BREfest – Sharr is more than snow…

11th until 13th of August, Brezovica

Welcome to the BREfest – a small-scale, sustainable, educational and creative festivity in Brezovica ski resort (map here) organized for the first time. It is about celebrating and appreciating the richness of Sharr mountain, building connections among people and reconnecting to nature.

The gathering will provide space and inspiration for exchange, discussions, music, challenges and joy. The program includes diverse activities for children, youngsters, elders and families. Gathered around the topics of sustainable living, transitive migration and wilderness:

  • Workshops on Capoeira Angola, cooking vegan, recycleArt, photography, Do It Yourself etc;
  • Guided educational tours about medical herbs, wildlife and reconnection;
  • Theoretical discussions on sustainable living, sustainable communities, nature preservation and human migrations;
  • Space for Exchange for sharing of home made products, skills and stuff you do not need anymore;
  • Presentations of local traditions, from dances and food to crafts and arts;
  • Evening program will be filled in with screenings of documentary movies and nature friendly music program.

GENERAL TIMETABLE

8:00 – 10:00 – Greetings to the mornings – sports & spiritual activities

10:00 – 17:00 – Workshops, guided tours, children activities,

17:00 – 19:00 – Exhibition & discussions

20:00 – 21:30 – Movies about environment & nature

21:30 – 00:00 – Music

MUSIC PROGRAM

Friday evening >>> Jimmy Mustafa band – Young Roma band from Plemetina

Saturday evening >>> Trio Bibera Jazz from Prishtina

Sunday evening >>> World volunteers music session – surprise!

MORE INFORMATION about the daily program here 😀

MORE INFORMATION about accommodation, food & transport here

Volunteers force for BREfest co-funded by ERASMUS+ program


Call for pax: Future myths from the past YE, Trstenik (Serbia) 1st – 10th of September

Future Myths From The Past – Youth Exchange in Trstenik, Serbia

Balkan Myth Busters

1st – 10th of September 2017

This youth exchange will gather 30 young people from Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Germany. After the YE in Kosovo in March, where the participants deconstructed of some of the national myths that influence our present, in Trstenik, we are moving towards the future! The participant will be creating future myths from present stories and will be encouraged to use music, drawing, comics, video, photography and storytelling, so their creations can be spread among our networks and future youth activities.

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During this youth exchange the participants will:

  • Reflect on their personal identities and the outcomes of the previous exchange
  • Go deeper into the role and influence of the myths onto their identities- through culture, art, media
  • Participants will use backcasting as a method
  • Creating future myths from the past (stories, comics, photography, videos)
  • Uploading the created contents to the blog of the project- Mything point https://mythingpoint.wordpress.com/
  • Visiting religious monuments and medieval sites near Trstenik and exploring the tradition of the place
  • Visiting natural and cultural heritage near Trstenik
  • Taking part in adventures organized in the local adrenalin park
  • Enjoy local food, products, customs and tradition

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Continue reading “Call for pax: Future myths from the past YE, Trstenik (Serbia) 1st – 10th of September”

Call for pax: Youth Encyclopedia of (Anti)discrimination!

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Youth Encyclopedia of (Anti)discrimination with focus on discrimination of LBGTI persons and movements which resisted such discriminatory practices.

GAIA is looking for 7 participants who are:

  • aged between 16 and 22
  • interested in addressing the topic of discrimination of LGBTI persons
  • ideally interested and avalable to take part in both Youth Exchanges
  • have solid knowledge of English language, so they can activelly take part in program
  • residents of Kosovo

The project is composed of 2 trilateral youth exchange:

  1. Youth Exchange between 30.07 – 06.08. 2017 in Weimar, Germany
  2. Youth Exchange between 02.09 – 09.09.2017 in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina

More information about the project can be found here: Call for participants_CGE

Application form can be found here: Form

Please send your application before 10th of May 2017 to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

Call for pax: One Step Forward, One Step Back

Volunteers’ Center of Vojvodina is organizing a seminar within the framework of the project PATH: Peace Activism through Lessons from History of Forced Migration, where we will gather 25 youth workers, activists working with youth and volunteers interested in or active in working with refugees. Participants from more than 7 countries will gather for 7 days to learn, share, challenge, create and change.

During this seminar, which will take place from 8th till 14th of May 2017 in Novi Sad, participants will :

● learn and analyze current situation in Europe and the EU, regarding the refugee crisis, legal frame, human rights and core values

● discuss about existing initiatives that support refugees and migrants along the “Balkan route” in local communities, collectives, organizations, institutions etc.

● learn about the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, forced migrations and challenges during and after the wars (status, inclusion mechanisms, discrimination etc.)

● learn about resistance and peace movement during the 90’s (deserters, journalists, musicians, organizations etc.)

● discuss the role of SCI in the past and today (SCI during the wars in ex-Yugoslavia, SAVA WG)

● organize a public event – living library with living books which had to leave their homes even though they did not want that

● create video footage and collect contents for the final exhibition to be presented at the final visibility event in Bulgaria in January 2018 on the topic of lessons from the past with the focus on personal stories and power of remembrance

More information on conditions and practicalities about the seminar is available on this LINK

Application form is HERE and the deadline for filling it in is 5th of April 2017!

Balkan Myth Busters – getting active

The second part of the Youth Exchange started by a trip to Prizren. We followed the evolving and everchanging traces of stories through the old city. Stories of another city, manifested in architecture and people’s memories. We visited the Mosque, Orthodox Church, Catholic church and the fortress, searching for different narratives about the same places, as well as the “League of Prizren”, a museum dedicated to this historical league of united Albanians during ottoman empire.


An inspiration-awakening conversation with Veton Nurkollari, project manager and artistic director of  DokuFest -an anually dokumantary film festival in Prizren, taking place this year for the 15th time- taught us how he and some friends created the festival in order to preserve the only cinema in Prizren. Eventhough they were left with basically no resources, through the years and their voluntary engagement and dedication for the idea, DokuFest grew so big that it is now the biggest cultural event in Kosovo. It was a great inspiration to talk to Veton, hear the story of DokuFest created from scratch and get a slight insight in the mechanisms behind the festival.

Back in Velika Hoca, we got deeper into confronting with our very identity and its relatedness to a collective identity. Be it the nation or ethnicity.  We talked about how far is being part of a group a dictated attribute of an individual and how far it is autonomously chosen. About which mechanisms we do recognize in our own behaviour that are dictated from outside. How we can overcome the totalitarism of single narratives.
Therefor we engaged in the part of storytelling in the last two days of the project, developing a narrative about the Youth Exchange. An apricot tree has been planted by our group, Martenicas -Bulgarian bracelets that announce the beginning of Spring- have been spread on wrists and trees all around the village, we left a plate to thank the village for their welcoming hospitality.

Besides, we had conversations with locals and project participants, collecting their stories from past and the very present. Those stories will be published on Mything Point, the project’s blog.

An introduction in the Easter tradition of decorating eggs by local women. Every year, eggs are being decorated with wax in every family. The first three eggs painted are considered to have special powers and are given as protectors to friends and family. The other eggs are shared,  sold -even reaching Belgrade.

On the evening of the last day our group invited people from the village to Saraj Garden, to tell them about what we’ve been doing during the past 10 days through a collection of photos and a video that has been created by some of the participants. You can find it here and get your own impression about how life in Velika Hoca looked like for us.

After going through 10 on all level intensive days, it was hard to leave the village. Our group brought a different dynamic to the place, and the connections we made with our hosts, cooks and the owners of Kafanas (small pubs) and Sveti Stefan Vinica as well as with the people we met during our interaction with the village, could not just end after those 10 days.

This Youth Exchange was a time of connection, reflection and creation beyond borders.

 

Balkan Myth Busters Youth Exchange in Velika Hoča – it goes on and on and on

After four days of talking and theoretical work we really needed to get our hands dirty. So, the best idea was to do a clean-up action with the locals in the village.

Our action was a success. We collected around twenty bags of trash and not to mention the unique findings – a school bag, a big bottle of turshia, a Ninja Turtle, an infusion bag and lots of shoes.


Genti and Azra got nostalgic about school years and had some fun in the playground of the school. Of course only after the work was done.

In the evening we had a more serious session about political myths and their influence on the construction of collective identities in national communities.
The Youth Exchange reached the end of its first half today. For the second part we will engage in the active Myth-busting part, dealing with the analyze and deconstruction of current political myths that are used in the formation of nationalistic ideologies.

Balkan Myth Busters Youth Exchange in Velika Hoča – the first days

From 13th of march till 23rd of march, 30 young people from Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece and Germany gather in the small village Velika Hoča/Hoca e Madhe, located next to the city of Rahovec/Orahovac in Kosovo.

We learn, exchange and share about myths, legends and stories that accompany us through our socialisation and explore their role in our lives. Living together with people from the local community of Velika Hoča we also learn through direct exchange about the historical and present stories of the village.

Velika Hoča gathers 600 people and 13 Orthodox churc hes from the early Medieval times. Wineyards are surrounding the village. The production of this divine liquid is a tradition kept since Medieval times- according to a legend at those times gathering so many people in this valley, that Golema Oča’s roofs reached till the city of Prizren, so a cat could walk from one city to the others jumping from roof to roof.
We also explored the stories of Dečani and Pećka Partiarha Monastries and experienced the welcoming hostability of the monks and sisters with some good monastery-made Rakija and whine.

This is the Saraj House. Here we come together for meetings and sessions. The word ‘saraj’ comes from turkish language and  means ‘palace’. It was built during Ottoman rule of the area. Today the building hosts a small museum – and for these ten days us.

In today’s morning session, Shkëlzen Gashi presented to us his report “The History Kosovo in the history textbooks of Kosovo, Albania, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia”. He assembled different representations of the history of Kosovo during different periods, which at the same time reveal falsifications and biases of each party. You can find an online version of his book here.The weather was really nice today, so we couldn’t help it but have our afternoon session outside. Some were very determined with the tasks.
In our free time we sometimes hang around with the locals. Bojan, the cool Kafana (coffeeshop) owner, says of himself that he is a legend and makes the best and only Espresso in the village.

 

Youth exchange in Velika Hoča (13-23 March) – call for pax

Balkan Myth Busters – Youth Exchange in Kosovo

13th – 23rd of March 2017

deadline for applications 25th of January

This youth exchange will gather 30 young people from Greece, Macedonia, Kosovo, Serbia, Bulgaria and Germany. The program will be focused on deconstruction of national myths, stories and legends, through creative, non-formal and informal educational methods. During this youth exchange we will:

  • explore backgrounds of different national myths
  • learn about the role of national myths in shaping of identity
  • explore collective identities, national, Balkan, European and other
  • be deconstructing myths, and try to understand their impact on the society
  • learn how history textbooks are being used for nationalistic propaganda
  • learn about local identity of people in Velika Hoča
  • visit Prizren, mosques, medieval churches and the fortress
  • visit Visoki Dečani Monastery
  • visit local cultural organizations
  • enjoy local food, products, customs and traditions

This youth exchange is part of Balkans Myth Busters project, supported by Erasmus+ program and includes series of international youth events. In November 2016, a seminar on national myths and youth work took place in Tavankut (Serbia), while in August 2017, we will organize another youth exchange in Trstenik (Serbia).

The project is coordinated by VCV from Serbia and GAIA from Kosovo, while other partners in this youth exchange are CVS Bulgaria, SCI Hellas, SCI Germany and CID Macedonia.

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Photo by Blago Fund

PROGRAM, ACCOMMODATION AND FOOD

Program will be diverse, intensive and very much up to participants. We will be having sessions in the morning and afternoon, but also evening activities. Frame of the program will be prepared by the group leaders, but participants are expected to contribute with their own ideas, skills, questions, suggestions, games, movies etc.

We will be accommodated in several private houses around the village. 4-6 people will be sharing one house. The food will be prepared by local cooks and it will be traditional, local, seasonal and vegetarian. The village is traditionally rich in wine-growing and wineries, so participants will also learn about this old tradition and taste some of the best wines from Kosovo.

LOCATION

Velika Hoča (local dialect: Golema Oča, Albanian: Hoça e Madhe) is a village located near the town of Rahovac/Orahovac. It is one of the Serb enclaves in Kosovo, and houses some 13 Orthodox church buildings, most of which date back to the Middle Ages. It was first mentioned in history in 1198, but the region itself was populated even during antiquity. The village is famous for its viticulture, a tradition that also dates back to the antiquity. Therefore Velika Hoča is often called the “village museum”.

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 Photo by Blago Fund

WHAT IS A YOUTH EXCHANGE?

A Youth Exchange in the frame of the Erasmus+ Program is a project which brings together groups of young people from two or more countries providing them an opportunity to confront and discuss various subjects while learning about each other’s countries, peoples and cultures. Youth exchanges give young people the opportunity to become active, involved, creative, and critical, to learn from each other, to learn about and challenge themselves, to make mistakes and learn from that, to experience diversity in small…

REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS

Each partner organisation will choose 5 participants, among which one will be a group leader, who took part in the BMB seminar in November last year. Previous experience in international youth gatherings (exchanges, seminars, workcamps…) is not required nor advantage, but here are several points which will be taken into account. The participant should:

  • be interested in topics and willing to get prepared before the youth exchange
  • be willing to live sustainable and in an international community in a small village surrounded by nature and hills for 10 days
  • be ready for active participation and contribution
  • be in the age between 18 and 30 (few exceptions possible for young people under 18; group leaders can be older than 30)

PRACTICAL CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION

  • accommodation and food will be covered through the project
  • travel costs (only environmentally friendly means of transport) will be reimbursed after ALL ORIGINAL tickets are received
  • internet will not be available, except for urgent, so if you are supposed to write your thesis or cannot survive without Facebook, please do not consider applying

If you are interested in taking part in this Youth exchange send your application before the 25th of January 2017 to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

Download application from application-form-bmb-youth-exchange-gaia-kosovo

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supported by

 

Short-term group EVS in Kosovo: all colors of the Sharr mountain – call for volunteers

GAIA Kosovo is looking for partners and volunteers from Erasmus+ Program Countries  (EU, Macedonia, Turkey, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) for group EVS with minimum 15 volunteers which will take place in Sharr Mountain, Brezovica village, from 1st till 20th of August 2017.

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background information

In Kosovo, Sharr mountain is situated in the south, while the whole mountain range is spread in Macedonia and Albania. The mountain is rich with biodiversity, endemic and rare species, geological diversity and natural phenomena, but also with diversity of ethnicities, cultures and religions. Since 1993, Sharr mountains has been proclaimed as National park and has been nominated for UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve. In the meantime, the mountain is being threatened by the Master plan which includes construction of new ski resorts within the National park and no study for impact assessment was done. Since Sharr mountain is much more than snow, GAIA and partner organizations are planning to organize different activities which will address this issues, but also promote alternatives to unsustainable development, which treats to destroy nature and people’s livelihoods. One of this pilot activities is short-term EVS which will bring 15 enthusiasts from several European countries and to support us in protecting this special and universal natural heritage.

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the role of EVS team

In August 2017, GAIA is planning to organize first mountain festival, which will offer free environmental education, discussions and workshops, movies screenings, music and sustainable, local food. The festival will is called BREfest, after Brezovica village and after ‘bre’, common Balkan interjection. The festival will take place in the middle of August in the area of current ski resort and will be organized in sustainable and nature friendly way. During 3 days, we will provide diverse programs which include presentations and discussion about nature conservation and values of Sharr mountain, challenges in economic development and protection of nature, cultural and natural heritage, new and alternative ideas for sustainable development and tourism (wildlife watching, forest therapy, degrowth, rural tourism etc.). Besides that, the festival will offer environmental documentaries and nature friendly and ethno music, jam sessions etc.

The EVS team will be involved in preparation of the festival, realization of the program, photo and video documentation of the natural and cultural diversity, including festival and and follow up promotion.

tasks and responsibilities

In general, tasks of the volunteers will be the following:

  • Setting up the place and infrastructure for the festival (compost, camping site, kitchent, stages, workshops places… etc)
  • Preparing paths for visitors and hikers
  • Arranging decoration and artistic bla bla
  • Managing program together with coordination team
  • Documenting natural and cultural heritage
  • Documenting the EVS and festival (photo, video, stories…)
  • Preparing an exhibition for the festival
  • Organize thematic workshops for visitors of the festival
  • Online communication and media work
  • Helping in cleaning of the place
  • Clean up actions in the park
  • Planning and organizing follow up activities

Volunteers will work in different teams such as: construction team, PR team, educational team, art team…

Learning opportunities

  • Learning about bio- and geological diversity of the mountain, endemic and rare species
  • Learning more about challenges in nature conservation and economic development
  • Getting to know more about different ethnicities, religions and cultures of the Sharr region
  • Getting practical skills in organizing festivals, running workshops and cultural program
  • Improving media literacy and how to use promotional tools
  • Experiencing sustainable living practises in rural and remote areas
  • Living in international youth community
  • Learning how to initiate workshops and discussions

living conditions

Volunteers will live together in one or two houses in the village of Brezovica, possibly up in the mountain. Food will be prepared together and will be based on sustainable, local, mostly vegetarian and from seasonal products as much as possible.

conditions for volunteers

  • Age between 18 and 30
  • Resident in one of the Program countries
  • Passionate for nature protection and rural areas
  • Flexible, hard working and open minded
  • Ready to be disconnected from virtual, and connected to natural, real world

Accommodation, food, insurance, pocket money and travel costs for volunteers will be covered by Erasmus+ program.

For more information on how to join this EVS, please contact us on gaia.kosovo@gmail.com. If you are interested to apply, please do so by 15th of January, due to next deadline for project submittions which is in February.

 

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CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS PBA in Peja

BANJE E PEJES, KOSOVO

26th of November till 5th of December 2016  

“Youth for nature, volunteering and inclusion”

GAIA Kosovo is organizing a networking activity for partnership building between organizations, volunteers, youth workers and activists, focused on voluntary and youth projects in nature protection.

The partnership building activity (PBA) will take place in Banja e Pejes, situated close to the town of Peja, in western part of Kosovo and surrounded with the beautiful and wild Rugova Mountains.

The meeting will focus on 3 main topics:

  • nature conservation in theory and practice
  • strategic planning in youth and voluntary programs in nature conservation
  • project cycle management in nature conservation

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The aims of the PBA are:

  • To create space for developing new and strengthening existing strategic partnerships for nature protection projects through youth and voluntary work
  • To give opportunity to the participants to share good and bad practices in their work on the topics
  • To give an overview and details on the possibilities of the Erasmus+ programme
  • To serve as a place for setting up future projects and initiatives between the participants.

During this training course, we will learn, experience and discuss some of the following topics:

  • SCI & nature conservation / climate for peace program
  • different youth & volunteering programs in nature conservation
  • opportunities and role of youth organization for working in nature conservation
  • good and bad practises in nature conservation strategies
  • stakeholders in nature conservation
  • defining needs in nature conservation and initiating programs/projects
  • social inclusion and nature conservation
  • project cycle management in nature conservation
  • developing pilot programs (i.e.NP Sharr)
  • Erasmus+ and other programmes

We are looking for 28 participants from 18 different countries  (France, Portugal, Cyprus, Germany, Macedonia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Checz Republik, Slovenia, Italy, Turkey, Albania, Greece, Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Romania and Kosovo), interested in the topic, willing to create strategic partnerships and long-term projects for nature conservation, and interested in reconnection with people and nature. Advantage will be given to activists, volunteers and staff of SCI branches and partners of the project.

Suitable participants could be:

  • Project coordinators
  •  Decision makers in the organizations
  • Activists and volunteers with some experience in the field of nature protection, voluntary and youth work
  • People aware of the strategic plan of their organization
  • Active members of the organizations with long-term project ideas

 

To get the application form, please send a request to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

Practical aspects:

Accommodation and food will be covered through the project. Food will be vegan with vegetarian option, seasonal and domestic as much as possible.

Travel costs will be covered 100 % for participants who come by land, and 60 % to participants who travel by plane (unless really necessary, but in that case maximum according to Erasmus+ guide), but we still strongly advise travelling by planet-friendly means of transport.

We are looking forward to receiving your applications…

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