Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation Activity is continuing giving its contribution to the peacebuilding process and helping foster reconciliation. Within numerous activities of the RCT, the storytelling component remains one of the most unique and approachable ways to gather people from different communities to share and listen to each other’s stories.
Within this component, we are recording podcasts as part of the storytelling, bringing closer stories of people of different communities that are going to inspire people to go a further step in the reconciliation and peacebuilding process.
For our first podcast this year, we had the pleasure to have as a guest Mevlude Skuroshi, local human rights and environmental activist. She grew up in South Mitrovica. However, she was always intrigued by the “mystic north.” Mev works as a Program Coordinator at GAIA which enabled her to work with all communities, including the Kosovo Serb community. GAIA was founded in 2010 in Plemetina, Kosovo as the official branch of Service Civil International (SCI) which is one of the largest international volunteering organizations founded in 1920 dedicated to promoting a culture of peace through organization and coordination of voluntary projects all over the world. She shared her story of years-long activism and enthusiasm to make a Kosovo- wide impact. Most of her job in the civil society sector was focused on working with all the communities in Kosovo through promoting good interethnic relations, intending to achieve social justice by making injustice and systematic discrimination visible and empowering vulnerable and marginalized communities and providing equal opportunities.
She shared with us her perspective on how she sees the reconciliation process going and as she stated, “The need to unite against something is what brings people together, sometimes common interest unites people and not only the financial one or music, culture, art, so like all people in the world, we just must find an “enemy” I say in quotes or a common love”. Worth to mention is also the initiative that Mevlude together with many other activists for different communities were involved in environmental protection regarding the process of issuing a water permit for the hydropower plant “Brezovica” in the Municipality of Shtërpce / Šterpce. Together with GAIA and another local organization, Mevlude managed to hail a major victory as Supreme Court suspended the water permit of a hydropower plant in this municipality.
One of many programs that Mev is in charge of is the Social Space for Deconstruction. According to Mev the Social Space for Deconstruction offers alternative events and activities in Mitrovica. Through discussions, workshops, and cultural events, this initiative aims to create a safe space that will ignite curiosity and challenge stereotypes. Run by volunteers, the social space is open to everyone and often visited by youngsters from the north part of Mitrovica. Mev also says that at the Social Space for Deconstruction they always challenge mindsets, stereotypes and insist on critical thinking. The idea is to offer the opportunity to question imposed realities by discovering other perspectives while meeting people from different communities.
Her inspiring message for people regarding reconciliation and cooperation between communities was “to “undress” from the things we know, to deconstruct the truth and to research, to be skeptical, curious as much as possible and never to stop, and I think that the best way is to find common pain and love”.
This was only the first episode of the podcast recording as part of the Storytelling component part of the Reconciliation and Conflict Transformation Activity, other podcasts will be on the way with inspiring and positive stories on reconciliation and trust-building process in Kosovo.
This event was a part of the Reconciliation & Conflict Transformation Activity, implemented by Community Building Mitrovica and partners from New Social Initiative and Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Kosovo, and supported by the American people through USAID Kosovo.