|Dushko Arsovski, a journalist|
You can call it whatever you want: intuition, coincidence, secret relationship… Without giving it a thought that April 29 is the CHILDREN’S EMBASSY’s birthday, I gave myself a deadline to which I had to send in my text contribution in the series done by former members of this noble MOVEMENT.
|Megjashi – A Landmark for a Generation|
But that won’t change anything of what I wanted to say. The 19 years of existence are by themselves a proof that the idea was original and sustainable when MEGJASHI was born. At the beginning, when we helped the refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina and now when a lot of children in Macedonia need different kind of help, the mission is the same –reaching out to people when they need it the most. That is something “Megjashi” has been doing for 19 years now, much longer t seems than some government institutions even. For example the first seat of the Embassy was in the former CK where later the executive government was placed. The idea of helping was what attracted my attention when I first heard of the First Children’s Embassy in the World, although I should admit it wasn’t very clear to me why it was called so. Later I realised, when I met Misho Klachar, the author of the symbol “Bushavko” (Shaggy), in Belgrade, when in a workshop in Germany when Dragi Zmijanac and I were among the selected representatives of the NGOs in Europe, when the Macedonian media contacted us, when the membership in “Megjashi” increased several times over a short period, I realised that this was a BIG DEAL. My share in that period was media promotion of the idea. My first TV project was a show about the Embassy. We cannot count the appearances on local radio and TV stations across Macedonia when we travelled by van and visited several different towns in a single day. We talked about children’s rights at a time when the social status of an overwhelming majority of adults crashed down which affected children. We were pointing out the mistakes and what should be done to fix them and I think we managed to assert ourselves as an organisation, to speak up and to be heard. We were a team ready to play at midnight if necessary. There was team spirit which was unconsciously and spontaneously built from the heart because we were active through socialising. Thousands of friendships were formed, some of which continue today. We had a quorum for work but also for leisure activities at any time. I will never forget he attempt at mountaineering when we went to Oslomej by train, and from there continued on foot to Tajmishte. But also the time when we had to send off Mitko to the army, so a group of us went to Miravci and some had to sleep on the floor because there were more of us than there were beds in the house. The villagers remembered us as the friends from the Children’s Embassy. I remember what a great experience it was when we moved from Chedomir Minderovik Street to the Lazo Trpovski School.
Today a lot of things are different than 15 years ago or so. The first Children’s Embassy in the World is a recognised institution which is an active participant in creating policies concerning children. I think it is a huge success for an organisation which initially faced obstacles from some political circles. There are other similar movements now, but it should be noted that “Megjashi” is certainly the ideologue. The long-term project, the SOS phone line for children and youth, became a safe haven for many and a loud alarm about the negative phenomena in society and it should continue in the future.
I don’t know about others, but for me “Megjashi” is a landmark between two phases of my life when I learned lessons about tolerance, about what it means to help somebody, how to create a circle of true friends. That is something I am grateful for.