Open letter regarding illegal landfill in Brezovica ski resort

To the responsible institutions, media, NGOs and international donors

Regarding illegal landfill in Brezovica ski resort in Sharr Mountain National Park

 

GAIA, European Voluntary Service volunteers and young people from the Balkans want to express their resentment and frustration regarding the existence of an illegal landfill in Ski center Brezovica within the Territory of National Park Sharr Mountain. More than 50 young people from Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, France, Germany, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Spain and the UK are insisting that the responsible institutions take action and clear the landfill. The youngsters and the organization recognize that the existence of the landfill is part of a bigger challenge regarding waste management within the ski resort and the National Park, therefore we are encouraging the respectful institutions to implement long-term solutions that actually prevent the creation of new landfills within the ski resort.

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12 volunteers of European Voluntary Service (initiative of Erasmus+ program of the European Commission) and 40 young people from the Balkans taking part in a Youth for Sharr gathering (supported by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) participated in a clean-up action organized by GAIA in the ski resort in the beginning of August. The illegal landfill in the entrance of the ski resort became the centre of the action, with volunteers collecting more than 200 trash bags from just a single part of the mountain slope. Most of the trash included glass bottles (beer, wine, water), plastic bottles and packages, construction material leftovers, broken ski equipment, diapers and other traces of human presence. It is clear that the intensive tourism in combination with a lack of control and collective reluctance to deal with the problem has ended up in a slope full of garbage, piling up for years.

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We find unacceptable that the resources of Sharr Mountain are being exploited in the name of profit while we ignore our responsibilities towards nature and the future generations. GAIA has previously expressed its strong opinions against other investment projects which threaten the values of the mountain, such as an expansion of the ski resort and small hydropower plants. Sharr mountain is proclaimed as a National Park and is even proposed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the center of mountain biodiversity of Europe, with 2000 plant species, 339 Balkan endemic species and 18 local. Sharr is the habitat for brown bear, lynx, wolves, chamois, wild cat and other mammals, at least 147 butterfly species, 159 bird species, 47 amphibian and reptile species and many other.  Sharr mountain does not deserve tons of garbage on forest slopes going into the rivers that flow through the Balkans.

We understand that waste management is a challenging topic in Kosovo, however, we believe that with political will and joint efforts we can solve the specific case of Brezovica ski resort and its garbage. When it comes to clearing the landfill, GAIA is willing to support the organization of volunteer actions with local and international volunteers. When it comes to long-term solutions, we suggest an information campaign is needed to clarify to visitors and local people what is allowed and forbidden when it comes to waste in the ski center and in the National park, who the responsible institutions are and to encourage people to report when witnessing illegal activities. Strict control over visitors and businesses and issuing fine tickets to the ones not following the regulations is also crucial.

GAIA has been active in the region of Brezovica since 2015 by bringing young people from different countries together for activities dedicated to nature protection and environmental justice. In 2017 with European volunteers we have conducted a clean-up action at the illegal landfill, the results of which are still visible nowadays (video). So far we have received support from the respective institutions (Municipality of Štrpce/Shtërpcë, National park Sharr), therefore we believe a common solution can be found.

We are looking forward to receiving your answers and possible solutions.

For further contact: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com, 043918118 (Miroslava Popova, in English).

 

With regards,                                                                                                                                    Date: 07.09.2018

Helena Poucki,

Legal representative of GAIA

 

GAIA (website, facebook) is an organization dedicated to culture of peace, social justice, sustainable development and respect of environment. GAIA is promoting cultural diversity and works on education and integration of marginalized and minority groups in society. The main activities of GAIA are coordination of volunteer exchange, organization of non-formal educational programs, cooperation with other local and international organizations, organization of festivals, promotion of volunteering, intercultural understanding and solidarity in the region of Balkans and promotion of freedom of movement and youth mobility. GAIA is an official branch of Service Civil International (SCI), one of the world’s largest international volunteering organisations dedicated to promoting peace and volunteering.

 

International and local volunteers who support the letter:

  1. Aid Agaj, Kosovo
  2. Aleksandar Yordanov, Bulgaria
  3. Andrijana Vesic, Kosovo
  4. Angela Mojsoska, Macedonia
  5. Ariston Lipa, Kosovo
  6. Bejtullah Sharku, Kosovo
  7. Charly Duhoux, France
  8. Daniel Laurent, France
  9. Dejan Mladenovic, Kosovo
  10. Donjeta Shatri, Kosovo
  11. Dunja Dragun, Croatia
  12. Dunja Karanovic, Serbia
  13. Elio Allmace, Albania
  14. Elodie Riviere, France
  15. Esmeralda Perseku, Albania
  16. Gentrit Behramaj, Kosovo
  17. Goran Stamatoski, Macedonia
  18. Granit Gashi, Kosovo
  19. Helena Obajdin, Croatia
  20. Igor Markovic, Serbia
  21. Irdi Malaj, Albania
  22. Isabelle Wadbled, France
  23. Iva Mengova, Bulgaria
  24. Ivica Stojkov, Macedonia
  25. Izabela Markova, Bulgaria
  26. Jelena Jovcic, Serbia
  27. Jeremy Flauraud, France
  28. Jana Jovasevic, Serbia
  29. Kieran Murphy, United Kingdom
  30. Kristina Topic, Serbia
  31. Lara-Lena Godde, Germany
  32. Liubov Obraztcova, Russia
  33. Madlen Zasheva, Bulgaria
  34. Maja Mlinarec, Croatia
  35. Maria Begona Santaella Gomez, Spain
  36. Marius Leveli, Albania
  37. Marko Zajic, Serbia
  38. Mevlude Skuroshi, Kosovo
  39. Mia Cuk, Serbia
  40. Miroslava Popova, Bulgaria
  41. Nikola Ilic, Kosovo
  42. Nina Brauch, Germany
  43. Petar Blazevski, Serbia
  44. Rosa Hergan, Austria
  45. Silvia Brdar, Croatia
  46. Slavco Tisevski, Macedonia
  47. Slobodan Vasic, Serbia
  48. Sophie Bitsas, Belgium
  49. Stefan Georgiev, Bulgaria
  50. Sugen Reddy, United Kingdom
  51. Suljan Lamaj, Albania
  52. Vaida Saulyte, Lithuania
  53. Vladimir Djordjevic, Serbia
  54. Wiebke Tebbe, Germany
  55. Yana Ivanova, Bulgaria
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GAIA is looking for coordinator of a group EVS in Sharr mountain

In summer GAIA is hosting a group of 12 EVS volunteers in Brezovica for a month within the Mountain spirit project and we are a looking for a person to coordinate the group, to work with GAIA’s team on program and content, to take care of logistics and administrative stuff. The group EVS will be focused on documenting biodiversity and nature of Sharr mountain.

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Mountain Spirit is a Strategic EVS project run by several partners from the Balkans and coordinated by Velebit Association Kuterevo from Croatia.

GAIA Kosovo (branch of Service Civil International /SCI/) is one of the organizations which will host short term and long term volunteers interested in nature conservation. From 21st of July until 19th of August, we will host 12 volunteers from different European countries in Brezovica in Sharr Mountains. Description of the volunteering project can be seen here.

Besides group EVS, GAIA is already hosting 4 volunteers and is planning to organize different events related to nature, art, youth and culture within Balkan LyNKS project. More than 40 young enthusiasts and a team of volunteers will be doing research, documentation, art, clean up actions and organization of BREfest 2.0.

At this moment, we are looking for a person who is willing to spend at least month and a half in Brezovica and to coordinate 12 volunteers through EVS project.

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It would be ideally that this person:

  • is involved and active in GAIA or at least took part in some of the activities
  • has basic experience in nature conservation / environmental protection
  • has experience in working with volunteers and international groups of youngsters
  • has good knowledge of English and at least basic knowledge of Albanian or Serbian
  • can work in international team, has good communication skills, sense of initiative and is flexible and open to work in dynamic and challenging situations
  • has solid knowledge about EVS and Erasmus+ program or is willing to learn

Tasks for the Mountain Spirit EVS coordinator in Sharr mountain will be the following:

  • preparation of the infosheet, program and activities
  • regular meetings with the program team, reporting and initiating activities
  • daily coordination of the volunteers
  • providing support to volunteers for realization of activities, organization of free time and travel
  • preparing report (narrative and financial) of the activity after it is realized

We would prefer to engage someone from GAIA, rather than from outside world :), but if you see yourself as someone who could support Sharr program and EVS group, please feel free to apply.

Those who are interested should send their Cover letter and CV to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com before 25th of May 2018. Cover letter should include information on motivation, experience, skills, expectations and similar.

EVS coordiantor will have accommodation covered through the project and honorarium of at least 300 EUR per month (brutto); maximum duration of engagement will be 2 months (July and August), but we are open for different agreements.

For any questions, do not hesitate to ask… (contact Mira Popova at gaia.kosovo@gmail.com)

Sharr mountain is looking for an EVS volunteer from Croatia for 4 months

GAIA is looking for one EVS volunteer from Croatia to join activities who will join activities for documenting biodiversity of Sharr National Park and dedicate time, energy and inspiration for protecting this unique mountain. Volunteer service starts in June 2018 and will last for 4 months until the end of September.

Mountain spirit – Strategic EVS for Nature Conservation is a project involving several EVS short and long-term volunteer exchanges in Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and Bulgaria. It aims at combining efforts of international volunteers and local people from mountainous/rural areas for nature conservation activities in protected areas or species. Moreover, we plan several complementary activities which will strengthen the capacity of organizations and volunteers for working on the topics and for cooperation with the respective organizations.

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More than 70 people between 18 and 30 years will volunteer from 2 weeks to 8 months in the mountains of Croatia, Kosovo, Serbia and Bulgaria in the upcoming 2 years. More information will be available on the project website.

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Detailed description of the EVS opportunity and some info about the project you can find in the attached call for volunteers.

If you are interested to apply, you have to fill in the online form choosing the option “4-month long EVS in Sharr Mountain (Kosovo)” and sending CV and specific motivation letter to gaia.kosovo [at] gmail.com with the subject Sharr_volunteers_long-term_[your name].

Looking forward to your applications!

Call for EVS volunteers with SCI Catalunya and IAL Sweden

SCI Catalunya and SCI Sweden, our partner organizations within the network of Service Civil International (www.sci.ngo), opened a call for EVS (European Voluntary Service) volunteers.

What is EVS?

European Voluntary Service is a program that allows young people between 17 and 30 years old to be volunteers for up to 1 year abroad. The European Commission through the Erasmus+ program provides funding for covering basic costs of the volunteer (accommodation, food, pocket money, insurance). The be an EVS volunteer is a learning experience, based on non-formal and informal learning. It is not a job or an internship, however it helps young people to grow, to become more active, to learn a new language, have intercultural experience and gain new skills. More about EVS you can read here.

The projects (2 in Catalonia and 1 in Sweden) are open for applying to volunteers from all around Europe and the selection will be done by the hosting organizations. GAIA can be sending organization only to young people residents of Kosovo. Below you can find further information about the projects, deadlines and how to apply.

Volunteering in Catalonia – 4 volunteer positions in 2 different projects

A) 2 motivated volunteers to support the work of SCI Catalunya’s office

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  • When: September 2018 – September 2019
  • Where: El Raval, Barcelona

More info here!

The candidates should fill this form.

 

B) 2 volunteers highly interested in sustainable development and easily adaptable for Associació pel Desenvolupament Local i Alternatiu – Can Pipirimosca (ADeLA).

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  • When: End of July 2018 – End of January 2019
  • Where: Valls, Tarragona

More info here!

The candidates should fill this form

The application deadline for both projects is January 9th. The interested volunteers should fill in the specific form and send a CV + motivation letter (in Catalan, Spanish or English) to evs@sci-cat.org with a copy to placement.gaiakosovo@gmail.com (only for people, residents of Kosovo).

 

Volunteering with SCI Sweden – 1 volunteer for 1 project

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SCI Sweden is urgently looking for a an EVS-volunteer who wants to spend a year on the
lovely island of Gotland, live in an eco-collective and in the meanwhile help us to do
placement, advertise our NGO around Sweden, to have contact with our local partners and to represent SCI Sweden on several international meetings and finally, to organise their own peace-project! The volunteer service starts in February, by attending the Placement officer training, and ends a little after our Annual meeting in December 2018.

Detailed information about the project you can find in the Call for EVS volunteers in SCI Sweden

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If you are interested to apply send your CV and motivation letter (following the guidelines in the call) to placement.gaiakosovo@gmail.com. We will forward it to our partners, who will do the selection among all the candidates from around the world.

Apply as soon as possible, since the interviews with short-listed candidates are to happen within the first two weeks of January.

 

Urgent: Call for participants for training for non-formal education

GAIA is urgently looking for 1 participant, resident of Kosovo, who doesn’t need visa for Italy to participate in training course “NFE – opportunity for inclusion and acceptance of immigrants and asylum seekers” 21-29th October.
Unfortunately, the participants, who were selected for the training in Italy cannot get visa on time, so there is no time for new ones to apply for visa. More information you can find below, if you are interested please fill in the application form (here) and write an email to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

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