Empowerment and education of young people and assistance to the wider community - is common to three organizations - LINK from Mitrovica, Innovation Center from Gracanica (GIC) and BONEVET from Pristina. The focus of their activities is working with young people in the field of modern technology, while with the beginning of the pandemic caused by the corona virus, they started the production and distribution of protective visors, thus contributing to the fight against Covid-19. We talked about the mission and the results so far with their representatives - LINK Executive Director Marko Rakić, BONEVET Marketing Officer Besfort Behrami and GIC PR Kristina Jevtić.
All three organizations have the same goal - to support young people.
"We wanted to help young people become independent in terms of financial independence," Rakic said.
"We place the greatest emphasis on young people with the goal and desire to prevent their migration, to enable and help them create in their city," states Jevtić.
"BONEVET's mission is to create strong generations so that, in the next 50 years, they can face the unique challenges of human history," Behrami said.
In line with the mission, the main educational program implemented by BONEVET is Project Based Learning (PBL).
"One of the main projects in which our children participated is the creation of an electric vehicle. The main focus of our organization is the STREAM educational system, we believe that it is the future", explains Behrami, whose organization, in addition to young people, also deals with children aged 5 to 14 and the development of the so-called soft skills as well as individual talents of children.
Along with something older, GIC also deals with the same age group of children.
"Of the programs we run, I can highlight robotics competitions for children aged 5 to 15, then competitions in aduin for young people aged 15 to 23. There are also academic English TOEFL courses, as well as training on a 3D printer, design modeling and a web design course," adds Jevtić.
On the other hand, through the activities of Mitrovica's LINK, those aged 15 to 35 should be additionally educated, because "everyone deserves a second chance", Rakić believes.
"Our role was to acquire, promote and improve the position of these people, which we do," he said, adding that in the past four years, about fifteen programming trainings have been conducted, and that in addition to these trainings, LINK is currently working on encouraging thinking about entrepreneurship among high school students.
The programs implemented by these three organizations do not recognize nationality, but are created for members of all communities living in Kosovo.
"We worked on programs for both parts of the city (South and North Mitrovica), we had almost the same number of registered Serbs and Albanians, there were Bosniaks, Roma, Gorani ... There were never any problems, no one gave up because they were there Serbs, or because there are Albanians," says Rakic.
Other interlocutors have similar experiences.
"We are glad that they all work great together, because their focus is a better future, with better interethnic cooperation," Jevtic points out.
"BONEVET has so far given birth to many generations from all communities living in Kosovo, regardless of the entities or religions to which they belong, and which are today skilled and very professional in various fields," Behrami said.
In the relations of different communities, trust is important. What does it mean for our interlocutors?
"Trust is crucial for how we communicate in everyday life with others, or with someone new. That is the key component in an efficient relationship," Behrami said.
"Trust is something that is built over a long period of time and that is constantly maintained. Trust in the first place includes security and calm when it comes to a person I trust, both on a business and private level," Jevtić points out.
"When someone asked me what was most needed to create some interaction between communities, I said it was an interest. That is the first thing that should exist - that young people have an interest in cooperating for some reason, but if you ask me what it takes for them to continue to socialize after that, I think it is trust. Through interest, they must gain something that we call trust that could produce a normal and healthy society," concludes Rakić.
LINK, BONEVET and the Innovation Center from the beginning of the year are connected by another activity, and that is the production and distribution of protective visors. GIC has so far produced over 5,000 visors distributed to healthcare, educational institutions and citizens.
An impressive 15,000 and 17,000 visors, respectively, were produced by LINK and BONEVET.
This project is supported by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and is implemented by the New Social Initiative. Expressed opinions represent the authors’ views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, UNMIK or New Social Initiative.