Summer workcamp program in Kosovo

This year we have some very interesting and diverse workcamps for people interested to volunteer in Kosovo, as well as youth exchanges for those who want to learn more and to experience local culture and challenges people face here.

All programs are for free and accommodation and food are provided.

Additionally, travel costs for 3 workcamps will be covered for volunteers from Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria will be reimbursed, while travel costs for participants for Youth Exchange are covered for all. Keep in mind that participants of YE can come only from Kosovo, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, Macedonia and Croatia.

For any additional information on how to apply, please contact us to: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

We have 3 workcamps and Youth Exchange ahead of us and we invite you to join us! You won’t regret 🙂

  1. Preserve what we have (Novo Brdo), 18th – 30th of July
  2. Be water (Gračanica), 25th of July – 6th of August
  3. We can do it! (Štrpce), 14th – 26th of August
  4. Youth Exchange: Nature connecting us (Brezovica), 15th – 26th  August

For more information on how to apply, please contacts us by e-mail: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

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PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS

WORKCAMP: PRESERVE WHAT WE HAVE (NOVO BRDO)

From 18th till 30th of July 2016

Topic: Art, culture and local history

Work Types: Environment / Cultural heritage / Restoration, renovation

Number of volunteers: 10

Required Language: English

Extra Costs: 0.00

Travel costs for volunteers from Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria will be reimbursed.

draganac

Description: Association of women returnees called Naš dom (Our home) was registered in 2006. In the beginning, we did just some humanitarian work, but after some time we started with non-formal educational activities, related to women empowerment. Another local partner on this workcamp is association Moravski biser, from municipality of Parteš. Its main field of work is on gender equality issues. Almost half (47%) of people in Novo Brdo municipality are youth, there is very high unemployment rate and lack of possibilities to spend quality free time, we think that workcamp could be a very useful thing to motivate people to do something for their local society, as well as to connect them, so they can work together in solving local problems.

Type of Work: Volunteers will be working on two sites. Firstly, they will help the work of Monastery Draganac, mostly in cleaning and helping in renovation work in different properties. They will also work in a wood, which is nearby the monastery, clearing walking path and possibly helping to arrange monastery library. Secondly, volunteers will be helping public people’s kitchen and work on their farm.

Study Theme: Volunteers can learn about history of the monastery and woodcut art from monks. They can visit a fortress in Novo Brdo, which has been renovated, archaeological site Glavicica in municipality of Parteš and to learn about our local customs.

Accommodation: Volunteers will be in a village house, with toilets and showers provided. Volunteers should bring sleeping bags and carry-mats. Meals will be prepared by volunteers and women from our associations.

Approximate Location: Municipality of Novo Brdo is in a beautiful hilly area, near Pristina. It was a very important mining centre in medieval period of history. Nowadays it has around 10.000 citizens and it’s a very multicultural area. Novo Brdo fortress was built in the early 14th century to protect gold, silver, iron and lead mines which were abundant throughout the area.

WORKCAMP: BE WATER (GRACANICA)

from 25th of July till 6th of August 2016

Topic: Environment protection

Work Types: Environment / Manual

Number of volunteers: 12

Required language: English

Extra Costs: 0.00

Travel costs for volunteers from Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria will be reimbursed.

be water.jpgDescription: Young Active Gracanica is an organisation that supports young people in the municipality of Gracanica, through a variety of workshops, different events and activism. Our vision is to create an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding between different cultures, to develop young peoples’ potentials and to act responsibly in the local community.  The community is dealing with different environmental issues, which has been neglected, so youth want to take initiative and to raise awareness of the importance of natural resources upon which everybody depends. With this workcamp we would like to raise awareness among local people about the importance of water, sustainability and environmental issues.

Type of Work: Volunteers will work around water spring and river area, which should be cleaned up and arranged. They will make messages from recycled materials about the importance of water and other environmental issues. Volunteers will also build up a benches and tables from recycled materials such as pallets. Besides, volunteers will organize public events such as movie screening, street action etc. There will be additional tasks such as collecting herbs, workshops of organic agriculture, making ponds for watering animals.

Study Theme: There is an archaeological site Ulpiana, what was an ancient Roman, nearby, so, volunteers can spend one day with researchers there and get some useful information about this site, as well as about archaeology in general. Volunteers can visit monastery Gracanica, Gracanica lake and Bear Sanctuary which is nearby the lake. They will also have an opportunity to learn something about self-defence art of ninjiutsu.

Accommodation: Volunteers will sleep in a rented house, on the floor, so they should bring their sleeping bags. Mattresses will be provided. Toilets, showers and kitchen will be provided. Volunteers will cook for themselves, in kitchen teams, local and seasonal products.

Requirements: Volunteers should be prepared for water and electricity cuts.

Approximate Location: Gracanica is a municipality near Prishtina, on the river Gracanka, in Gracanica lake valley. The place is famous about monastery Gracanica from 14th century. There is also very popular archaeological site Ulpiana from Roman period.

WORKCAMP: WE CAN DO IT! (SHTRPCE)

From 14th of August till 26th of August 2016

Topic: Art / Work with the disabled / Teaching

Number of volunteers: 10

Required language: English

Extra Costs: 0.00

Travel costs for volunteers from Serbia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro and Bulgaria will be reimbursed.

Motivation letter: This camp requires an additional motivation letter to explain in more detail why you would like to atten

Description: Shtrpce is a small town situated at the south of Kosovo, on the Mountain of Sharr. There is around 3000 inhabitants in the town, while in the municipality lives around 13000 people of different ethnic background. Biodiversity of the Sharr Mountain is rich and endemic, why in 1993 it has been proclaimed as National park. The local partner, CIPOS, is a young organization which is dealing with problems of people with disabilities and protection of their rights. This is the first workcamp in Shtrpce and on this topic, since people with disabilities has been rather neglected and discriminated. Therefore, the idea of this workcamp is to raise awareness of the issues people with disabilities are dealing with, as well as their way of living. Also, we want to make to inform people about the issues, but also about the solutions and different ways how we can support people with disabilities and how to include them in development of their local community.

04Type of Work: During the workcamp, volunteers will organize different empowerment workshops for people with disabilities, so they can gain new skills such as handicrafts, in order to produce items for sustainable fundraising of the workshops/program. Volunteers can organize other creative workshops such as recycleArt, music, drawing, movie screening etc.

Study Theme: Human rights, local cultural and natural heritage. During free time, we will be visiting natural and cultural places in the surrounding.

Accommodation: Volunteers will be accommodated in a private house with necessary facilities (kitchen, bathroom). Volunteers will cook for themselves, mostly local and seasonal food. You will need to bring sleeping bags.

Language: Serbian, English, knowledge of Slavic languages can be an advantage

Requirements: Volunteers should be able to teach some creative and useful skills and also to be sensitive in work with people with disability.

Call for participants – Youth Exchange in the Sharr Mountain

From 15th till 26th of August this year,

30 young people coming from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo, Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria, will gather in the magical mountain of Sharr in the south of Kosovo…

IMG_7605

During these 10 days, we will:

…learn and share about nature conservation

…explore the meaning and practise of coexistence with nature in rural areas,

…get to know the local community, customs, tradition and lifestyle, and living with seasons,

… explore biodiversity of Sharr mountain and benefits of cultural and natural diversity

… visit inspiring and protected natural and cultural places (monasteries, mosques, roman sites)

… learn about and from wilderness (herbs, other pants, animals, relations, fungi, human impact etc.)

…reflect on our role in this world (lifestyle, activism, ignorance…)

… experience living in a big diverse group in the mountains,

…enjoy, have fun and much more

PROGRAM & LIFESTYLE

Program will be diverse, intensive and very much up to participants and 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.

The main topic of the YE will be wilderness and our relation with it… It will be explored in different ways. At the end, we will work in small groups, which will be organized according to interest and ideas, ideally creating something very concrete for the end (a short video, exhibition, installation, blog…). We are expected to be as sustainable as possible, so food will be vegan with vegetarian option and mostly from local and seasonal products.

LOCATION

The Youth Exchange will take place high in the mountains, in a motel situated in ski resort Brezovica, at 1750m above the sea level.

The village of Brezovica (Municipality of Strpce) is a small, with around 400 inhabitants, and is situated in the north-eastern part of the Sharr Mountains.

Sharr Mountains is oldest National park in Kosovo, and provides habitat for the lynx, bear, chamois, wolf, roe deer, wild boar, vultures and many plant species among which many are endemic and relict.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS:

Each partner organisation will choose 5 participants, among which one will be a group leader (which can be older than 30). 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:

  • be interested in topics and willing to get prepared before the youth exchange
  • be willing to disconnected virtually, but connected naturally
  • be willing to live sustainably and in an international community in a remote place in the mountains 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
  • visa costs will be fully covered
  • internet will not be available, except for urgent (really urgent and important cases), 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 to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com before the 5th of July 2016

Application form can be downloaded from Application form Kosovo

dsc_18531

 

Nature calling: Youth Exchange in Kuterevo Bear Refuge

Nature is looking for 24 young people from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina (6 from each country) interested in a 10-day youth exchange (11th till 21st of May 2016) which will take place in Kuterevo, a village situated on the north-east slope of the Mountain Velebit.

Our only planet is being challenged by the industrial civilization and capitalistic system. Our society is constantly facing some kind of crisis – financial, social, environmental, energy, food – just to name the most pressing ones. Climate crisis is being the biggest challenge, because it affects lives everywhere and threatens the survival of many species, including humans. Additionally, the social climate in Balkan countries has not been stable. Although we live in a time of big crisis, a life-affirming, creative and sustainable future is possible. Such a future depends on a radical transformation of both the individual and our society.

The main idea of this youth exchange is about reconnecting with nature inside us and around us. Kuterevo Refuge is the perfect place for healing disconnectedness between people and nature, since bears can help us to reconnect with wilderness. In the same time, we are aiming at healing social alienation and disconnection and hopefully inspire each other to build another world…

 

During this gathering, we will be:

  • …exploring the meaning and practise of coexistence with nature in rural areas,
  • …getting to know the local community, customs, tradition and lifestyle, and living with seasons,
  • …learning about and from wilderness (orientation, edible and medicinal plants, tracks…),
  • tribalism and music from nature
  • …deepening awareness of the richness and diversity of life outside ourselves
  • …reflecting on ecological dimension of our identity
  • enjoying, having fun and much more 🙂

The program will be diverse and intensive, since we will be having sessions in the morning and afternoon, but also evening activities.

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 themes 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 them, to experience diversity in small…

LOCATION & CONDITIONS

kuterevo

Kuterevo is a small village of approximately 550 habitants in Velebit. It is situated between the seaside and the Velebit Mountains. It is 30 km from Senj a beautiful city on the seaside; 60 km from the Plitvice lakes national park and only 10 km from the national park Northern Velebit. Kuterevo is extended on a 6 km strip of valley.

The group will stay in wooden house located in the Refuge for bears and people. The house used to be a hayloft and is today used for groups. There are only two big spaces for sleeping, so no privacy. Cooking will be done together and with help of a Kuterevo woman. All meals will be vegan with vegetarian option.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS:

Each partner organisation will choose 6 participants, among which one will be a group leader. 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:

  • be interested in topics and willing to get prepared before the youth exchange
  • be willing to disconnected virtually, but connected naturally
  • be willing to live sustainably and in an international community in a remote place for 10 days
  • be ready fto actively participate and contribute
  • be aged between 18 and 30 (few exceptions possible for young people under 18)

PRACTICAL CONDITIONS OF PARTICIPATION

  • accommodation and food will be covered, including group trips/excursions during the program
  • visa costs will be fully covered
  • travel costs (only environmentally friendly means of transport) will be reimbursed after ALL ORIGINAL tickets have been received by the organizer
  • internet will not be available, except for urgent (really urgent and important) cases, so if you are supposed to write your thesis or cannot survive without Facebook, please consider applying some other time

ja

This exchange is part of the project Nature that (re)connects us, within which we already met in the Sharr Mounatins (Kosovo) in November last year. More about that and other wild youth exchanges organized with the support of Erasmus+ can be found at our blog mountainsconnectingpeople.wordpress.com

If you are interested in taking part in Youth exchange Nature that (re)connects us, send your application to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com before the 15th of March 2015.

DOWNLOAD APPLICATION FORM: Nature that reconnects us APPL_Kuterevo

More about Kuterevo Refuge:

www.kuterevo.wordpress.com

www.kuterevo-medvjedi.org

CONTACTS OF OTHER PARTNERS:

Serbia – Volunteers’ Center of Vojvodina (office@volontiraj.rs)

Bosnia and Herzegovina – Terra Dinarica (terradinarica@gmail.com)

Croatia – Velebit Association Kuterevo (kuterevo.volunteers@gmail.com)

MCP
at Gromovaca pick, Velebit Mountain

 

Humanitarian crisis in Europe and the Balkans

“When Verdun was bombed, volunteers took initiative to help rebuild what was destroyed. Today we are facing an increasing worldwide refugee crisis, volunteers are taking initiative to provide first aid.
In Verdun it was a statement of International brother-sisterhood that German and French volunteers joined hands. Today we need to make a statement for a humane society, that has time and space for victims of war.”

Activist

12006161_10153799151596412_9078747690051069618_nimage by Hana Alhady

Refugees in SCI blog is being run by Yahu, our friend, activist and board member. Together with other volunteers, he is helping refugees at the border in Macedonia, in Tabanovci.

Here you can read volunteers stories from the border:

https://refugeeinsci.wordpress.com/volunteer-observations/

If you want to support or join them as volunteer, here you can find more info:

https://refugeeinsci.wordpress.com/volunteer-support/

More about SCI work in refugee crises:

Building bridges initiative:

http://www.sci.ngo/learn-about-sci/news/entry/2015/12/18/256-builduing-bridges-and-overcoming-borders

Scarfs, not Borders –  initiative from VCV SCI Serbia

http://www.sci.ngo/learn-about-sci/news/entry/2016/01/20/278-scarf,-no-borders

We are very glad that SAVA WG imidiatelly supported the Volunteers’ House at the border in Macedonia. Schuler Helfen Leben (Foundation from Germany) had published a call for emergency actions, through which we got funds for the next three months. So, the volunteers’ house is secured for some period. We are still working on fundraising, but also awareness raising.

Any support or action is welcome and needed. If you have an idea, please contact us via e-mail: gaia.kosovo@gmail.com

Workshops about voluntary workcamps

In December and January, GAIA will organize 2 workshops about volunteerism and international voluntary workcamps as tools for activation of local communities.

First workshop will take place in Gračanica, on 12th and 13th of December, and it will be held in Serbian language.

Second workshop will take place in Prizren, in January, and it will be held in Albanian language.

leave the coal in the hole

If you are interested in the topic and possible cooperation with us, in particular through organizing international voluntary workcamps next year, you should apply for a workshop held in a language you are more comfortable with.

More information about the first workshop in Gračanica and application form can be found on the LINK, while information about the second one in will be published soon.

3-day Permaculture introduction course

GAIA SCI Kosovo proudly presents:

3-day Permaculture introduction course

from 13th till 15th of October 2015 in Gračanica / Graçanicë

for the occasion of the World Food Day and challenges food production brings

permacultura

PERMACULTURE….

… is a holistic approach to landscape design and human culture

… integrates people into Nature’s design

…is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way

…. a system for sustainable living on Earth that benefits all creatures and supplies all the needs of humanity

… is applied science and ecology

…ethical design of human systems for a sustainable future

…offers practical solutions to the global environmental and cultural crises we now face

During 3-day long introduction course (permaculture is much, much more) we will be learning about:

  • History and Ethics of Permaculture Design
  • Permaculture Design Strategies – Sectors, Zones and Flows
  • Topography Practice
  • Principles of Permaculture
  • Patterns Literacy
  • Reading the Landscape
  • Soils and Composting
  • Composting Theory and Practice
  • Creating Guilds Practice

The course will be run by Mihaela Tsarchinska and Mihail Kossev, certified designers and teachers – PRI Australia and Permaculture Association of Bulgaria.

permaculture principles

Conditions for participation:

  • participants should stay during the whole duration of the course (arrival 12th in the evening, departure 16th morning)
  • working language will be English, so you should be comfortable with it
  • vegetarian food with vegan option will be provided
  • you will have to bring a sleeping bag
  • travel costs for participants from Kosovo will be covered
  • participation fee: will to learn and share about sustainable and communal living with others 😀

There is only 12 places available for the course. If you are interested, you should fill in this FORM before 2nd of October 2015.

The advantage will be given to participants from Kosovo and those who have already been involved in GAIA’s activities.

This initiative is supported by SCI GAIA Microgrant & Create a Climate for Peace campagn

Nature calling: Youth exchange in Brezovica

NATURE THAT (re)CONNECTS US

(Brezovica, Kosovo, 1-10. november 2015)

 

In November this year, 25 young people coming from Croatia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina will gather in the mountain village of Brezovica, in the south of Kosovo.

During these 10 days, we will:

…learn and share about nature conservation, sustainable resource use, bioregionalism and deep ecology

…explore the meaning and practise of coexistence with nature in rural areas,

…get to know the local community, customs, tradition and lifestyle, and living with seasons,

… explore biodiversity of Sharr mountain and benefits of cultural and natural diversity

… visit inspiring natural and cultural places around,

… learn about and from wilderness,

…reflect on our role in this world,

…enjoy, have fun and much more 🙂

dsc_18531

Program will be diverse and intensive, since we will be having sessions in the morning and afternoon, but also evening activities.

LOCATION

Brezovica (Municipality of Strpce) is a small mountain village, with around 400 inhabitants, situated in the north-eastern part of the Sharr Mountains in Kosovo, which is also protected as National park. Shar Mountains is the habitat of the lynx, bear, chamois, wolf, roe deer, wild boar, vultures and many plant species among which many are endemic and relict.

REQUIREMENTS FOR PARTICIPANTS:

Each partner organisation will choose 6 participants, among which one will be a group leader. 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:

  • be interested in topics and willing to get prepared before the youth exchange
  • be willing to disconnected virtually, but connected naturally
  • be willing to live sustainably and in an international community in a remote place 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)

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
  • visa costs will be fully covered
  • internet will not be available, except for urgent (really urgent and important cases), so if you are supposed to write your theses or cannot survive without Facebook, please do not consider applying J

If you are interested in taking part in Youth exchange Nature that (re)connects us,

send your application to gaia.kosovo@gmail.com before the 15th of September 2015

Application form can be downloaded from Nature that reconnects us APPL

supported by:

erasmus+(1)

Poem for Plemetina – Magic Hands of Plemetina has finished…

Poem for Plemetina

by Aleksandra Hiltmann

Tentatively, our toes touched your ground, one foot after the
other we wanted to start our journey. But then we met you.

You who swallowed us, who drowned us, who swept us away.
You, Plemetina, who immediately embraced us.

You embraced us with your smiles, your music, your generosity,
your stories. Stories that made our thoughts race.

Race as fast as the white smoke rising into the sky above you,
the one that suffocates you. You, that you rest on a soil made of
black gold that should brighten up your homes. But, while the
coal’s dust keeps falling, you often remain in darkness.

The sound of kettles hitting the surface of deep down water
hurts us, Plemetina. We don’t want you to be thirsty, we don’t
want you to miss anything, we don’t want you to have any
more sorrows.

We wanted to escape you, then, to give our minds a rest, think
about you, try to understand you. But you hardly let us. Soon,
you would take us by our hands again to take us to see and live
your beauties and joys, your songs and dances, your laughs
and hospitality.

We want to thank you, Plemetina.

Thank you for taking us by our hands and making us drown in
your soul, thank you for teaching us, for making us understand
more.

Thank you for your warm embrace.

blog

“Once you know how to make pita, you are ready to get married”

Today, our magic hands got to experience something new. After having completed all the handicraft workshops, we switched beads with more nurturing raw materials. Our teachers Mira and Mamudija came to our house to teach us the art of making pita and burek – two of the absolutely most important traditional and delicious dishes of Kosovo and the entire Balkan region.
A landscape of flying doughs, lakes of oil and artistically wrapped cabbage evolved in our kitchen. Enjoy the pictures below and get to see the magic of burek and pita!

Foto 1

“Once you know how to make pita, you are ready to get married”, Mamudija commented our finished cheese-egg Pita artwork. Well, yes, we’ll think about it 😉

Foto 2

Burek  is usually filled with meat, cabbage, cheese or potatoes. For our vegan version we used apples.

Workcamp Magic Hands of Plemetina is arriving to its end...don’t miss our last posts:)