Interview of Krenare Gashi (KYCN)

Arbenita TETAJ joined Y-E-N Office for a job shadowing and took the chance to interview Krenare GASHI, from our member organisation Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network.

Thanks Krenare for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Kosovo Youth Centres’ Network (KYCN) is a network of youth centres around Kosovo, which was established non-formally in December 2014. In 2015, KYCN changed its format from non-formal to a formally registered organization. Currently, as integral part of Youth Centers’ Network are 21 youth centres from different cities of the country, that develop activities on the focu of youth.

How many members does KYCN have now?

In 2014, KYCN started to work with 16 members and now we count 21 members. We are in the process of enlarging the umbrealla for new members.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

In July 2015 we joined Youth Express Network. By becoming member of Y-E-N, we fulfilled one of our main objectives for 2015, which was to be positioned as the linking bridge between youth centres in Kosovo and youth NGOs in Europe.

Does this membership have a positive effect on your organisation?

Being a member of a European youth network such as Y-E-N made KYCN the first youth umbrella organization in Kosovo. In addition, KYCN became the Kosovo youth voice at European level.

And you, what is your role in KYCN?

I am currently the Executive Director of KYCN.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

The most creative project implemented by our organizations is the Electronic Plate-Form. This provides opportunities to its members, to promote their activities for free and use it as their website as well.

What do you like about KYCN?

The most unique thing about KYCN is the simple way of its function. With no complicated hierarchy on management, it makes it easier to work.

Have you participated in a Y-E-N activity yourself?

Yes, I have participated in 5 activities:
– 2 seminars organised by Y-E-N itself: in October 2015 and in May 2016;
– 3 seminars suggested by Y-E-N: in April 2016 with the Council of Europe, the “EYE 2016” in May 2016 and “Youth Peace Camp” in July 2016.

What is the future plans for KYCN?

Our future plans are:
– Promotion of youth employment
– Regional cooperation
– Enlargement of activities at European level

By Arbenita Tetaj (job shadowing in Y-E-N Office)

“Brave it Out” 3 Regional Experts Meetings





The last activities of the Work Plan 2016 were 3 Regional Experts Meetings organised in 3 different places at 3 different times:

Those meetings represented the opportunity for former participants of the activities 2016 to evaluate their impact (on participants and organisations) in the frame of our Work Plan “Angle it Right: New perspective on young people with fewer opportunities”  and to give the space for young people to be (finally) considered as experts in the field of social inclusion.

The aim of splitting this evaluation and experts meeting in space and time was to be adapted to the local context of each “region” of Europe and to gather participants from border countries to foster future collaborations.

These meetings were financially supported by the European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe.

During these meetings, the participants could also visit different local organisations and meet with several people active in the field of youth and Social Rights:

  • Ostia: Visit of “Casa del Sole” (asylum seekers centre in Fiumicino) – Visit of “Affabulazione” (member and host organisation) – Meeting with “HOP” group (local youth initiative) – Meeting with Anaud Jean Silver KOUAME (migrants living in Italy for 23 years)
  • Tbilisi: Visit of “Institute for Democratic Changes” (host and member organisation) – Meeting with a Scout group
  • Timisoara: Visit of “AIDRom” organisation (social services for refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, victims of human trafficking) – Visit of “FITT” (partner and host organisation) – Meeting with a representative of the Local Body of the Romanian Ministry of Youth – Meeting with “Intercultural Institute of Timisoara” (member organisation)





As a result, the Work Plan 2016 was evaluated by the participants and the representatives of the organisations themselves & suggestions for 2017 were given!

The pedagogical report is here !

Let’s get 2017 started!

Interview of Mojca Makovac (Jeunesses Musicales Croatia)

jmlogoDuring our last activity “Voice it” in Groznjan, Croatia, the communication group took the chance to make an interview of Mojca MAKOVAC, head of the international youth meeting centre of Jeunesses Musicales International in Groznjan and former Y-E-N Board Member.

Thank you Mojca for answering our questions!

Can you give us a brief history of your organisation?

Jeunesse Musical Croatia is part of a bigger network called Jeunesses Musicales International which has its headquarters in Brussels.

The association was founded in 1969 in Belgium. Little by little it expended to many European countries. The main objectives are for young people, musicians and audiences to have access to music. We advocate for quality formal and non-formal music education for young people and greater music learning for young audiences.

All along those years, Jeunesses Musicales have organised different classes, masterclasses, workshops, in more than 90 countries. They are now collaborating with many international organisations, Youth Express Network being one of them.

When and why did you join Y-E-N?

Personally I was doing social studies with a master in pedagogy and there was a seminar organised by Y-E-N. It was a project related with art and other bigger issues. As I am a dancer, I joined the project and I got really interested in their work. Afterwards, I decided to become a member and it is now 19 years that we are part of Y-E-N.

How did this affect the organisation JMC?

It contributes to keep the international dimension for Jeunesses Musicales Croatia. We were more involved in international projects, we participated to many projects. We are already a big part of the culture in Croatia, we are a big organisation and being part of Y-E-N enables us to extent this.

How was it for you to have us in Groznjan?

I like it a lot, this is a great opportunity for us to have you here. It is always pleasant to see the dynamic of the participants here in Groznjan. The group is very active and the interaction with the inhabitants is very interesting to see.

Can you mention some of the most important project that you have carried out?

We organised a lot of projects as part of the international youth work. All of them are important, and not only for the music. Jeunesses Musicales places empowerment at its core and emphasizes on social inclusion and cohesion.

We launched a project called « Groznjan outside of Groznjan » with the aim of expanding the work of the artists of Groznjan outside to other cities in Croatia. In this way we aim at widening the education in terms of culture and wish to contribute to the artist’s development.

This summer was organised a big event which happens every summer, called the « World Orchestra from Jeunesses Musicales ». It has been going on for many years already. Young artists from all over the world gather and go on the road to play music. The JM World Orchestra represents part of the history of the organisation. It enables young musicians with the opportunity to travel to share their passion and act as ambassadors for intercultural understanding.

What is the importance of Y-E-N with regards to Youth Social Politics?

In term of organisation, Y-E-N has its importance as it provides young people with education, whether it is formal of non-formal. I think that those parts of opportunity should be a part of every youngster’s life. No matter if the project is only short-time, it enables to bring different lives together and contribute to the personal and professional development of the youngsters.

What is the future plans for JMC?

We will continue to be actively involved at the international level and we will also work on tools to tackle more on the social issues at the European level. During the year, in Zagreb, we will carry on with our project “Groznjan outside of Groznjan” in order to introduce the people of Groznjan in other cities and also introduce Groznjan to the people outside of Groznjan.

By Vanessa Deweer (Y-E-N Office intern)

Article on “Voice it” training course by Tim Baloche

Voicing It!

“I took part in the second activity of the “Angle it right” work plan 2016 from the Youth Express Network which was held between the 30th of August and the 8th of September . The project called ‘Voice It!’ centered around the topic of digital storytelling. This project was held in Groznjan, a small village in Croatia, a truly magical place! The project lasted a total of eight days. Although it was a short time I do think that everybody who participated in this project shared the feeling that time passed very slowly, and that it was like we’ve known each other for years.

The aim of the project was to give young people with fewer opportunities the chance to express their talent, to tell their own life story and to empower them to see themselves differently. In this activity we had the opportunity to learn how to tell your story with digital tools. The training was given by a very talented movie-director who gave us among other things some technical aspects  of movie making. We’ve learned for instance a little bit of the  history of filmmaking, and also the development of the camera throughout history. We’ve also learned how to use our creativity to develop the different scenes in our personal stories and how to direct and film them. And finally to create a storyboard of the exact details that you want in your movie with regard to the different scenes.

This experience was great in many ways, I’ve learned a lot! First of all I had the opportunity to share one of my life stories. This was very challenging for me because this story was very personal and it forced me to face different aspects of myself which I’ve buried very deep inside. But it was very important for me to share this particular story and I’m happy that I did it. This experience was also quite inspiring because of all the unique stories of the other participants which I had the opportunity to hear. I’ve realized that story telling may it be digital or in any other way is very important. This is a way to connect with what bonds us as humans. After hearing all the stories of the other participants I found that we all have a certain type of connection as human beings, and by hearing the story of others you can see this connection. I could relate in a certain way to nearly all of the stories that I’ve heard. After listening to these different stories I’ve realized that we as a human beings are more the same than different, it does not matter where we come from. This is the connection that you feel with a person when they decide to open up and share a deep part of themselves. You will see this person as a human being and not as a particular stereotype.

So this was overall an unforgettable experience and inspiring in every way, personally for instance but also professionally. The bonds that we’ve made taking part in this activity will hopefully  last for a long time. And I am very happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to take part in this activity.”

By Tim Baloche (Vocalsz, The Netherlands)

“Voice it” training course in Groznjan (Croatia)

14141686_1151101184929324_2706229587872032689_nFrom the 30th of August to the 8th of September, 15 young people gathered in Groznjan (Croatia) for an activity around a topic: digital storytelling. They learned a lot about digital tools, how to write stories but more importantly how to tell their story.

On spot, we were hosted by our member organisation Jeunesses Musicales Croatia who works with youth through arts.

During 8 working days, the participants also learned about human nature, about cultural differences and the power of empathy.

Read the pedagogical report here!

To express his feeling about this week, one participant wrote the following poem :

“Since I was born I always knew
That I`ll get to meet some of you
14237579_1156384117734364_4360156621966213341_nWe learn to laugh, we learn to speak,
We learn to choose the life we live
The roads of life strange as they seem
But don`t worry, we`ll all be redeemed
At some point we`ll all grow up
Thirsting for the wisdom that we forgot
We`ll travel far, and travel deep
Untill we reach the step we seek
The road is rough you may even fall
But don`t worry… You`ll stand tall
When we`re young we`re full of love
We let it free just like a dove
It goes… it strikes a pleasant note
In the hearth that you would want
So I tell you this boys and girls
Let loose your doves in all the world !
At some point we`ll all be old,
Spreading the beautiful memories that we hold
I`ve seen so many… Been so far…
But this love HERE is for you…
in GROZNJAN !!!”

By Iasmin Scundea (Nevo Parudimos, Romania)


Check these 3 articles written by participants from the project:

Tsveta Boteva (Active Bulgarian Society, Bulgaria) on the organisation’s website

Miruna Belba (Centrul de Voluntariat Resita, Romania) on the organisation’s website

Tim Baloche (Vocalsz, The Netherlands) for Y-E-N Newsletter (Y-E-N News – October 2016)


And check the videos that result from the training course, realised by the participants thanks to the expert Eleonora ZBANKE  – Dis Donc Production.

French-German projects of the Network

Apart from the crossborder seminars and exchanges with Germany and Switzerland, Youth Express Network cooperate also with Germany at national level for projects financed by the French-German Youth Office (OFAJ / DFJW)

It is in collaboration with Arbeit und Leben that Y-E-N welcome groups of young Germans in vocational training all throughout the year in Strasbourg for thematic visits according to their field: hospitality, catering, business etc.

During those projects, young people get the chance to discover the French professional world and the different techniques related to their future job. This window on the other side of the Rhine often lead them to come for a short- or long-term internship in the alsatian capital.


Photos from the last group of young people in vocational training for hospitality and catering that came in the region from 30th of May to 3rd of June 2016. On the programme: visit of the biggest restaurants and hotels in Strasbourg, visit of a foie-gras making farm, of a cheese making factory, of a wine cave and even of Colmar!

Y-E-N General Assembly 2016

Y-E-N General Assembly 2016 took place on May 22nd in Strasbourg (France) and was animated by Ahlame Boubazine, volunteer from our member organisation L’Etage and social worker in Strasbourg.







The GA welcomed 4 new organisations in the Network:

  • League for Youth Voluntary Service (Belarus)
  • Alternative-V (Ukraine)
  • Active Bulgarian Society (Bulgaria)
  • Youth for Understanding (Turkey)

Welcome and we hope for a long collaboration!






And the GA also elected a new Board:

  • Mirela LUPU (still in mandate), President
  • Valentina AULISO (re-elected), Vice-President
  • Vasil TANEV (newly elected), Secretary
  • Mariam SAHAKYAN (re-elected), Treasurer
  • Ramiz ALIYEV (newly elected), Board Member
  • Katarina VUCKOVIC (still in mandate), Board Member

See you all in 2017 🙂

“Dream it loud” Study Session in Strasbourg, by Ioana Dudila

From 22nd to 29th of May 2016, Y-E-N organized a Study Session entitled “Dream it Loud” together with Rural Youth Europe and in collaboration with the Youth Department of the Council of Europe.

Read about the experience from the inside, with a testimony from a participant:

22-29th. May 2016 European Youth Center Strasbourg, France

”Inclusive society”, “social exclusion”, ”youth rights”, these are all words we are very used to hearing, words we nevertheless understand thoroughly, but they are also concepts we are very unaccustomed to actively or efficiently pursuing in our immediate realities. Because of how deep their meaning is, because of the uncountable obstacles that arise on our paths when fighting this battle, whether set by individuals or groups of individuals who are resistant to the changes th
at are urgently needed to follow.


In an effort to identify and share the challenges in the process of social inclusion and young people’s access to social rights in European urban and rural areas, to open us, Europeans, from all the corners of the continent, to sharing experiences, examples of good practices and existing mechanisms of social inclusion in young people’s local realities, to explore the European tools and policies for access to social rights and how they can be applied locally to promote access to them, to increase the capacity to advocate for improved access to social rights and last but not least to provide participants with the opportunity to create appropriate tools, adjustable to their respective local realities, Youth Express Network and Rural Youth Europe came together for the 3rd time and taught us about the importance of ”dreaming it loud” and pursuing it assiduously.

We were taken on an13260274_1081779198528190_8505134113538009416_n elaborate six-day journey, aimed at enclosing the multitude of facets that embody the vast topic that is ”social inclusion”. We started by building our team on Monday, continued with defining our terms and discussing good practices, tools and mechanism on Tuesday. On Wednesday we were given some mind bending examples of true activism and ”stubbornness” to carry on, during the visits we received and the visits we made ourselves to see people and places who refuse to take society`s no for an answer and give up this toughest of fights. Thursday we took part in the very creative workshops prepared by the organizers and on Friday we took our first steps into the creation of tools to bring home and consume in our challenging endeavors. Saturday was the day we drew our conclusions, a great day to enjoy the harvest of our joint effort, but also a sad day, to say good-bye to the beautiful pack of dreamers that arose from our ”struggle”.

Our journey was not long but it was arduous. For almost 7 days we were given the opportunity to grasp Utopia, a place where cooperation is capable of superseding any language barrier, and more importantly any cultural frontier we tend to sometimes build between each other. We learnt so much and we dreamt so far, each of us might be having a hard time readjusting to life outside of the land of no hate and eternal spiritual summer. But what we take with us is far more important than any momentary joy or sadness. It`s desire, no, need, to try our best in winning this battle.

Written by Ioana Dudila from the Centrul de Voluntariat Resita, Romania.

Click here to know more about the organisation:


And here are the videos that result from this amazing week!


European Youth Event 2016

On the 20th and 21th of May, around 7 000 young people from all over Europe were expected in Strasbourg, France for the second edition of the European Youth Event (EYE 2016) with one motto “Together, we can make a change”.

In total 18 young Y-E-N people coming from 7 european countries had the opportunity to  discover the life of an european decision makers, while attending different seminars organised inside the Parliament. They could meet european politician and ask their questions, get inspired but also participate to open discussions. This was not all, hubs took place all around the Parliament in the YO! Village where participants could get information, discuss, debates about different big topics in which they were interested such as;

  • War and Peace, talking about migration, refugees, peace-building, tolerance and respect, social cohesion.
  • Youth Participation with topics such as youth participation to vote, youth empowerment, gender equality, non formal education, citizenship education etc.
  • Exclusion or Access with topics such as quality jobs, youth guarantee, social inclusion, students unions, mobility, volunteering and disability rights.
  • Stagnation and Innovation with topics such as youth entrepreneurship, creativity or even green jobs.
  • Collapse or Success with topics such as climate change, sustainable development goals, fair trade, food waste etc.
  • Health and well-being with topics such as mental health, diet, drugs and alcohol, sport and physical activities.

This week-end under the sun of Strasbourg, was also the possibility for those young people to meet each other, spend 2 days with friends in a different place, discover a new city, get inspired and hopefully get fresh ideas for the future.

“Localise it” Study Visit in Dordrecht

P1080166On this last week of March, “ Localise it: Study visit on local youth initiatives”, first activity of this year Y-E-N Work Plan “Angle it right” took place in Dordrecht in the Netherlands. A total of 26 participants coming from 13 different European countries gathered for a study visit on local youth initiatives in the Netherlands. It focused on the access to social rights of young people and their active participation in their communities and in particular with the use of innovative technologies.

During this study visit, youth workers as well as young people with fewer opportunities from very different horizon got the chance to:

  • share about the situations of young people in their own countries
  • meet youth workers from Dordrecht who work on radicalisation
  • meet the Municipality which works on storytelling with people in the streets through a project called « Generation/D »
  • meet the National Youth Council with its project « Extraordinary Me » financing young people’s initiatives to help someone else
  • workshop with a partner organisation Roots & Routes which works on cultural and social diversity through arts
  • workshop with the member organisation The Exchangeables which works on social media with youngsters in order to convey a message : we took videos and pictures in the streets of Dordrecht to spread the message « Dordrecht is youth friendly » (see below)
  • self-reflection on the participants’ lives and input on the storytelling method
  • reflection on an Action Plan to implement in their communities back home

All in all, this week was an interesting opportunity for those 26 participants to discover new cultures, new people, to share their experience (their difficulties but also their wonderful achievements) and to consider their lives and work from a new perspective.

Read the pedagogical report here!


Have a look at the video that results from the creative workshop led by our member and host organisation The Exchangeables thanks to the expertise of Pathos Studios & Quine Brown: