Hajde bre! Brezovica Winter Camp

Hajde bre! Brezovica Winter Camp

Building friendships among young people who have grown up believing this is impossible requires efforts of various kinds. Our extensive experience has taught us that change always begins with a conversation, but it’s not always easy to create an environment where young people feel safe to engage in these conversations. Let’s not forget that their “battle” is twofold: on one side, they confront the stories they have heard throughout their lives, and on the other side, they face prejudices. At a time when a significant number of people in Kosovo openly display inter-ethnic hatred, it is crucial that when we seek to construct new narratives, it is done in a new environment – possibly far from the one where we have been “nourished” by the worst.

In addition to the environment, another important factor is the goal. Conversations flow more naturally when young people have a common goal – in fact, friendships tend to last longer in these cases. Bearing all this in mind, as part of the ‘Reconciliation and conflict transformation’ project, we have organized the HAJDE BRE camp for the third time, where 22 young people from all communities gathered in Brezovica. Besides games and entertainment, they underwent a 3-day training session on the basics of web development.

The training unfolded over 3 days, offering students not only a theoretical understanding of creating a website but also practical application of the knowledge acquired. As they began working in groups, we witnessed immense enthusiasm and contagious energy.  Our 4 groups of students applied their knowledge in practice by building 4 websites that they think are needed in order to improve community life:

1.What’s happening? Sta ima? Qa Ka? Qa ska? An online platform providing a space for storytelling and cultural exchange, also promoting cultural happenings in Kosovo (festivals, concerts, exhibitions, etc.)

2.Community Watch: Develop a website where young people can report safety concerns in their communities, such as suspicious activities, vandalism, or areas that need improvement for better safety. This platform could collaborate with local authorities or neighborhood watch groups to address reported issues.

3.Digital Safety Network: Establish a website where young people can report online safety concerns, such as cyberbullying, harassment, identity theft, or inappropriate content. This platform could provide tips for staying safe online, resources for reporting abusive behavior, and support for victims of online crimes.

4.Youth Employment Center: Create a website where young people can look for the employment, opportunity, This platform could provide resources for job seekers, guidance on labor rights, and connections to legal assistance if needed.

When asked later about the highlight of the camp, some of them emphasized the exposure to new cultures through group work. The results of their intensive work were impressive. However, beyond this, the youths also highlighted the importance of the inspiring location, carefully selected games, and other planned activities.

We have witnessed many times how the ideas and perceptions of young people about the neighboring community change after spending time together. Andrej, one of the camp participants, told us that he “is very pleased to have gained new knowledge and friendships – and he hopes that these friendships will continue.” We often hear such sentences, and we believe they are the greatest measure of the success of this activity.

We are very happy that we have provided these young people with a skill that will help them in the job market – for some as an additional asset, and for others, we have shown how much potential this profession holds and inspired them to continue with new lessons. Most importantly, we have achieved this by building new memories and laying the foundation for some new friendships. By empowering these young individuals with valuable skills and boosting meaningful connections, we’ve not only enriched their personal and professional lives but also contributed to the growth and prosperity of our community as a whole

Transforming the lives in our community