“Sitting, Waiting, Wishing” vs ACTING – NGOs and Unemployment

Authors: Lolita Bērziņa, Lisa Quelle, Robert Nagy and Elgun Bey Yusifbeyli

Youth unemployment in Macedonia, as well as in all of Europe is a hot issue. As NGOs are getting more attention lately, the main topic of this article is to find out what they can do to help in solving the problem. Here is an example from Kavadarci, a small city in south of Macedonia, and different opinions of NGO workers and local people interviewed on the streets.

kreACTive Team: Dime, Aleksandra & Nikola                                          photo by Lisa Quelle PHOTOGRAPHY

Aleksandra Ristova – Coordinator, Youth Worker at „kreAKTive”, NGO-youth center, assures that youth unemployment is really a problem in Kavadarci. As an example she mentions her own experience in finding a job.

Aleksandra is part of the team of the youth center “kreAKTive” in Kavadarci. She says it is the first time she has a real job and it also didn’t come easily. She first had invested in opening an internet café. She bought the computers and found a nice place. It worked well for some time, but it was not really her passion, so she decided to respond to an open call for coordinator at „kreAKTive”. And there she is for one and a half years now.
Asked about opportunities for youth in her organisation she replies that even if the work as a volunteer isn’t paid, young people have the chance to escape from boredom and daily routine, to explore some new activities and learn new skills.
While visiting the centre, we also asked a couple of volunteers to share their opinion and they agreed with Aleksandra. Like most of young people in Kavadarci, Nikola and Sime they actually already have a job, they are employed as waiters and fruit pickers, but this is not the job of their lives, so they volunteer in “kreAKTive” to improve their situation.

                                                                                                           photo by Lisa Quelle PHOTOGRAPHY

”kreAKTive” is quite known in Kavadarci. When asking to young people in the streets we had different answer. Some had experience with working in NGOs and some didn’t even know a thing what NGOs are about. But surprisingly most of them showed the readiness to work for one, even though they are not sure that NGOs could have any success in solving unemployment problems. According to them, for that it is necessary to have a wider network of connections in business and governmental sectors, to get some support for the implementation of their projects.

Actually this is what „kreAKTive” is working with now – they want to start up a partnership with local companies. Aleksandra says that even if the internship in the companies would be unpaid there would be a win-win situation for both the company and the young people. Volunteers would get some experience in practical worklife, structured days and employers would get some work done for free.

So, how to get a job in an NGO? We got always the same answer: „One needs the will to do something for others”, „should be open-minded” and have „positive attitude and that’s it”. Shouldn’t be that difficult, should it?!

                                                                                                           photo by Lisa Quelle PHOTOGRAPHY


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