BREfest nature gathering in Brezovica ski resort calls for young people to meet in Sharr mountain  for discussions, exchange and entertainment from 10th till 12th August

Topics of the workshops, discussions and movies during the day are focused on social and environmental challenges and possible solutions.

06.08.2018, Brezovica, Kosovo

From 10th to 12th August 2018 the annual small-scale, art and nature gathering BREfest will take place in Brezoviza ski resort in the Sharr Mountains of Kosovo. The festival seeks to gather local residents, visitors and volunteers from around Kosovo, the Balkans and Europe in one of the most biodiverse hubs of the region. Organized by volunteers of GAIA, the event is free of charge and provides a diverse program of cultural and environmental activities that encourages active participation by visitors. The event is supported by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), the Erasmus+ program and the Ministry of culture in Kosovo. Its overarching topic “Sharr is more than snow” seeks to generate publicity of the natural phenomena of the Sharr Mountain, and thereby to raise awareness of the national park’s potential to pursue recreational activities during the summer months in a sustainable way. By targeting people who appreciate and respect the environment, the event also wants to provide a platform to discuss environmentally friendly lifestyle alternatives and draw attention to environmental injustices that currently challenge the biodiversity of the mountain. BREfest, in this view, seeks to actively include local stakeholders participation and to interconnect an international and intergenerational community which appreciates the natural beauty and cherishes the cultural heritage of this region.

The three day program of BREfest will offer a spectrum of activities to an intergenerational audience, ranging from young to old, individual visitors to families. These include physical exercises such as yoga, capoeira and hiking trips in the mornings, but also workshops and discussions throughout the day. Workshops will range from DiY sewing, upcycling art actions, to eductional artactivism on traditional knowledge, cultural heritage, herbs, astronomy and the wildlife concerning the region. Discussions will center on current environmetal challenges and values of the Sharr National Park and highly welcome any participation by local and international guests. In the evenings, visitors are invited to take part in eductional movie viewings and join the life music performances by regional and local musicians. Alban Nihiu will open the musical progamme on Friday followed by DJ Organic Kimm. On Saturday the mountain will be echoeing a colorful variety of sound waves thanks to the jazz performance of Sheftchetz (Ilir Bajri&Co.) and reggae masters Mane Rootsman&Natty Fya. On the last day, Čorba&Zekay will come first on the stage while DJ Matale (Linda Suhodolli) and DJ Organic Kimm will be bringing the festival to a closing.

The festival’s programm dedicates each day to a specific topic. The first day evolves around the question of “Natural Environments for Everyone?” and thereby seeks to address the limited possibilities of minority groups to equally cherish and access the beauty and ecological services of the mountain. In this vain, BREfest is collaborating with the Rolling film festival organized by Romawood and Imaginatorium, GAIA’s non-formal education center for Roma children, which will be taking part in art activities and performing author music.

The second day concentrates on the natural values and challenges of the Sharr Mountain and includes the involvement of the environmental NGO ECO Albania that will present research and activist work on hydropower projects across the Balkans. It also includes the movie screenning (event on facebook) of Patagonia’s movie Blue Heart (trailer) which tells the stories of resistence movements of local people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Macedonia against hydropower projects. A discussion after the movie with representatives on NGOs and National Park Sharri will follow after the movie.

The final day is devoted to the celebration of the International Youth Day and will concentrate on youth participation in environmental policy making and local environmental advocacy. Accordingly, the main highlight will be the networking event for local and regional organizations to connect and present their work. There will also be an Europrean Voluntary Service corner organized by current volunteers that represent their countries and service experience in the Sharr Mountain. This way, BREfest seeks to foster stronger relationships among different stakeholders across regions.

BREfest is promoting a different approach of appreciating nature by making us think about our own impact on the environment. The organizers from GAIA are inviting guests to bring their own cup (and camping food equipment if possible) in order to avoid the use of plastic and to reduce the amount of waste. Share and exchange is another festival principal which is valid for sharing transport to the ski resort but also for exchanging skills, home-made products between people. There is a camping site where people can put up a tent and possibility for accommodation in local hotels for 6 EUR per night per person in a shared room (reservations in advance are to be sent until August 8th).

The organization of the festival is supported by:

  • 12 short-term EVS volunteers from Belgium, France, Spain, Germany, Croatia, Bulgaria, UK, Finland/Russia, Lithuania (part of Mountain spirit – Strategic EVS for Nature Conservation supported by Erasmus+ program of the European Council)
  • 40 participants from the Balkan countries through Regional Youth for Sharr Gathering (part of BALKAN LyNKS project supported by RYCO (Regional Youth Cooperation Office) and Ministry of Culture in Kosovo)
  • Roma children from Imaginatorium and an international SCI workcamp volunteers – alternative educational center in Gracanica
  • And everybody else who is interested

CONTACTS

GAIA Kosovo, brefest.ks@gmail.com, www.gaiakosovo.org

Phone number: +383 49 433 395; +383 49 205 121 (Albanian); +386 43 918 118 (English,Serbian);

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.

RYCO  (website) is an independently functioning institutional mechanism, founded by the Western Balkans 6 participants (WB 6): Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia, aiming to promote the spirit of reconciliation and cooperation between the youth in the region through youth exchange programs. The Agreement on establishment of RYCO was signed by the WB 6 Prime Ministers on WB Summit held in Paris, on 4 July 2016.

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