The coronavirus pandemic caused tremendous changes in our everyday life, so it affected each one of us. It affected daily life, working area, culture, cinemas, etc. Besides all the obstacles and barriers, the jubilee 20 edition of Dokufest finally occurred. Prizren’s biggest annual cultural event, the short film and documentary festival, Dokufest usually gathers tourists and artists from around the world to attend. This year, festival’s organizers highlighted that it wasn’t easy to organize a festival of this size in times of pandemics. However, with the engagement of various partner organizations and energetic young people, they reached to fulfill their goals. Thirty movies directed by artists from the region were screened during the days of the festival.
The slogan of the 20th Dokufest edition – Re: set, Re: mix, Re: act – hints, showed that a crucial part of the festival’s concept is the call to activism, gathering volunteers from the whole region to spread awareness and help this dream to survive.
Being a Dokufest volunteer remains a source of pride since its early days. This year, the Regional Youth Cooperation Office within the ROUTE WB6 project** gave a significant contribution gathering a regional team of volunteers: young and ambitious people from the Western Balkans came to Prizren, Kosovo* to spend one week at this magnificent festival.
Diona Sapahiju, the Lumbardhi Cinema’s Coordinator, emphasized the importance of the volunteers’ work: “The volunteers were of great support and I am delighted with their passionate engagement during the festival.”
Erna Ceranic, a volunteer from Montenegro expressed her delight, too: “So far, this is the best experience I have ever had. I met many new people, expanded my horizons, learned a lot of new things, and definitely, I learned how to face challenges.” This opinion is shared by Milica Dobrojevic, a volunteer from Serbia, who emphasized that this festival has brought her beautiful moments, fun, and great experiences.
Dajlan Mekic, another young volunteer from Montenegro, added that besides the fascinating experience, he comes back home with beautiful memories.
“Thanks to this experience I managed to make new friends from the region and exchange our views and ideas on cultural issues. At the same time, I visited many historical sites and monuments for which I had not had the opportunity before,” Marime Gjoka, a volunteer from Albania, stated.
All the volunteers have a joint message for their peers: Whenever you can – help! Volunteering makes the world a better place!
Author: Gabriela Leskova
This story was produced during the three-month Program for Students of Journalism in the Western Balkans within the framework of the advocacy project “A Better Region Starts with Youth” implemented by RYCO with the support of the Federal Republic of Germany. All journalists’ work is their own and the content of any given article does not represent the opinion of RYCO, and RYCO cannot guarantee the validity and the accuracy of the information that these stories contain.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo Declaration of Independence.
**ROUTE WB6 young volunteers will join other initiatives that promote cultural, social and human values through music and visual arts performed by young artists in the region. The overall objective of the project is to make young people from the region drivers of reconciliation and societal reconstruction, enabling them to apply European values, initiate and lead intercultural dialogue and regional cooperation towards socio-economic and democratic development. The project is being implemented across the Western Balkans by a consortium led by the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) in cooperation with Beyond Barriers, the Southeast European Youth Network, Lens, Youth Cultural Center Bitola, Association for Democracy and Prosperity – Zid, Young Researchers of Serbia and Institute for Youth Development KULT. The project is supported by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.