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On Saturday, at the City Hall, winning students’ ideas created within the European Youth Capital project – Join, Find the Solution were announced. This is a Participating Budgeting project, within which eight high-schools of Novi Sad received RSD 50 thousand each, for the realisation of one students’ idea.

“I am very proud of this action which we create for the purpose of the youth population. The message itself – join, find the solution is very significant, because we want as many young people as possible to participate in each segment of society, by including innovations in their creativity”, Ognjen Cvjetičanin, the member of the City Council for Sport and Youth says.

European Youth Capital Novi Sad – OPENS, initiated the project with the support of the City and Province Secretariat for Education in April2018, with the purpose of young people learn that participation in the society and community is of great importance.

“One of the pillars of our application is about social innovations and we wanted to implement the element of participatory budgeting through that. We have invited all schools and students who want to join this project to propose what they would like to change and improve in their schools. All proposals have passed the voting and thereby, our students have participated in the creation of the ideas”, Vukašin Grozdanović, OPENS Coordinator explains.

“I am glad that we have provided young people with the opportunity to participate in the allocation of a part of the city budget. This is the first time that we are implementing a project of this type, so this is a large step for us, too. Novi Sad is one of just a few cities which have provided the opportunity for young people to decide what they want to invest money in on their own, and I am glad that that opportunity is used well. The project was initiated in April, including facilitators, we are in the middle now because the execution of the students’ ideas is ahead of us. We have taught young people what participative democracy is and what the responsibility of the citizens is through the example of the voting itself”, Aleksandra Ilijin, OPENS Programme Coordinator explains.

One of the winning ideas was created in “Isidor Bajić” Music School, when students decided to invest the money in the musical, which requires a lot of funds, since the premiere will be held in the Youth Theatre.

“At the level of the whole school, we have decided to invest the money in the musical, in which only students will participate. The money we have received will, to a certain extent, help us equip the scene and make costumes. I think we are the one who should have received the money for the project because the theatre club at the Music School empowers the enthusiasm and creativity among young people, thus this project is of great importance for our school. The students will definitely feel the contribution, and I hope the cooperation with OPENS will continue”, Marko Suharevski, the organiser and director of the school musical explains.

Dunja Japundža, the representative of the team of the winning idea and the student of the fourth grade of the Music School explains that the funding is of great significance for the students.

“It is amazing when someone recognises your idea and helps you. We have to be very responsible now. If it was not for this project, the actors would have to sew their costumes themselves, since this is primarily the student’s initiative which is not a part of the school programme, but it is a part of extracurricular activities”, Dunja adds.

The next step is the implementation of the ideas. Eight students’ ideas will be implemented in high schools by the end of this year. A much more requiring process is waiting for us next year, since the participation of a larger number of schools is expected.

Author: Mateja Ninković

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