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Returning to the tradition

The youth centers in Struga and Kicevo have  for several months now brought  together students of different age and ethnic backgrounds, emphasizing their similarities, yet their uniqueness through series of entertaining and educational activities.

Arts and crafts classes are among those taught at the center, including classes in pottery, a craft  equally important for both the Macedonian and Albanian communities.

The classes are instructed by an experienced pottery  teacher and consist of a small portion of theory, where they learn about the beginnings of the pottery as a craft, about the first craft families in the region, about the meaning of the clay products for them and their ancestors and the techniques required to master the production of clay products.  Practical lessons in pottery making are also held in a pottery manufacture shop in the village Vranesnica, near Kicevo.

Each time a trip to this village is organized, the students eagerly await the departure time, because the thought of being able to create their own pottery sparks  their imaginations

During the class each student has the opportunity to muddy  their hands  with clay, to create, to explore, to learn new skills and to proudly leave the class with a present for  dear ones: a beer glass for the dad; a candlestick for mom; a candy jar  for grandma and many more interesting creations.

On return, student’s works are carefully preserved and left to dry to the point of their coloring and decoration, when students get together again, and with a great excitement, they roll up their sleeves and begin to glaze their pots..  While glazing  they speak in both Macedonian and Albanian language, asking for a paint brush, a color, a pot of water thus describing the meaning of their own creation in terms of their tradition and values all leading to enjoyment and mutual understanding. Consequently, they are more open to learn each other's language and tradition.

The students came with an idea to organize a sale for their creations. The sale was a success, with all the pottery offered being sold. From the collected money they bought new pots for coloring …. and the story begins again…..

To find out more about the Joint UN programme “Enhancing Inter-ethnic Communication and Dialogue” visit the UN web site at




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