ALBANIA/NORTH MACEDONIA/SERBIA – Supported by RYCO and the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund through the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals, Vlora Youth Center from Albania in partnership with the Timok Club from Serbia and NGO Info-centre from North Macedonia, implemented the #ChallengingBorders project, which took place from January to November 2020.
#ChallengingBorders aimed to promote the importance of cultural similarities and differences in the region and to connect youth from Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia. Through intercultural learning and dialogue, project participants were engaged in educational and awareness raising training which continued in an online summer camp and exchange.
“Each day we became more familiar and comfortable and learned a lot about each other,” Mihajlo Matić, young participant from Serbia, said.
The developments of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the project plans and visits to the Western Balkan places but did not hinder the fruitfulness and effectiveness of the online project implementation. The project partners explored new methods of youth empowerment and innovative models of online exchange. The uniqueness of the project lied precisely on the fact that youth from Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia were enabled to connect and exchange online, challenging more than the borders only.
“The #ChallengingBorders project showed that young people can meet, associate, make friends and work together even in a pandemic, and this project is a proof of that,” Ms Biljana Bejkova, Project Manager at NGO Info-center, emphasized.
Through peer to peer education and intercultural learning, participants could learn from each other and experience a different kind of exchange. “Even though we were physically away from each other, we created strong bonds and good friendships,” Xhoni Mehmeti, young participant from Albania, added.
During the final events and activities, they had the opportunity to share their insights and lessons learned from the project. “We are here to close this project but not our collaboration,” Ms Alketa Lamani, Project Manager at Vlora Youth Center, concluded.
To watch the online journey of young people from Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia in the project, click the button below: