A transnational work camp was held in Bitola in the period from the 5th to 14th of August 2015. Twenty-five participants on age between 18 and 30 from Macedonia, Germany and France were engaged in volunteering, intercultural learning and language animations. On the first day, the participants did a treasure hunt in the center of Bitola discovering the cultural landmarks and the atmosphere of the city. In the beginning of the stay, participants had the opportunity to attend the concert of Duke Bojadziev, a famous Macedonian composer, who was playing in the ancient Heraclea’s theater.
One of the main goals of this work camp was to support our local institution, in this case, the primary school Kole Kaninski in Bitola. During four sessions the participants split up into two teams: one team repainted the interior of the school while the other team did gardening and cleaning of the school yard. The result of the whole volunteer activity was nice freshly painted corridors and several containers’ worth of litter and debris no longer covering the school yard. On the last day, the head of the school came to express her gratitude on behalf of the students and their parents.
Almost every day, young Macedonians, Germans and French improved their language skills during different intercultural animations. The animations were composed of multiple group activities each designed to bridge language gaps and teach the basics of the three languages with special emphasis on the Macedonian language.
Last but not least, they discovered the natural beauty of Macedonia during the 9 days of theirs stay. They enjoyed hiking in the scenic Natural Park of Pelister and spent a day in Ohrid exploring the cultural heritage of the city and swimming in the lake. Next year, the exchange will continue in Berlin, organized by the Centre Français de Berlin, YMCA Bitola, UCJG Loire and with the support of the Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO).
I think this project has enormous potential and has already shown great results. Unlike similar projects, the truly impact activities were performed during the program duration, like the renovation of the school. The language animations have inspired me to learn German in preparation of the next stage and I have met many people who share my passion for volunteering.
Photo gallery of the camp.