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On Friday, 23 June, over 80 young individuals from the Zaječar and Bor districts gathered at the National Theatre of Timočka Krajina “Zoran Radmilović” in Zaječar. This gathering marked the “Day for Us” (Dan za nas), a festival-style event where young people from the region shared their accomplishments, experiences, and challenges, with the primary goal of inspiring and motivating their peers.

Dan za nas in Zaječar represents the third in a four-part series of events organised as part of the project “Prospect for Young People in Rural Areas in Serbia”. This project, implemented by GIZ in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and Youth of the Republic of Serbia, falls under the framework of German development cooperation. The previous events, held in Vladičin Han and Kostolac, successfully brought together over 200 young participants.

“Serbian youth, particularly in underdeveloped municipalities and smaller communities, possess immense potential to contribute to their society. However, they often face difficulties in finding employment opportunities, avenues to carry out their ideas, and access to information regarding existing activities in their surroundings. The ‘Prospect for Young People in Rural Areas in Serbia’ project offers support for the implementation of concrete ideas designed and executed by young individuals themselves. The aim is to enhance their quality of life within the community and create new sustainable economic prospects, such as agriculture, rural tourism, and cultural endeavours. We provide assistance through our project activities to anyone who feels young and has the motivation to stay in Serbia, enabling them to fulfil their true potential by actively participating in shaping their environment,” Alexander Beetz, programme manager and sector coordinator of the Sustainable Economic Development and Employment sector at GIZ, said in his opening address.

Milan Stanković, assistant to the mayor of Zaječar, addressed the young audience after Mr. Beetz, emphasising the city’s support for the expression and implementation of their ideas. Miljan Rašić, president of the Zaječar Roma Association, also took the stage, highlighting the significance of events like Dan za nas in recognising the importance of young people as the driving force of society.

As part of the central segment of the “Local Stories” programme, Anđela Mitić, a member of the Sokobanja Ecological Society, and Jovana Jovanović, an activist in various civil society organisations in Zaječar, shared their motivational stories with the gathered youth. Monika Punđejević and Nikola Pešić provided insights into their experience in transforming the Youth Center in Bor into a thriving hub where young individuals can access the information and knowledge necessary for career choices and employment opportunities. Jelena Cvetković Zagorac, a representative of young entrepreneurs who courageously embarked on wine production in Rajačke Pimnice, and Darko Nikolić, coordinator of field work at the Timok Youth Centre – Association for the Development of Sustainable Communities in Zaječar, captivated the audience with their inspiring stories.

The event also featured two workshops. Mia Vukić Vitomirović, the youth coordinator at the Youth Office in Zaječar, led a dynamic discussion on youth and entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, Aleksandar Šćepanović, the founder of Hostel Montana on Kopaonik and Zanateria, an online department store showcasing small local businesses, designers and independent publishers, moderated the workshop From activism to employment.

After the speeches of the speakers and during the workshops, the gathered young people actively asked questions and expressed their views, and at the end of the Dan za nas programme, they enjoyed the performance of the City Folklore Ensemble „ZO-RA“.

The next, last in the series, Dan za nas will be held in West Bačka district on 12 August, on International Youth Day.

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