When I realized there is a world outside of scool by Stefan Manevski

Context of Author

Stefan is a youth worker and trainer in the youth field, he is mainly associated with the Centre for Intercultural Dialogue. He is actively involved in the Union for Youth Work, which supports the process of legislative and social recognition of youth work in ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''.


''The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''


It is a story of my first non-formal education course and youth work experience that motivated me later on to continue working for intercultural dialogue and cooperation. I have the pleasure today to work together with my fellow trainers and youth workers in supporting youth development and improving the youth field in ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''.

Story in Full

My decision to do what I do today, being a youth worker and trainer in the youth field, was made thanks to participating in youth work programmes in my youth. Youth work contributed to the development of my social skills and my better understanding of the society in which I live. Furthermore it motivated me to join civil society organizations and engage in intercultural dialogue.

When I first attended a youth work activity I was 8 but it was still very formal and seen as an extracurricular class associated with schools. When I was 15 (one year after the armed conflict in ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia'') I attended my first training for youth leaders. It was special on so many levels: we were sitting in a circle and invited to contribute as much as possible, all the people could speak in their native language and we were invited to do our best to understand each other. But for me the biggest shock came from understanding perceptions and how each of us, through our own personal experiences, sees things in a different way.

I believe that those 4 days of training were a life-changing moment for me as I saw that I can do more than only the classes in school, but I can actually work in society and support the peace-building efforts in my community directly.

To be honest, at the time I probably didn’t use such words but I was aware of what it meant to accept diversity as this is how my family brought me up. I found that youth work was much more open towards different people, different ideas and different approaches than what I was experiencing in school at the time.

After following such a course I decided to get active in my free time, I started volunteering for different organizations and working on interethnic dialogue and community development. 5 years later I was among the founders of the ‘Centre for Intercultural Dialogue’ (CID), Kumanovo, ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''. It has developed today as one of the moving engines of youth work development in ''the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia''. It promotes access to quality youth work, volunteering, and youth participation opportunities. Nowadays, CID offers youth work not only on national and international level training and learning activities, but also on a very grassroots level. Within our youth centres that are community based, hundreds of young people annually are offered the opportunity to experience this world out of school, and especially enhance their personal and social development to become active citizens who are open to the world.