Balkan Youth is on Fire

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The last day of January was a really special one for the Balkan youth and Balkans Let’s Get Up!, one regional program which brought  young people together and helped them to make a change in their society in a very inventive way. Energetic alumni and organizers of BLGU! program expressed their desire to make a joint action and do something interesting in their surroundings, and in a same time, spread the word about the Organization which had such a big influence on them. Youth from seven cities came up with different ideas for mini-projects which they developed on 31. of January.

Some groups were going around their home towns making interviews on various topics relevant for the society. In Banja Luka a group was asking, young people mostly, what peace meant to them, and what they thought they could do to promote it. After that, they would give them a candy as a present for their participation in a poll, and explained them what BLGU! was and what opportunities it offerd. Whit this, they wanted to make people think about their role in peace building, since Banja Luka is the city which was affected with the war in the nineties and the consequences are still visible.

The group from Belgrade, used similar tactic, just they were curious to hear the answer on question: “What do you need in order to be happy and satisfied?”. After talking with youngsters all around the town they would take a photo of them with their needs/wishes written on the paper. The pictures were used for the composition of one slide show, that aims to present the needs of young people they meet on that day.

Others were thinking about the spirit and health, so they organized free yoga session for everyone in Pristina. Yoga is something new in their society, interesting and relaxing, and therefore this group decided to attract young people to come to the event. After one hour of yoga, instructors, who are BLGU! Alumni in a same time, discussed with participants about Balkan Let’s Get Up!, activities, as well as their positive experiences from the program.

In Ruse, former participants of BLGU! wanted to remind us of the things which were once important to us, and faded through the time. They made a video based on interviews with kids not older than eight, who were talking about their dreams, what they wanted to be when they grow up, who were their superheroes, and what would they do with the superpowers. Video aims to promote dreaming and the innocence of the young, to have people thinking about the wishes they left behind which are more important than all the bad things that are happening nowadays caused with greed and hatred.

Alumni from Belgrade and Subotica joined their power in order to make a short film about the experience of BLGU! participants and examples of their civil engagement during and after the program. All interested alumni were invited to contribute the action with filming one minute video on this topics which would be gathered into a inspirational-movie that will attract more people to join BLGU! cause in any way they want.

Some of the alumni had more artistic ideas like drawing a map of the Balkans decorated with the word friend written in all the Balkan languages, together with the names of all participants. This hand-made masterpiece sent from Ankara is visualizing friendships and cooperation made in the Balkans through the Program.

Two members of BLGU! who are currently situated in Berlin, were baking cupcakes and walked around public transportation and the city to offer them to people without a home. They had in mind that beside their economical difficulties, people living on the streets often say that social stigma and isolation despite being in the midst of people all day is among their bigger challenges. They wanted to use cakes as an evidence of attention, as a conversation starter to interact with them, or just to make someone happy for 30 seconds.

Those participants who were not able to make some mini-action on this day, were supporting their friends on social networks, excitedly waiting for the news, spreading the outcomes on their pages in order to make them visible to everybody and give one positive example to the broader public.

“Let’s Get Up! Day”, how the action got a name, is just one of the many things that BLGU! does since it started with its work. Every year more than twenty people aged between 18 and 27 from all over the Balkans are discussing various issues which are concerning their society, learning about project management, developing their projects and among all- building understanding and friendship among the nations which were in conflict for many years.

This is one good opportunity for youngsters to come together and through the seminars and gatherings break the prejudices which are still present in this area. With the opportunities to develop some joint projects and create various actions like “Let’s Get Up! Day”, they are opening the space for discussion, and finding suggestions for the problems which are currently affecting their environment. Programs like BLGU! are very valuable because they are building one new generation of people who, while sharing their experiences, will be able to see clearly the world that surrounds them and have more understanding for each other. All this will help reducing disparities among nations, and in that way make conditions for living in peace.

Application for Spring Schools 2015 are open until 1st of March.

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