OHRID – Supported by RYCO within the fourth Open Call for Project Proposals co-financed by the European Union, the Institute of Romani Culture in Albania – IRCA and the Institute for Research and Policy analysis ROMALITICO from North Macedonia organized a summer camp within the project “Promoting Intercultural Understanding, Reconciliation and Acceptance”.
The summer camp took place from 5 to 9 July, in Ohrid, North Macedonia, and brought together 30 Roma and non-Roma young people. It enabled them to gain deeper knowledge on diversity and acceptance, to design small scale projects on intercultural dialogue, to tackle issues of prejudice and discrimination and to strengthen their cooperation in the field of working with vulnerable and marginalized youth.
Furthermore, the young participants were also provided with the opportunity of getting to know new cultures, people and perspectives.
“This experience of being part of a group means a lot to me. I now have new friends, new perspective, new experience and steps to follow towards the future. I never imagined being connected this way,” young participant Mr Bajram Dzabiroski emphasised.
During the summer camp, the participants exchanged experiences and knowledge on topics of identity, culture and acceptance, and worked together on designing new initiatives and ideas that they will soon implement in their communities.
“Everything is awesome: people I have met, knowledge gained, the network that is expanded, and the diversity. It is the positive energy of the group, tolerance, and open-mindedness that gives you the freedom to be you,” young participant Ms Arilda Dushaj highlighted.
When asked about a personal key takeaway from the summer camp, Ms Dushaj added that: “I didn’t know anything about antigypsyism before and now I am so happy to know more about the Roma culture, history and traditions. When you learn the right information from your peers, you break a lot of stereotypes and prejudices. The Summer Camp was to me very reflective for the future.”
At the end, participants discussed their project ideas that can tackle and address challenges to Roma issues and explored ways of how to concretize their initiatives with the support of the project organizers.
As they have strengthened their knowledge and skills on intercultural dialogue, Roma issues and youth empowerment, the young participants of the Summer Camp are ready to lead positive change with their fresh ideas.