices are broken and the wish to not only learn more about each other’s cultures but to learn more about their own culture was awakened among the young people present in the project activities.
Speaking of their experiences, one of the participants emphasized: “I would have really liked to visit Serbia and experience it in person, but I have learned about many things that I didn’t know up to now.”
“This has enabled us to see how similar we all are but yet different and specific in our own way,” concluded one of the project participants.
“Exchange for the Future” project helped youth acquire new skills that they can apply in their schools and other environments where they are socially and professionally engaged. Furthermore, it improved their knowledge of cultural diversity while they shared unique experiences with their peers from the region.