Jasminka and Marta are two lovely ladies from the Mladiinfo Slovenia branch. They were both happy to undertake a job shadowing activity, supported by the Youth in Action Programme and they were our dear guests in the Mladiinfo main office in Skopje, Macedonia from 28 October until 8 November!
“I joined Mladiinfo in the Slovenia branch in 2012. I was visiting the webpage www.mladiinfo.eu quite often and I was able to track a lot of useful information there. As I’ve been living in Slovenia in the past few years, I was lucky to be acquainted with the Slovenian branch and decided to volunteer with the Slovenian team. For me it was an opportunity to help as many young people as possible to access possibilities for free education, something that I lacked when I was younger. It’s a personal aspiration to help youth, especially those with very few possibilities to access free education, to be more confident in pursuing their goals and help them choose the most suitable careers for them,” says Jasminka.
“I was born in Toruń, Poland, where I finished Balkan languages and where I started to be very much into everything connected to the Balkans and youth work. After many trainings, youth exchanges and other projects, a couple NGOs and almost 2 years of living in Serbia I moved to Slovenia. In Ljubljana I have had the luck to meet the girls from Mladiinfo Slovenia and was flattered to join them. I was flattered because I knew Mladiinfo Macedonia for several years already, I knew that they are doing really good work and how successful they are,” tells Marta as an introduction.
And what is job-shadowing?
Jasminka and Marta say they heard about this type of activity for the first time at a seminar in March this year in Domžale, Slovenia, organized by MOVIT – National Agency for the Youth in Action Programme from Slovenia. This sub-Action supports the training of those active in youth work and youth organizations, particularly project leaders, youth advisers and supervisors. It also supports the exchange of experiences, expertise and good practice between the ones active in youth work and youth organizations, as well as activities which may lead to the establishment of long-lasting, high quality projects, partnerships and networks!
“In a few years Mladiinfo has grown from small NGO situated in Skopje to an organization with international range. As it enters its sixth year of existence, the Mladiinfo initiative officially got its sixth branch registered in Croatia! That is impressive. As well, Mladiinfo Slovenia is quite a young branch and this job shadowing activity was something we were really looking forward to,” comments Marta.
“The job shadowing project was something that I needed for quite some time. I had so many questions concerning the NGO sector, and I lacked practical knowledge. We eventually applied at the May 2013 call and got the project – a good way to start somewhere! The atmosphere is so pleasant, it is so calm in the office, cozy and warm – a true hub for young enthusiastic people coming from all sides of the world. There are the EVS volunteers, the Peace Corps volunteers and the Macedonian crew. I immediately figured out that I will learn a lot, will follow meaningful presentations, make friends and have a good time,” shares Jasminka. “Several sessions featured Tamara, project coordinator at Mladiinfo and Antoaneta, co-founder and president of Mladiinfo. One can learn a lot from them. I personally had bunch of questions about budgeting and reporting on projects, and it is best when you get to learn from people who have already walked the walk,” adds Jasminka.
“Talking about fundraising and administrative issues of an NGO was what I appreciated the most. Getting to know all the kinds of non-governmental organizations, and various approaches of planning and organizing the life of an NGO was definitely something I consider the most valuable. Also this time Skopje provided me with plenty of intense experiences – not just the concrete boats which they are building in the Vardar River in the absolute center of the city, but also some tango milonga lessons with Macedonian people – cheerfulness, passion and intensity. This is what these 10 days here were about,” shares Marta.
“When you go to the web page www.mladiinfo.eu, you might not possibly imagine that it is simply run by the one single team situated in the small office. Apart from Antoaneta, Tamara and Stefan who were now editing the brand new Mladiinfo network page, we met the other volunteers who update the daily contents and opportunities for youth on the web: Austin, Tatiana and Daniel, the three of whom come from the USA, Slovakia and Spain, respectively. The webpage is quite demanding, with daily tasks that need to be fulfilled. Answering comments, updating the social media channels, proofreading information that are free for youth and doing online research– we could see how all that functions and even further to find out the main challenges in editing thanks to Austin and Stefan,” says Jasminka.
The activities also included the visit to the Volunteers Centre Skopje (VCS) and participation in the info days organized by the Macedonian National Agency for European Educational Programmes and Mobility. Through participating in the info day, the whole team had the possibility to get more clued into the outcomes of the Youth in Action Programme, as well as to hear something more about the new programme Erasmus+ and furthermore about other different programs for which Macedonia is accredited at the moment. At VCS there was the opportunity to check out the good practices of different organizations where the pleasant VCS team gave the insight and the glance of their work.
“With Jasminka we were thinking how to improve M!Slovenia which is still quite new on the non-governmental arena. I got the information I needed to run M!Slovenia better, I met people in M!Skopje who started all of this and I’ve gotten from them a new stoke of energy to work on! Thank you Mladiinfo!” sums up Marta.
Our final day to head into the Mladiinfo office was 8 November. Feeling a bit sad that it was over, we brought with us Borovnicevec, a typical Slovenian liqueur, plus some typical Polish sweets. And, we came in a very good time for Mladiinfo, as the initiative celebrated its fifth birthday at the beginning of November. How to better end our Job Shadowing activities, but by following all logistical tasks that the team accomplished in order to throw a nice party at a club in the heart of the city? And then finally – the party! Celebration time, joy and the most delicious cake in the world!
Article by Mladiinfo team ft. Jasminka Mitkovska and Marta Kaliszewska