Three initiatives/activities were awarded for two primary schools in Kamenica within the “Promoting Social Integration and Reconciliation in Kosovo” Project, funded by the British Embassy in Pristina. 

Within IOM`s activities for Social Integration, a series of Games without Borders took place in April-March 2017 in the common yard of Primary and Secondary schools “Desanka Maksimovic and Fan Noli” from Kamenica. The School sports field was equipped through the programme and activities brought together a number of multi-ethnic teams competing in various games, namely long jump, skipping rope, speed climbing, gymnastics and basketball. Over 150 persons participated including parents and teachers. It really represented a true example of possible coexistence of Albanians and Serbs without hostility and conflict. 

As the solid ground and reward for good cooperation and successfully implemented project, it was decided to engage children from the same two schools to participate in the summer camps activities.  IOM together with the Alpine Club Pristina and Mountaineer & Alpine Club Brezovica, organized this year`s first youth camp held from 27 to 29 October 2017, for 44 children of two primary schools. Camp activities were held in Germia Park in Pristina, consisted of camp building, hiking, and mountaineering and mountain emergences. 

Beside development of children’ capacities and skills, two teachers from each school were also trained for the above mentioned disciplines, in order to be able to continue to organize similar extra-curriculum activities in the future. Overall impressions are extremely positive and satisfactory and for the children this was new challenging and fruitful experience, where besides teaching how to behave and act in certain situations in one native environment, had a chance to learn about other cultures and make new friendships. Based on impressions obtained by guides and trainers of AKP and MAC Brezovica, the children well behaved and even though the language barrier would usually be an obstacle for interaction, through fun and play they have been able to communicate and understand each other’s. 

The second youth camp was organized from 24-26 November 2017, involving students from two primary schools from Shtrpce Municipality, coming from Albanian and Serbian communities as well, where also overall impressions were extremely positive.      How related these two initiatives were, are the best described by Desanka Maksimovic School’ Director: Organizing “Games without Borders” was a huge step which indicated that reconciliation and coexistence is possible between Albanians and Serbs. Before this, even though the school yard was common ground for both schools, the children were separated and not inter-acting at all. The games held on two different weekends were extremely well attended by parents, citizens, representatives of local institutions and media, and have aroused great attention of Kamenica citizens in overall.

When we were approached once again by IOM representatives with an initiative of organizing multi-ethnic summer camp activities, idea was immediately accepted by both schools. This easy going cooperation between our two schools wouldn’t be that smooth few months back, but after the games organized when everything was extraordinary implemented and when we proved that jointly we can perform the activities, work and live next to each other, the trust between us was built and we are willing to cooperate in all future activities.     

In addition to all above mentioned, two schools were awarded with one more project, respectively “Creative Multi-ethnic Workshop” which is established within premises of Desanka Maksimovic Primary School. The project aims to create a space for practical activities, complimentary to school curriculum, which two primary schools will benefit. Support will be provided by purchasing all necessary equipment/machinery for establishment of such workshop, as well as joint regular multi-ethnic dual programs, which in addition to the skill improvement, will promote direct multi-ethnic cooperation between the schools’ students. 

Workshops within the project would be on daily basis, with different workshops included, such as:
  • “Ecological workshop”- collection and sale of healthy herbs and its packing into appropriate textile or paper packages, which will be produced at the school’s workshop.
  • “Creative workshop” – production of wood, metal, fabric items and items made of recycled materials. Wood processing, production of different shape and size items. From smallest wooden magnets, through chandeliers, safe boxes, book holders, picture frames, children’s chairs and wooden springboards, musical instruments and props for physical education.
  • “I draw, paint, create” – workshop for making sculptures, figures made of gypsum and clay as well as drawing on fabrics and textile. 
  • “New ideas our models” – from idea to production of panels and other things related to advertisement.
  • “Drama, play and dense” – sewing of costumes for drama and dense plays as well as costumes for school choirs, costumes for balls for children and adults for school and other events.
  • “Publishing” – development and printing of school newspaper for school marketing as well as informing about schools activities and workshops. 
  • “Collection activities” – collection and placement of secondary raw materials;

Workshop will be accessible for the children from all communities attending this two schools, and it will be used according the schedule agreed between the schools.  

Importance of the workshop is the long-term sustainability and cooperation on daily basis that will additionally contribute to further improvement of relations between students and teachers of two schools. Creation of workshop will generate long-term employment for two workers. An Albanian woman that will provide trainings on tailoring and Serbian male operating machinery and equipment.   

In addition to this, the school will construct an annex within interior part of the school, which will be used as a shop to sell products that children developed and made. Revenues from sold products will be used for improvement of school environment and for different activities within the school.