Empowering young people for sustainable and economic growth
More than a social trend, local economic sustainable development is a need of the current society. As the small communities face big economic challenges and start witnessing an exodus of young people to bigger towns or even to other countries, rethinking their economic and political priorities and models have been a way of generating new opportunities and, consequently, keeping local people from leaving, both for privates companies and government.
As BIG BERRY has been implementing a social business model, which focuses on the development of local community, hosting the president of the Youth Center BIT Črnomelj - Slovenia, Klemen Vitkovic, and the executive director and head of the steering committee of South East European Youth Network (SEEYN) Mirela Rajkovic for a workation program, was considered by the company’s team a great opportunity to hear more about what the group has been doing in Europe, in order to empower young people and their communities to overcome the innate disadvantages of size and, in a certain scale, economic isolation.
According to Mirela,empowering young people is one of the first steps to get them socially integrated and, as consequence, to understand their roles in local communities and start working on their growth: ‘We do need to have action on the field, but we should also push and pressure the decision makers to build an environment where young people feel empowered and encouraged to put their ideas into practice’.
Mirela has been leading the SEEYN organization for four years and is now seeking to open a new branch office in Črnomelj. The idea is to promote quality youth work in small villages and provide them with knowledge and resources: ‘We want to focus more attention on rural areas since almost all of the main activities for this audience are connected to larger towns”, added Mirela.
For Klemen, the empowerment of young people comes with practical actions, and this is how they have been doing it in Črnomelj: ‘The idea of having an incubator and a coworking space in Črnomelj came from young people and in addition to that, our young people have the chance to learn new skills during events like Črnfest, where they have certain responsibilities, such as to manage the hostel or to organize their own events’. BIT Črnomelj also hosts international projects for which they put young people in charge of the organizational part in order to explore their management abilities.
Working together and with the same purpose, SEEYN and BIT Crnomelj intend to boost their practices in favor of the young people at the same time that they think together on better solutions to fill the GAPs that this specific society has been witnessing in several aspects, at the same time that SEEYN receives their support of a European Union country in order to benefit from their funds and to initiate their projects in other countries.