Showing posts from 2019

A short but memorable visit...

A short but memorable visit...
This month August 2019 the YMCA celebrated its 175th birthday, which was held in London. We volunteered at this 4-day event, where our goal was to represent Kosovo and tell about our work at the YMCA.

In addition to participating in the workshops, we also had the honor of leading our own workshops, sharing our culture with other people.
Not only did we share our culture, we also got to know many other cultures from around the world, where we also had the opportunity to make friends with other young people who were part of the event.

And finally, we took a stroll through London visiting some of the many tourist sites and museums.

I had the opportunity to gain an experience that I can share with everyone by Diona

A trip to London…
The journey we undertook had a purpose: Attending the YMCA175 event, where we as a delegation from Kosovo had the honor of sharing the beautiful work of our youth with the world, how they help the community, empower youth and how it has impacted and continues to impact, influence. The YMCA is a place where young people can make a difference and feel valued in their community.

I am fortunate to have the honor and privilege to be part of leading one of the many workshops of that event where I had the opportunity to share our culture and the role of young people from my country in empowering youth and changing socializing with people who were eagerly attending and involved in the session we had prepared!

Also, during this time I had the opportunity to participate in various workshops where I had the opportunity to get to know a large number of people from all over the world, with a diversity of cultures, with their work and how they wanted to influence for a change! I h…

YMCA gave me the chance to meet new people by Inesa Nikoliqi

Hello everyone. I’m Inesa Nikoliqi and I have been part of YMCA Kosova since 2015. Being part of YMCA Kosovo has given me the best experiences for these years, I learned how to change things for good starting from myself to my society.

I started from Leadership training to a lot of other trainings like Y Woman, SDG, Scouts,  etc. And now I’m a Peer Trainer of a Leadership group. So being part of these groups YMCA gave me the chance to visit YMCA France to meet new people and let me know about different cultures from different places.

We have been trained on the topic of "Integration of Migrants in Europe" , where through discussions, different activities and games we have learned about the migrants' struggles and how difficult it is for them to leave their country because of the wars, schooling or the economic reasons.

Part of our trip was a visit to the European Council house, which is a place of hope for the right to the benefit of society, with international law.


An unforgettable adventure by Jora

When I first found out that I was chosen to go to London for YMCA 175 I was too excited, not only because I was going to London but also it was my first time in an airplane and my first time in an international event with YMCA. As days went by, the 3rd of August finally came. After a day of traveling, we saw our self in London. I still couldn't believe it. For the event, we had to take part in different workshops that were held by different countries around the world. We also had to lead a workshop "TenSing in a new country" which was on the last day of the event. The first day was amazing... It was the opening of the event where our ambassador Florent Abrashi sang some amazing songs, creating a wonderful atmosphere. The second day went great.

 I took part on workshops about wellness, leadership, and inclusion, which made me learn a lot about those topics and I’m happy that I can share that knowledge with our youth. Also, we met some friends from Frost Valley. They were s…

YMCA is where I feel free to be myself by Erblina Mahaj

I’m Erblina, an 18 year old volunteer in the YMCA. I really wanted to be part of the organization ever since I heard of it.

I learned many things that I didn’t know before, things that aren’t discussed even in classrooms. YMCA is where I feel free to be myself and the people there make you feel like you’re part of a family. What I liked most about the sessions in the Ten Sing program is that besides drawing we have the chance to make friends, play a bit of music and discuss different topics each session.

When I first became a trainer of the Arts group in the Ten Sing program, I and the participants found the space to express our creativity and try new things. I wasn’t sure I would be great at helping them learn more about art, but afterwards, I started feeling more comfortable and shared with them what I knew about drawing and painting.

Being part of the Leadership program and completing 3 modules has also helped me a lot with my leadership skills and helped me become the best leade…

I have a right to express myself by Adea Pantinaj

I’m Adea Pantinaj, 15 years old from Peja, Kosovo. I was the only girl in the group when I registered which is why I felt a little lonely. Through time, I realized that, no matter how or what, I have a right to express myself and I don’t have to feel lonely, and also that YMCA doesn’t differentiate between any age, gender, religion, race, etc. 

When I’m at the YMCA I feel like I’m home. I’ve had some very lovely experiences in the organization, including the chance to try different kinds of art. 

I feel good every time I’m at the YMCA Peja center, and I always look forward to the next sessions as I have a lot of fun learning and hanging out with the friends I’ve made there. Everybody at the center is friendly which makes every session even more attractive. Right from the start, I learned a lot of things that nobody even mentioned in school, yet every individual should know. Besides this, I learned a lot of things about the organization and also learned that volunteering doesn’t know age…

YMCA is the best thing you can attend in your teen years by Natyra Shabi

I’m Natyra, a young fifteen years old volunteer in the YMCA community. First things first, I must say that I’ve never explored countries other than Kosovo and its neighbors so my story may not be as exciting as the others, but believe me when I say, YMCA is the best thing you can attend in your teen years.

I joined the YMCA a year and a half ago as a fun activity with my friends. At the time, the only thing I knew about it was the song: It’s fun to stay at the YMCA. And it turned out to be true!

I found out about our organization at school and it seemed like a cool activity I could do. Besides, I had a lot of free time so why not? Our first session was on a Sunday and I was very shy. I remember that the games we played that day were so fun, I didn’t even realise I was learning so much throughout them. Most of the time when our sessions were done, me and my friends would hang out more at the center because we just couldn’t leave the good vibe that was always surrounding the place. A quic…

Making a change in my community by Elion Brada

Hi everyone, I am Elion Brada! A 16 year old youngster from Peja enrolled in the first year of high school, studying for natural sciences in “Bedri Pejani” Gymnasium. Today, I would like to share with you my journey within the YMCA, to be honest, it is not a long one, but truly saying it has been a wonderful experience for me and it still continues to be so.

The first time I heard for the YMCA it was through my sister, when she was my age she joined YMCA as a volunteer too, recently, she become a board member. Within the YMCA she not only had the chance to learn new things, gain experience in leadership, but she also made new friends and visited places. Seeing her engagement within this organization, the things she and her peers were doing for the community, I decided to follow her path and join the YMCA. 

When I first started I have to say that I was a bit unsure if I really wanted to be part of this organization, moreover I was scared if I was going to have the success that my sist…

Mental Health Work in Kosovo by Dorina G

I am Dorina Gllogjani and I have been part of the YMCA for 4 years from now.  In this road, I have been involved in different programs and projects in and outside of Kosovo. But I can definitely say that there are two moments that I cherish the most during these experiences.

My first international experience with the YMCA was in England and in this training I have had the chance to hear for the first time that there are YMCA’s in the World that have different programs for mental health. Since I have studied psychology and I have worked for some years with children with autism, I have always been familiar with the discrimination, prejudice, and stigmatisation that this part of society faces in my country. And this was the exact moment when I know that this is what I want to do in the YMCA.

In our YMCA we have been very careful and have paid great attention for the mental health of young people with whom we have worked with, taking care to provide them with a place where they will feel s…

YMCA is just like a compass by Elsa Haxhija

Hello, I am Elsa and I am 15 years old these two years has taught me more than I ever expected. 

My adventure at the YMCA has been with a lot of surprises. First, the YMCA for me was a place to spend time, do something out of my routine. And now day after day, session after session, it became something else, it gained a deeper meaning, it became one of the places that I could not wait to go and learn how to deal with yourself and others.

What I learned during my time at the YMCA is that you can be a really good leader. For me the YMCA is just like a compass, it directs you to the right and good things and the important part of this is the journey that we go through.

The best thing for me is having the opportunity to become a trainer for the Leadership Program. Finally, I got to do something I really enjoy and that helps me with my development!

it’s our YMCA! by Vullnet Jakupi

I’m Vullnet, being part of the YMCA have been one of the best parts of my life. Not only did I make new friends meet new people, but I changed a lot in a good way. For me, as a young man was a great opportunity to show my self, to speak up, to talk about my dreams, to say what is it in my mind without having the fear of judgement, which helped me to travel from my introvert self to an extroverted me now. Thanks to the YMCA.

I was part of many programs here at the YMCA. Starting with the Leadership, Ten Sing (Art Group), Scouts, YWoMen etc. All of them were special to me. After finishing one, I was always felt the content had challenged me and changed how i think and feel about certain things, like a new person inside. Besides learning new things, I had the chance to liver those new things, the topics we have worked on have taught us how to stay strong in life, how to deal with ourselves as adults. But the most wonderful gift the YMCA gave us was empowerment.

The YMCA helped many chil…

We are here for one another by Idea Peja

My second family: YMCA
Many people tell us how a home isn't always a four walls building, isn't always just our family by blood, but home is where the heart is. Where you feel good with the people around, what you give and what they give...

That's what YMCA offers you: A second home, to spread your most beautiful self, around beautiful people.

I've been part of the YMCA for a couple of years now, and I have enjoyed every second of it. I have been part of many programs, trainings, where I had so much fun, but one that I'll always love is the "Mental Health" program.

It has taught us so much how to control our emotions, face our fears, and stay in peace with ourselves. It helps us, as teenagers, to understand that there is nothing wrong to not know what you're feeling most of the times, and to help us grow healthy.

 To help each other, because that's what we do at the YMCA: We're here for one another, to accept, love, and cherish every moment wh…

The YMCA is my second home by Jehon Alikckaj

I'm Jehon Alikckaj from Decan and I'm in 'Vellezrit Frasheri' high school. I joined YMCA last year, where I am part of the Leadership and TenSing program.

This organization has helped me a lot since it has made me more compassionate and has offered me the space to express myself  without prejudice by anyone, it has offered me space for my words to be heard considering that Kosovar society is very much perceived by the opinions of others. Also, the YMCA has also connected me with new friends from the municipalities of Gjakova, Peja and Junik where this organization has its other centers, this also helped me with critical thinking and sharing realities with youth from other cities.

The YMCA my second home and so it will always remain.  I encouraged all young people from Kosovo to join the YMCA and similar organisations as this helps you discover the best parts of yourself.

The YMCA became an open door by Erza Hakaj

My name is Erza Hakaj, I am 16 years old from Decan. I joined the YMCA last year and I learned many different topics that belong to the Leadership program, through them we have developed our YMCA and it has become an open door that has offered me and many young people the space to do activities, games where each of them has a powerful message to us that we will remember during different stages of life.

I've been part of TenSing program also where I've challenged myself in different fields of art. The reason why I chose the YMCA is that we are all equal when we have a week of overloading a place like the YMCA enables us to entertain and express what we think without fear of judging us, we have the right to do whatever we want including what we need.

Through my training I got the skills and confidence to become a Peer Trainer, the YMCA has given me this chance and now I have my own team to lead, I believe  this experience will stay for a long time with me and help my development…

No wonder all my relatives live in Switzerland! – by Ari.

No wonder all my relatives live in Switzerland! – by Ari.
Hey guys, I’m Ari and I’ve been a volunteer in the YMCA for 3 and a half years now. I joined the YMCA to have a place where I can hang out with my friends, but little did I know that I was starting a life journey that would shape and nurture me as a leader and person! Week by week I was taught and challenged with incremental tasks that promoted good values; I was pushed towards independence gradually, and when the time came, I was given the opportunity to travel and represent my country in Switzerland! 
The day came when we had to set off. Luckily our flights were a breeze and we didn’t have any problems while traveling. We first set foot in the beautiful city of Geneva and had a few spare hours to stroll around the vast city. Wandering through Geneva, I was continuously reminded of how small we actually are, and how there’s an endless world waiting to be seen and marveled. The streets, the people, the stores, the buildings, a…

I want to thank my YMCA for putting their trust in me by Errisa

Inspired to start something new.
On September 20-24 the World YMCA organized the Innovation Camp and brought together leaders from different counties to have intensive training around successful youth empowerment programmes with the view to implement them in our local YMCAs as there were 5 different topics. This event was held in Leysin, Switzerland. I was involved in Mental Health training since I am from this background (a psychology student). A really beautiful view and the environment in the Swiss Alps helped us to have an even more enjoyable experience. We were trained based on the experience of the Project from YMCA Vancouver “YMCA Mindfulness Programme” – For young people to learn healthy coping tools to manage anxiety, connect with other young people and receive support—all in a safe and friendly community environment.
I had the opportunity to learn about this chosen innovation and start a journey that aims to see a long-term impact in my local and national YMCA in Kosovo, and I’…