1) In the previous interview, you mentioned that you are involved in youth activism. Is volunteering important for a young person’s development and active involvement in community development? Can you share how it all affected you and how it contributed to your personal development?
I’ve started volunteering in High school, and soon after I was actively involved in youth activism. For me, it is a kind of freedom – to do something, to change things, to improve, to provide help. Through this type of social engagement, I also connected and met young people similar to me who also wanted to give a sort of contribution to their community. Our seemingly small efforts and small endeavour put together were truly important to someone. In those situations, it is easy to notice how much an individual, working with others, has the strength to make valuable and important changes.
I always remember one of the most beautiful volunteer tasks I did, maybe five or six years ago. It concerned the adaptation of literature for the hearing impaired persons, actually for their Audio Library that exists within the Association of the Blind of Montenegro. For just a few hours in a week that I would set aside for this little job, I was rewarded with wonderful words of sincere gratitude, and the knowledge that I had made it easier for some people to hear and learn something new. It gave me a special feeling since I was always looking forward to each new “package” of texts that needed to be corrected. 🙂 In general, I think that people do not value enough their individual contribution that can be provided in this or any similar way.
On the other hand, youth activism gave me the opportunity to improve the knowledge I acquired at the Faculty of Political Sciences, to exchange views and ideas with my peers, and to act concretely. In fact, this sort of activism directed me towards things that I later continued to do, it opened new opportunities for my personal and professional improvement, it brought me new contacts and acquaintances. Also, it enabled me to induce, in a certain way, all those qualities that I had kept in the background until that moment. It is very important that young people are aware that they have been given the opportunity to change something. Not to look at these changes as something happening next to or past them, but to actively participate and be part of that.
2) The two of us met on an international project in North Macedonia. Do you believe in love and friendship in the Western Balkans and in a bright and prosperous future built by young people like you and me now? Personally, I believe that our international friendships are the only solid foundation for the development of this region. As a youth activist, what are your thoughts on that?
There are a lot of seminars, conferences, and trainings that I attended, but that conference in North Macedonia, in Kruševo is really something special (I know you will agree :)). That is a wonderful example that supports your question. Young people from 15 countries participated if I’m not mistaken, and despite the linguistic and cultural differences, different countries we come from, and even political affiliations, we managed to realize one phenomenal seminar. We managed to learn a lot, to deal very seriously and studiously with the topics that were part of our agenda, but our great energy and friendship is something that was wonderful and unforgettable. I met wonderful people, I met you, and still, I successfully maintain contact with a dozen people from that team. I am convinced that even now, with the same enthusiasm, we could make a new project. So, without any doubt, I believe that we, young people have the power to build a much better future, which will be free of all those “tails” and bad things from the past, especially when it comes to the Western Balkans. I think that our “healthy” ideas, openness regarding the future, and desire to cooperate for the common good, are above all visible and invisible barriers.
Bellspiration is a great example of that international connection, new friendships, due to spreading inspiring messages and stories worth hearing. I sincerely believe in our generation, as well as in the generations to come. I strongly believe that we have enough capacity and desire to nurture international friendships and strengthen those ties, in order to make this region a much better place to live.
3) You said you don’t set yourself 5-year or 10-year plans and deadlines. I have to admit that I don’t do that either and I understand you completely in that, but I want to ask you if you have a general vision of your life – is Elida a tireless dreamer in some 50 years?
If I gave up dreaming, it would mean that I gave up on myself 🙂 It is something that stimulates me. Honestly, a lot of my dreams have come true, some that still haven’t, are waiting their turn. I never restrained myself with deadlines and plans, especially because I don’t think that life should be lived according to some pre-established chronology.
So, the general vision of my life is completely in line with that – I will do what I love and what fulfills me, I will be surrounded by good people, travel even more, and maybe at some point start life in another country. I am very much looking forward to seeing what surprises life brings me, and perhaps some of them I invoke with my daydreams 🙂
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