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Showing posts from 2014

Visiting the Ys Men in Denmark

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In 2013 a partnership was struck between GWY (YMCA Kosovo) and the Y's Men in Denmark, in 2014 our movement embarked on opening the first charity/NGO shop in Kosovo with the help and support of the Y's Men club in Holstenbro. An application from our movement to the international  'Time of Fast' fund was also successful. 
With the help of our friend Arne Nielsen I was able to visit them recently. Arne's help and support has been fantastic and motivating for us to work together and the members there really believe in making the world a better place.

My visit was from the 8th-12th of December and through this days I had a chance to see first hand where the clothes donation for Kosovo comes from, how they prepare them and the wonderful people behind the project. 


I also had an opportunity to be present at the Ys Men meeting where they spoke about Kosovo and the process of the donation and commitment for help. I felt all the way through the meeting very inspired by the…

Doruntina helps Lead Change

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My name is Doruntina and I’m a part of  YMCA in Kosovo. The first time I heard about this organization I though why not to go to a place where I can raise my voice. I’m so happy that there’s a place where the youth have the opportunity to follow their dreams.


I went to the YMCA for the first time in May for their Leadership Project and I’m still part of that today, now in level 2. I really enjoy the sessions and now i am also a peer trainer. In fact YMCA helped me a lot, day by day I got a lot more confident and I had no more fear to confront others.I learned to reduce prejudice and not to be part of stereotypes. I learned how its important to volunteer and what critical and constructive thinking is. Most of all I just being part of this amazing organisation.
Since my first session in the Leadership project i knew I wanted to be a peer trainer, and now I have a wonderful group with 10 great people.They’re so interested to learn and to support each other, and I love their creative ide…

The only door that was open...

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Hi my name is Lena, and my heart belongs to YMCA!
Why do I have such a big love for YMCA... because its the first organisation that opened the doors towards my dreams. It was summer 2009 when I heard about YMCA for the first time, I joined them and since then my doors have opened to everywhere.

I was so eager to learn and experience different cultures, the Y showed me how people from different cultures and backgrounds can live and function together as one. Through the Y I met so many people from all over the world that gather in one placed called the YMCA... they bring change and they help others.
I traveled and learned a lot with YMCA. Being a woman who was born and raised in Kosovo, I had very few opportunities to see how the world functions outside of my borders. With the Y I have traveled around Europe, meeting important people and learning from them, improving my English, being part of different projects that made me feel that I am worthy and I can be someone in life.
In Spring 2013,…

That City is Awesome!

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This year I participated in the “Youth in Peace Education” Training that took place in Istanbul from 22-28 of September. The training was organized by IYLA, UNICEF and HABITAT. It’s main topic was on how to achieve peace, how to deal with conflicts and conflict analysis. We had two great coaches from Germany and Catalonia, they taught us many things that I know I will always need!
I found out about this training on a Facebook group that’s about youth. It’s kind of funny because two days before finding out about this training I told my family that I would like to go to Istanbul. So, I felt really happy when I saw the application. I read the description and knew that it would be a great experience.  After that two amazing ladies helped me with the application answers, the YMCAs CEO gave me a great reference which i needed for the training. On September 4th, I got an e-mail saying that I was accepted. I couldn't feel happier!
On September 22nd, I traveled from Pristina to Istanbul, …

Something wonderful with people you never knew

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For me the peace conference in Pristina, organised by YMCA Europe on 09/09/2014 was the first conference i ever attended. Before going there I was skeptical and thought it would a boring thing... just five days to spend somewhere else.
Well I was wrong… Those five days were the best of it’s kind and I enjoyed them very much! The first day we were the first ones to arrive at Hotel Pristina and as the host country it was our duty and pleasure to host other YMCA groups from other Balkan countries (YMCA England and Ireland joined us too ). You could see by our facilitators and organizers faces, their confidence and joy... this was the first indicator to me that its going to be a good and productive peace conference!


Everyday there was a different country who explained their conflicts and what are they doing to find a solution to peace, everybody were involved by asking and answering questions and doing lots of ‘icebreakers’ which helped us remain active all the time.
We visited some cult…

The time of my life by Ariana

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After 11 hours of traveling we finally arrived in Thessaloniki. We were very excited. First we went to YMCA building or XANO how the Greeks call it. It was awesome it had basketball courts, volleyball courts, and a girl showed us around. I loved the YMCA shop, it was amazing. After that we got on the bus and had 2 hours on the road where we arrived at Halkidiki camp.


After we sent our suitcases to the accommodation we went to eat dinner. We were then shown the camp rules. There was a bell and everyday it rang at 7:45 so the marikes (χαχα):some of us who had to lay the table and serve, had to go. After that there was another bell ringing at 8:00 so that everyone could go to the dinning hall and eat. After the marikes served the meal it was time for the prayers and after that we started eating and we couldn't leave the table until everyone was finished!

The first day we were split in four groups that had two or three leaders and they took us on a tour to the camp .After that we went t…

Paradise on Earth by Pylljon

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Well, it was quite a new and attractive place for us or should i say for us youth... travelling to Greece was living a reality between antique and modern life, surfing through Thessaloniki at first, it was a great city with all the ingredients of Greek history.


All over amazing sights, all across downtown we saw special things and buildings, and then... the YMCA building. When we first saw that place, we thought is all this building for the YMCA? or only half of it?.. but no, it was huge! Everything was organized as it should be, a place where youth can express themselves, can reflect freedom and spend time with friends. A pool, a mini-market, a basketball hall, a mini church, lots of activity rooms and many many other things like cups, awards and we wished that one day we would have a YMCA like this, what an amazing place!


We moved from Thessaloniki for a hour and a half to Halkidiki - paradise on earth.The camp was populated by mostly Greek youth and we were the only Albanians there…

From Colorado to Karabakh

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My good friend Andy from YMCA Ireland recently wrote a blog stating "I have no idea how i ended up here!" and yet, as i sit here on the floor in Vienna airport waiting for lost property to open... i completely feel the same way.

The truth is its been an extraordinary month, i attended the YMCA World Council in Colorado and had an experience that few in our movement will ever have. Leading sessions with my peers, networking with the world, meeting old and new friends and speaking about the work done in Kosovo. I also had the honor of speaking on the opening day, and despite a dry mouth, a none conforming screen and a voice in the shadows telling me to "hurry up" ... i rather enjoyed the experience!


World Council Speech
A special moment i would like to share with you was during excursion day, i had chosen to visit the museum and was joined from by around 30 members of YMCA Nigeria. As we were weaving our way through the mountains the tour guide declared "i unders…

Natyra at YMCA France

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Hello to everyone. I’m  Natyra Xharavina and I’m part of leadership project for YMCA in Kosovo.  I was chosen along with  7 other to attend a conference in France, it took place at  YMCA Salm, near Schirmeck. It was a three nations Democracy Conference held from the 22-28th of June and was hosted by YMCA /UCJG France.
“The different forms of Democracy in Europe” was a multilateral project for young people of Germany, France and Kosovo  between 18 and 25 years old. During this conference we examined the various forms of democracy in Europe, starting with reflections about our own country. Taking into account the several elections which were held during these three last years, we had to show if we were affected by politics in our country and Europe as well.  Moreover,  the discussions included religions, culture, but also the social problems such as poverty and unemployment.  
By using a creative approach of informal learning through artistic presentations, cooking workshops and langu…

Qendresa at the Democracy Conference

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My name is Qendresa and recently GWY (YMCA Kosovo) gave me the chance to go to France for a Three Nations Democracy conference at YMCA Salm. When i first applied i was not sure if i am going to be chosen so the waiting part was not easy, then one morning i opened my computer and i read that i was accepted... i was so happy i was jumping in the air!



After preparing the documents for visas we traveled to Skopje airport and it was my first ever flight! I was a bit nervous and scared but everything went well and we landed in Basel and then traveled by train to where we had to meet the trainers.We all had a really great time traveling together and meeting the trainers was great as they were very nice and friendly. 
When we arrived met the rest of the group, very lovely people. The place we stayed was a very beautiful house near the lake with  a beautiful mountain surrounding. The town was a bit far and we did not have an internet connection which at first i thought would be horrifying but th…

Keep Walking...

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2004. YMCA Europe was organizing "Catch the vision" in Prizren, a multiethnical, multicultural city in a new and unknown territory: Kosovo. When I got the email confirming that I will be one of the participants I was very happy and curious to find out more about the place. Unfortunately at that time not too much information was available, so I ended up in Pristina airport, surrounded by military forces from different countries, getting a KFOR stamp in my passport. It was one of the first "wow" experiences in my YMCA life.
The image of the parking at the airport was a bit strange for someone who had not seen any weapon so far. Tanks and military cars, helicopters and barbed wire all over the place. I was waiting with other participants and all the faces around me were scared and concerned. Prizren was indeed a real experience: buildings, architecture, food, smells, people, thousand of electric generators on the streets making a huge noise. Lack of current water, heati…

Armir in Macedonia

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Hi everyone, my name is Armir and I’m a member of GWY in Kosovo. Just recently I got the chance to go on a Training conference which took place in Macedonia from 4th to 12th of June. It was hosted by CID within the YiA program. 

 The first 5 days were hold in Mavrovo where we the participants shared our ideas and opinions about different topics and on the 5th day we gathered everything we talked about and started to prepare for the big conference which lasted 3 days in Shkup where we had to make a presentation there about the role of YiA in youth work development.


The overall aims and objectives of this  project were:
1. To explore the local impact of the projects and their quality and sustainability
2. To discuss  the development of youth work
3. To accumulate opinions for youth work recognition in different countries and on European level.


There were 49 participants from all over the EU, so I’m very happy that i had the chance to meet all those people, all of them with different la…

Puppet Show Project with Alban

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The puppet show project has been funded through "Culture for all" and is An EU funded project managed by the European Union Office in Kosovo. 
Hello, my name is Alban and I am part of the Puppet Show Project team in Kosovo. It is a new project that GWY  has brought to Kosovo. A few days ago we gave our first performance in a kindergarten called AGU in Gjakova, i want to thank Sebahate Efendija director of this garden for hospitality and they made us feel very welcome.

I am very proud to be one of the initiators of this project in Kosovo and it was a great pleasure to work with children. This was the first time that we gave our performance and I think everything went just as it should. Together with the team we have experienced many funny moments, especially during the rehearsals. As a team we are very cooperative and I hope that everything will go according to our plans.
I said earlier that it is a new project in Kosovo and hope it has much success. Kosovo children need such pe…

Arita visits YMCA Finland

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My name is Arita and I’m the program coordinator for our after school project here in Kosovo. I got the chance to go on a study visit to YMCA Finland and see up close their work and what  they are doing in their YMCA, including their after school programs. Jenni Enqvist the leader of our field group and National board member of YMCA Finland made this possible for us.

When we first arrived in Helsinki we stayed in the Arthur hotel, this also had space for projects. The hotel was incredible! Afterwards, we had the chance to meet the director Timo Laulaja and one of their staff from the after school program, Tuomas Makela. Their hospitality and what they had organized for us is something I will always remember. Everything went according to the agenda and they presented to us their work. I also got the chance to visit the other halls and rooms where the after school program runs, and I kept telling myself “One day we will be like this too!”

We continued the trip in Turku where we were ag…

A Manicure in the Dark by Jan Pate

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Jan has been instrumental bringing the YMCA to Kosovo, she is a very important field group member that supports our  development and she brings much needed experience and vision, this has earned her the nickname "mom" in our movement. Here she shares an article she wrote after living here.