How did Youth Network appear?
Youth network has been formed in 2003rd year, within the project “Living together”, supported by Pestalozzi Children’s foundation from Switzerland. The idea of the project was that young people, who are sensitized to the topic of interculturality and acceptance of diversity, empower themselves for participation in their local community. They have been finishing different workshops and in time have becoming active members of society and started taking initiatives to solve problems in their environment.
What is Youth Network?
Youth Network is a group of youth activists, who have finished workshops of interculturality or child rights. It is consisted of about 60 young people, mainly high school students. Some of them join the Youth Network in the 8th grade of primary school, actively participate during whole high school and stay active trough even as students. It often happens that former workshop participants become leaders of the workshop or carriers of various project activities.
Who can be a member?
Anyone, who wants to be socially active, and goes to high school or 8th grade of primary school, can be a member of the Youth Network. It does not matter from which school, because in the Open club we cherish diversity, because it is the diversity that provides best results in our work. Young people get to know each other on the basis of their similarities, but they develop themselves on the basis of their differences; they learn from each other, share experiences, learn to understand and overcome the differences, and then, together, “go in to the activism”.
How to become a member?
In order to empower young to be able to become more socially active, they have to go through different workshops and trainings. What is necessary to get started is to complete the cycle of interculturality workshops, which is held at least twice a year, in the period from October to January and from February to June. At the workshops, young people learn about tolerance, stereotypes, prejudices, and how to understand and accept what is different. That “open-minded” young people can participate in other programs of the Open Club such as;
– Debates, where they learn how to discuss trough arguments, develop communication skills and to advocate for a particular attitude;
– Advocacy for the Rights of the Child, within they learn what rights they have and how to advocate for them, and how to advocate for the realization of the rights of other children, especially from vulnerable groups;
– Education for peer educators, where young people have the opportunity to learn how to lead workshops to their peers and continue to spread information about issues that are important to them;
– Music Workshop, which involves understanding the diversity of cultures, traditions and discrimination throughout the history of the development of musical styles and genres;
– Forum Theatre, the interactive amateur theater that offers young people the opportunity to draw attention to a social problem and promote its solutions in a creative way.
Most interested participants of the workshops are becoming members of the Youth Network.
What does Youth Network do?
Members meet every Monday at 20.15h in premises of Open Club (2, Ucitelj Tasa Square, Nis) and they: map the problems in the local community and try to solve them, plan further activities, new types of non formal education, street actions, propose initiatives and make plans for advocacy. Members of the Youth Network are elected for peer educators, volunteers for a various cultural and sporting events, as well as participants in other projects of the Open club, training, exchanges, camps and international exchange in the Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Switzerland.
What is the significance of the Youth Network?
Young people like to come to Open club, because of the interesting programs and a positive atmosphere. Youth Network allows them to express themselves properly, while doing socially useful things. It’s simple – young people are full of energy, and Open club is the place where they can express it in a creative way. It is a place where they not only learn about their rights, but also live their rights – for example, the right to participate – to be asked and to be heard and that their opinions should always be taken into consideration and to be always involved in all decision-making about matters that affect them. Also it’s a place where they socialize and make friends, learn in a different, interesting way, where they “train for life,” learn to be responsible and have opportunities to participate in many interesting programs and even create their own.