What is the first step in the process of building relationships between people who have grown up under the spirit of prejudice and fear? This was the main question when we designed our activities, and the answer came naturally: conversations.
We believed that if only we could unite people of different communities in Kosovo in spaces where they feel safe expressing themselves freely, prejudices would fade little by little. Aware that this process takes time and requires effort, with #USAID support, we started the construction of groups of people, in different cities, who meet from time to time to talk about topics that improve everyone’s life. By not limiting ourselves to topics that are related to the improvement of inter-ethnic relations, but by answering the simple question: “what we can do as citizens to improve the quality of our life?”, we not only increase the opportunities to create connection, but we also take the first step in initiatives that contribute to the general good.
On 14th of November, RCT established the Cohesion Circle in Peja (the sixth CC in Kosovo) which was a successful and beneficial event. The workshop gathered activists, youth workers and active citizens from various ethnic backgrounds in Peja to discuss the needs and challenges of the youth from Peja and to plan our joint initiative in the upcoming period. During this workshop, we had the opportunity to present the work of RCT, along with the objectives and activities of the project and talk about the initiative which will be developed by the members for the benefit of their communities.
The workshop was attended by 14 participants coming from all communities and was facilitated by Arta Musollaj, an experienced trainer in the field of sociolinguistics and human rights, who initiated a warm and welcoming start of the workshop by encouraging the participants to introduce themselves in interactive ways. Following this, the participants had the opportunity to hear about the importance of the social activism and some of the CC initiatives that happened in the scope of the RCT work so that the participants could see the importance of having such initiatives. Afterwards, the participants had the possibility to discuss the needs and challenges that the youth is facing. The discussion was followed by questions, answers and interactive discussions between the participants, each of them expressing their view on the challenges that the youth faces and their needs.
In the end, the participants had the chance to work in groups and come up with an initiative that aims to address inclusivity and bring together youth from different ethnic backgrounds. At this point, participants started to give powerful and interesting ideas in various topics, starting from culture, art, social gathering, and so on which was aiming to address the need of bringing all communities in one place, hence foster reconciliation.
The varied composition of participants in this group provided a comprehensive and insightful perspective on the youth situation in Peja. This diversity became instrumental during the workshop, fostering mutual learning and enabling the development of an initiative beneficial to all communities.