We all have a role in facilitating peace personally, locally, and globally! by Aoileann Conway (YMCA Ireland)

Name: Aoileann ConwayWhere I live: N. IrelandProfession: Community Youth Work (Ulster University graduate)Age: 24Interesting fact: I live for the outdoors and a good cup of tea!

m-power is a youth project that is in nine YMCA’s and one YWCA and delivered in 10 locations across the isle of Ireland. The youth project is supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV program and naturally concerns itself with building, promoting, and facilitating peace. The three core pillars in which the project is based are good relations, personal development, and citizenship.Each program is delivered by qualified, professional youth workers in a non-formal, youth work setting. It offers qualifications, new experiences, adventure, outdoor pursuits, sports, difficult discussions, and a time to reflect.Each program has the same foundation, yet no two are the same as they are rooted in meeting the needs of individual young people to support their growth and personal development.I deliver the youth project acr…

From a Volunteer to a Project Manager by Zana

Hi I am Zana, not such an ordinary 23 year-old from Peja, at least I’ve been told so! The thing about me is that I am an extrovert with a bit of extra energy and creativity that needs to be channelled, and I started noticing that after I was out of university. Day dreaming of social equality and looking for opportunities to make a change, and as most of the youth I was eager to find somewhere I belong a space I can be me. Now here is how my YMCA journey starts.

So my friend invited me to this new training called I Am Whole in the YMCA in Peja, so it thought I would give it a try. Being a psychology student at the time I was amazed at the work I saw in those mental health sessions. Young people were learning about subjects we as a society never talked about; anxiety, phobias, mindfulness, body image all of these topics were and are considered taboo. I remember thinking at the time... now this is a platform where people should join. After we shared a lot of memories, fears, and happines…

The door is always open by Valentina

I’m Valentina and I am a youth worker at the  YMCA in my city- Peja and this is my story…

I was always a very hard-working person and very empathic I always loved helping people that is why I chose Social Work as my study field and from a very young age I got the chance to participate in different NGO’s as a volunteer so my love for being able to help people change started from a very young age and still grows.

After being a semester abroad and then coming back here without any idea what to do after my graduation, and for me as an very active person it was really hard. I got stuck between a lot of applications, always searching for the right one.

One of my friends who was a volunteer in this NGO called YMCA  shared some posts about what they do and I started thinking what would I do if I was there too?  And  there it was! A job application, while I was reading it, I thought  I would love to be part of this family so I’m really going to try. After I applied I was hoping…

I liked the idea of a new place to pass my free time by Leon

I'm Leon from Peja. I first heard about the YMCA at school when YMCA staff introduced the organization and from there I liked the idea of a new place to pass my free time and express my thoughts.

Leon whith friends at Peja Y
I started with the 'mYcommunity' program where we held 8 meetings. During these 8 weeks, we discussed various topics and one that I found interesting was Democracy because I never heard about it in school.  How people in ancient times in Greece have discussed in large groups and decided for their state/ cities. While nowadays, however, it is not as old as before, when poor people did not have the right to vote but now we are all equal in our cities regardless of gender, ethnicity, and age.

Leon while playing the Leader Game
In addition to the sessions, I also enjoyed the activities or games during the sessions and the opportunity to express my thoughts freely. Also, in the end, we as a group have prepared a video for ‘‘Violence against Children'…

The right to participate in decision-making processes by Njomza

I’m Njomza. I'm 15 years old and I'm from Gjakova.

Njomza Bytyqi
I've heard from many friends about the YMCA and they suggest me to be part of the YMCA. I participated in the ‘’mYcommunity’’ program where we discussed Democracy, Prejudice, Volunteering, Stereotypes and many other topics. During this time in this program, the topic which I have liked the most was about Prejudice and Stereotypes. In my opinion, prejudices are unnecessary. In everyday life, we should not use them because we must love everyone as they are without changing anything to them because we do not like them.

Njomza while reading for her group
We, the whole group, have participated in the assembly meeting of the Municipality of Gjakova, which was held together with the Mayor and the citizens. There we learned that we as citizens have the right to participate in decision-making processes, to complain about issues that concern us, such as hospitals, parking lots, traffic lights, taxation, etc. So there w…

We as citizens help to make our city a better place to live by Ela

I am Ela Perolli, I'm from the city of Gjakova and I'm part of the YMCA.

Ela Perolli
My story began at 'mYcommunity' program. I feel so lucky that I had the chance to be part of it because we had so much fun and we discussed various topics such as volunteering, democracy, prejudice, leadership, stereotypes, violence, and feminism.

The topic that I liked the most was democracy, where we watched a video of how it started in Greece. We learned that democracy is not just about voting, but also about protecting people's interests, regardless of race, gender, religion or political opinion. Now I realized that it is good that our state is a democratic place and we are all equal before the law. Also, we were in the municipal assemblies meeting where we heard about citizens' complaints and problems. I felt good listening to citizens talking about their problems in the community because by complaining, working, and commenting on the work of the Municipality, we as citize…

I immediately applied online! by Olta

My name's Olta Nallbani. I'm 16 years old and I'm from Gjakova. I’m currently participating in the 21st Century Skills Program organized at Innovation HUB Gjakova. I learned about the project through social media and I have immediately applied online for both the Environment and Skills for work projects.

Olta Nalbani
Both programs are very entertaining, because they are conducted through very creative activities that are fun and engaging, while at the same time socializing.

At the Environment Program themes are focused on climate change crisis, where apart from learning about statistics and climate change around the globe, we are encouraged to walk, bicycle, save water, clean the environment and take community actions.

Olta with her frinds at Innovation HUB Gjakova
While at the Skills for Jobs, we have been introduced to soft skills that are necessary to know in the 21st century. So far in this project we learned about how to write an official email, how to write a CV and …