If you are born between 1989 and 2004, you are a part of the category of young people and a part of the group of 17% of the population of Serbia. According to the last population estimates from 2017, there is less than 1.2 million people aged 15 to 30 in our country.
If you are young, it is quite possible that you are unemployed, without your own apartment, that you feel politically un-represented and that the internet is your main source of information.
If you are born between 1989 and 2004, congratulations, today is your day!
Led by the need to hear the voice of young people louder, in 2000, the United Nations declared 12 August the International Youth Day, with the purpose to indicate to problems, cultural and legal matters of the youth, pupils, students. The idea is that this is the annual opportunity for the celebration and it serves as a reminder of the important role of young people as key partners in the changes and opportunities, to raise awareness of global community about the problems young people face today.
The problems do no change as the years go by – unemployment, insufficient opportunities, lack of information… The question is, what do we do to change that image? Or, how much time it takes to see the effects of everything we do today.
Still, the problem in this attempt includes the activities of European Youth Capital, its impact and changes it brings, is that OPENS… are not numbers. There are several key successes of OPENS.
Firstly, European Youth Capital has managed to gather youth sector around the same goal with the programme implementation – Novi Sad, as the city where young people are active citizens and contribute to their community.
Youth organizations are systematically supported by the programme grants for the period of 3 years, which enables them to improve their business and to raise their capacities, but also to improve their programmes for young people. Apart from that, we have managed to ensure additional support to organizations in terms of free of charge trainings and FundCon (the first fundraising congress in Serbia).
And, what is most important, the decision-makers have recognised that young people and youth organisations have significant role in the society. It is recognised that young people should be asked about what young people need, that the need to build the system and mechanisms at the level of the city which would be permanently implemented. And, what is even more important, sustainable.
We are going towards sustainability now. The quality of the programme which is the core of OPENS is, at the moment, extremely important, but it is equally important how those programmes would be financed after 2020 and how can we manage to include all those funds, which are now available to young people, in regular financing of different programmes for young people in the city.
Until the moment of the creation of the programme, we have divided them according to the period of three years, so that we could talk about particular results after the year of 2020. Continuity in work, financing, advocacy, inclusion is and must be the priority of everything we do. Not before five, ten years from now will we be able to talk about actual effects of everything we do today, when young people, who are going through these programmes, are at decision-making positions.
According to the assessment of the United Nations, there are currently 1.8 billion young people aged 15 to 35 in the world. This is the majority of the world population. At the same time, the majority of adolescents lack basic skills, despite the fact that the majority of them are educated. There is the fear that this is the beginning of the global crises which threatens to destroy the entire progress of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, the global topic of the International Youth Day is: “Transformation of Education/Knowledge”.
The International Youth Day will be celebrated today in Serbia by a set of manifestations, and on that occasion, OPENS joins the global topic of the at the Novi Sad Štrand Beach, by the promotion of youth organizations and organizations for young people, as well as institutions which deal with the transformation of knowledge on daily and continuous basis.
BalkanIdea NS, AktivNS, Čepom do osmeha, Prevent and Spirit of youth Novi Sad are some of the non-governmental organizations which work on the transformation of skills and informal education by their daily activities. These are some of the organizations of Novi Sad which create through their programmes, the tools for the transformation of education and adjust the methods of informal education and leisure activities to the purpose of education.
In the year when the City Management for Education celebrates 10 years since the implementation of inclusive education, Elementary and High-School Milan Petrović and Elementary Adult School “Sveti Sava” are examples of good practice.
One of the key pillars of European Youth Capital is the provision of support to the actors who work on the transformation of education within the mission of OPENS, which states that all young people have equal changes and opportunities.
One of them is, finally, to have fun. Differences and energy of young people are definitely the qualities to be celebrated and one of the pillars of the programme of OPENS. Therefore, we end the International Youth Day by the Colour Festival. The festival which should, symbolically show in how many colours young people come, and how they, by their energy, creativity and ideas, colour the city on daily basis. We celebrate it loudly, and tomorrow, we are back to advocacy, work and empowerment of young people.