February 1, 2019 | Friday
The European Union Information and Cultural Centre in Pristina decided to kick off February activities by looking at volunteering and its benefits in the modern times.
Four panellists were invited to participate in the panel discussion ‘The importance of voluntary work as a social value’, where good examples of volunteering from Kosovo and other EU countries were presented and discussed with the audience.
Following the administrative order by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of Kosovo, the volunteer work of young people and their engagement is now officially recognised as legitimate labour.
This represents an important step in youth empowerment in Kosovo, and it provides inspiration to change the attitudes of young people in advancing our society.
Kujtim Gashi, Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports told the audience about the functional database which was established last year and is created in a way that will count the time young people volunteer and will help them in creating a culture of voluntary work among their peers as well.
Gernot Pfandler, Ambassador of Austria in Kosovo, specified the reasons why the culture of voluntary work in Austria is in a good state. In Austria, 46 percent of young people aged 15-25 participate in volunteer work while, on average, people in Austria spend 30-40 days per year volunteering.
According to a study conducted in 2012, the main reasons why people in Kosovo volunteer are: a) dedication towards others, b) family tradition, and c) the need to feel more active.
Eliza Hoxha, an activist and advocate for voluntary work, pointed out that she was raised in a family where she was told to take action ‘because there is always something to do’, so she engaged very early in voluntary activities. According to her, it has always been a tradition within Kosovo Albanian families to help and do voluntary work for people in need and support different groups in society, while she also feels more fulfilled emotionally and personally when she can help and do something out of goodwill and desire, with no financial compensation.
Miradin Bajri, coordinator at Diakonie Kosova, congratulated laws and initiatives that have been undertaken in Kosovo during the last years to promote and intensify volunteering among citizens. Bajri pointed out that we have set up an example for the region in our path to make voluntary work something concrete and tangible, especially among young generations.
There are a lot of opportunities for young people in Kosovo to volunteer inside and also outside of Kosovo, including in the European Union.