I live in North Macedonia, a multi-ethnic society. I attended a school that segregated students by ethnicity, keeping Macedonians and Albanians apart. It wasn't easy to meet people who did not belong to my Albanian community, until I started to participate in intercultural conferences and go beyond what school offered. This made me realize that that's the only way to go, be active and engaged.
When society is segregated, it’s easy for the majority to be dominant, leading to self-discrimination by the minority. often separate themselves, feel discriminated against, and begin to self-reinforce the inferior. As a result, when it comes to being active in society, we as minorities feel inferior, create prejudices for ourselves, and are often afraid to speak freely for fear of being further judged. I felt that way in particular situations. But with more interaction with students of other communities, I started seeing things from different angles.
I understand that people face difficulties with stereotypes and discrimination. So my goal is to work and create a community, especially among youth, that is supportive and gives everyone space to be engaged.
Sometimes we as young people are not aware that we have the present and the future in our hands. A lot of times, we are not even allowed by society or family to make decisions, so we are unaware of having the right to make decisions. Knowing our rights as young people and recognizing our power is critical. Young people should be aware of their fundamental rights.
Young people in North Macedonia are native to using digital tools, and our way of being active is through that. However, the challenge is also that young people do not have much space in the traditional form of activism. And the way to get them involved is to start inviting youth, motivate them to be part of your work, and create youth networks.