Camping lifestyle: Fostering friendship between young people from different communities while learning the basics of beekeeping

Category: Blog
Organizations: UNMIK , Young Active Gracanica , United Youth Task Force

Next to the campfire, in tents under the open sky, while eating barbecue, through shared life experiences and joint practical work, young people from different communities in Kosovo, learned about beekeeping and intercultural learning. Socialization of young people with acquisition of new skills was organized within the three-day multi-ethnic interactive camp (Bees-Building Camp) held toward the end of September in Preoce, near Gracanica.

"There were 20 young people from the Albanian, Serbian and Roma communities at the camp. Some of them are frequent participants in our workshops. I can freely say that immediately after arriving in Preoce, they were ready to work, socialize, get to know each other, exchange experiences and opinions with each other. On the first day of the camp, we also made beer spiced with honey together with Isak Vorgučić from the craft brewery Pivdžan," says Petar Đorđević from the NGO Young Active Gračanica, which organized the event.

The campers could learn about beekeeping, maintenance and management of hives, gardening, planting, painting - Djordjevic points out.

And why beekeeping?

"Youth activism is one of its main goals of Young Active Gracanica. We come up with various ideas to involve young people in as many activities as possible. A couple of years ago, I started beekeeping and saw how important bees are to the ecosystem and the environment in which we live," he said, quoting Albert Einstein.

"If bees disappeared from the Earth's surface, humanity would have no more than four years left."

The goal was to make young people understand the importance of bees and their role in the ecosystem, as well as "offer the possibility of intercultural learning and bring young people from different communities closer together," Djordjevic points out.

"With the great commitment and will of the participants, all the set goals have been achieved and we, as a team, are very satisfied with the final results of the camp," also said the representative of the NGO YAG.

Bees, honey and peace

"The experience is phenomenal. I recently started to be interested in bees, because I realized their importance, and a way of life interesting for an insect. At camp I could learn a lot about bees. In addition to beekeeping and acquired knowledge about the life of bees, we had the opportunity to learn something about the process of making homemade beer with honey, planting various plants, painting techniques. Also, I met a lot of people with similar interests from different communities. Through interesting workshops and interaction with other camp participants, we learned, but also had time to socialize, "says one of the participants, Lidija Masic.

A similar opinion is shared by Evrih Bexheti and Anesa Lahi.

"The impressions are great. We got along and gained a lot of new knowledge about bees and honey. My expectations were to go and learn fun things about bees and honey, but they were surpassed when we also learned how to make beer. Also, I learned new Serbian and Russian words, which gives me hope that peace is closer than ever," Evrih points out.

"This camp was different from the others, because the topic was unique and special. The participants of the camp were very sociable, I felt very pleasant, and was open to talk to them about many topics. Even when we discussed formal topics, we were free to express our opinion at any time. I learned many things - general information about bees, their organization, their importance for the planet, how to make a beehive, but I also listened to the experiences of other students. I can say that this was one of the camps where I gained knowledge and enjoyed it at the same time," adds Anesa.

Plans for the future

Given the positive reactions of young people, does the NGO Young Active Gračanica for plan similar activities?

"Our organization is currently implementing two projects. The Project that does not Require Translation is based on identifying the same words in Serbian and Albanian and the ultimate goal of this project is to compile a dictionary with the words that are the same in Albanian and Serbian. Peace Journalism among Young People in Kosovo is a project within which young people learn and do internships in the field of peace journalism. We work a lot, but we also have a lot of ideas and inspiration for work," explains Djordjevic.

The project Bees-Building Camp is supported by the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the United Youth Task Force (UYTF).