BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA/NORTH MACEDONIA/ SERBIA – Within the second RYCO Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, the School With Boarding For Children with Hearing And Speech Disabilities “11. Maj” from Jagodina, Serbia in partnership with Pozoriste Mladih Tuzle from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eureka Studio from North Macedonia and Centar za Kreativno Odrastanje i Multikulturalnu Saradnju (CEKOM) from Serbia, implemented the project “You need to know me to understand me”.
The project took place from December 2019 to October 2020 and focused on connecting and empowering young people with disabilities to exchange ideas and experiences through theater plays. It enhanced understanding and acceptance of diversity among the young participants and helped them engage in creative activities.
Furthermore, the project helped to also connect schools and organizations in the region that work with youth and equipped teachers and trainers with new perspectives. The need to help all youth in the society to better integrate and be engaged in their communities was also addressed.
“Working on the project gave us skills to face challenges that we cannot influence but that together we can find ways to redefine our activities and keep our goal the same. We have learned that young people can be different in many ways, in their creative abilities, ways of thinking and perceptions of the world around them. There is a joy when young people can do the same activities together, that brings everyone to work and learn from each other and about each other,” Project Coordinator Ms Dragana Popović emphasized.
The project revolved around several activities on intercultural learning and dialogue and raised awareness of the need to strengthen diverse youth groups’ involvement in all fields for positive social change and development.
“I enjoyed the project, it was fun, we were all happy and had a good time,” Ms Kristina Miladinović, project participant, stated.
Speaking about the experience with the theater plays, Ms Milka Milosavljević, another project participant, added: “I had a good time during the project. We learned a lot of new things about theater and recording a movie.”
Through the theater plays youth developed their teamwork skills and gained a better understanding of the importance of arts and culture for youth development and cooperation in the region. Last, but not least, they also made new friends and connected with one another across borders.
“Although we did not meet each other face to face, I am as a coordinator so proud with the fact that we can say with certainty that after the project implementation, we have close friends in Tuzla, Skopje and Zrenjanin, friends we can rely on and from whom we can learn a lot,” Ms Popović concluded.