Konaku_i_Manastirit_të_DeçanitPhoto: Kroni Krasniqi

GAIA Kosovo and the Orthodox Monastery of Draganac, with the support of World Vision, are organizing a youth exchange about cultural heritage, peace and religion in Velika Hoča/ Hoçë e Madhe, from 24th until 29th of September 2018. Come discover the way of living of a centuries-old winemaking community of Kosovo!

During this youth exchange, participants will have an opportunity to:

  • Learn about cultural and religious heritage of Velika Hoča/ Hoçë e Madhe
  • Get a taste of local foods and home made products 
  • Visit Prizren, a beautiful city where histories, cultures, religions and peoples merge
  • Visit several orthodox monasteries from medieval times among which some are on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list
  • Learn from and experience the everyday life of the Serbian minority in this small community, ‘hidden‘ behind vineyards
  • Engage in discussions about the interrelations of peace and religion

We are looking for 15 participants from Kosovo who are interested in spending 4 days in the small village, to exchange and learn about the intersection of cultural and religious heritage in a region which comprises lesser known cultural elements of the country. The youth exchange is about tolerance and understanding, and seeks to reach open-minded people who are genuinely interested in meeting different cultures.

General conditions:

  • To arrive on 24th at the afternoon and depart on 29th in the morning
  • To be present during the whole duration of the youth exchange
  • To be ready to actively participate in the program
  • To be over 18
  • Coming from Kosovo 
  • To agree to eating vegetarian food
  • To share small space with fellow participants

If you are one of them, you can apply by filling in the online application form by 20th of September.
Food and accommodation will be provided and travel costs will be reimbursed upon GAIA receives the tickets.
For any questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

About the community
Velika Hoča (local dialect: Golema Oča, Albanian: Hoçë e Madhe) is a village located near the town of Rahovec/Orahovac. It is one of the Serbian 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”.
Last year, GAIA organized another youth exchange, entitled “Balkan Myth Busters” with participants from Bulgaria, Germany, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia. If you’re interested in their program check out their short film and read about participant’s experience: The first days, Getting active, It goes on and on.

About GAIA

GAIA is a non-governmental organization dedicated to the culture of peace, social and environmental justice and sustainable living. GAIA also promotes cultural diversity and works on education and integration of marginalized and minority groups in society. The main activities of GAIA are international volunteering programs (workcamps, long-term volunteering), non-formal education (trainings, seminars, workshops, youth exchanges) and permanent community building programs.
GAIA is a full member of SCI (Service Civil International), a volunteer organisation dedicated to promoting a culture of peace by organising international voluntary projects for people of all ages and backgrounds. Throughout the years, SCI has made a major contribution to the development of the main forms of volunteering. Year after year, the organisation enables thousands of volunteers to participate in community projects.

About Draganac Monastery

Draganac Monastery is located in the beautiful mountainous area of the eastern part of Kosovo. Currently, the brotherhood consists of 10 monks and novices, which take care of the monastery, orchards, animals etc.
Since 2016, GAIA and Draganac Monastery have been cooperating through organization of international voluntary camps which gathered young people from different ethnicities and cultures coming from many countries such as Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, and others.



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