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New youth centers open in Kicevo and Struga to cater for increased demand in ethnically integrated extra-curricular activities (29 March 2011)

Children in traditional clothes in Kicevo youth center during the opening

Kicevo, 29 March 2011:  Mr. Sheldon Yett, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Representative and Mr.Gjorgija Sajkoski, President of the Council of Kicevo Municipality officially opened the new premises of the Kicevo Youth Center.  This is one of the three youth centers established last year, that offer children and young people from ethnically mixed communities greater opportunity to socialize and to get to know peers from outside their own ethnic groups.  The new premise provided by the Municipality of Kicevo has been opened to cater for an increase in demand for multicultural extra-curricular activities offered by the center.

 “The activities hosted by the youth centers provide real opportunities for children to develop the skills they need to fully participate in a multicultural community,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative.

Through arts and sports programmes directed by local community leaders, young people participate in activities hosted by the center that allow them to learn and socialize in a supportive environment.

“These activities promote positive alternatives for children, and contribute to breaking down barriers between communities and reducing stereotypes,” continued Mr. Yett

In response to worrying trends of division along ethnic and language lines, the centers are part of a broader joint UN programme to promote interaction between children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  As part of the joint programme UNICEF established multicultural youth centers in Kumanovo, Kicevo and Struga with support from the local municipalities.

Up until recently, the youth center in Kicevo has been implementing extracurricular activities and after school projects in only three of the local schools.  To cater for an increase in demand by other children and youth in the community, the Municipality of Kicevo has made available the new premise and is covering all running costs associated with the use of the new premise. 

Struga Municipality is also addressing increased demand by providing a larger premise which will be open on 5 April 2011 by Mr. Yett, Ambassador of Spain H. E. Mr. Fernando de Galainena and Mr. Ramiz Merko the Mayor of Struga .  Both, the Municipality of Kicevo and Municipality of Struga have made a commitment to provide the premises free of charge for the next five years.

With UNICEF support through the UN Joint Programme teachers now have access to resources needed to organise multicultural workshops in schools and over 600 children, teachers and parents have participated in theses workshops. An additional 700 children and young people from Kicevo, Struga and Kumanovo have participated in extra-curricular programmes organised in the multicultural youth centers.

The UN Programme “Enhancing inter-ethnic community dialogue and collaboration” is funded by the Spanish Government through the MDG Achievement Fund.  In partnership with the Secretariat for Implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the UN joint programme is being implemented by UNDP, UNICEF and UNECSO.

For further information, please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje, (02) 3231-150 (ext :127), 072  629 325 or spappas@unicef.org

 

 
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