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2011 – Year of Volunteerism 

Unpaid job-vacancy recommendation Young people in Macedonia find volunteering difficult due to economical pressure 


In Europe, 2011 is hailed as volunteering year. Countries of West Europe have tradition in volunteering.

How interested are young people in Macedonia to volunteer and what are the advantages of doing that?

Volunteering is person’s wish to contribute for others well-being! Those who volunteer also travel, learn foreign languages, acquire working experience, skills, knowledge…those are attitudes of volunteers who accept to voluntary work (without getting any financial compensation.

Gordana Pirkovska Zmijanac is a founder of the First Children Embassy in the World-Megjashi, where there are about 20 active young volunteers.

During a Deutsche Welle interview, concerning volunteering experience, Gordana says:

“Young people today are interested to volunteer, but there are some new aspects that are obstacles for that to happen. Maybe the difficult economic situation and unemployment got their biggest influence on the situation. Young people very often search for a place to volunteer, thinking that the recommendation from there would help them find a vacancy. The difference is in the fact that in the past period, those who came to volunteer, did that with a strong will for contributing to a positive social change. Today the voluntary approach is slightly opposite.

I notice that many young people come to our premises only in order to get a recommendation. Some of them may come to volunteer for 5-6 times and then inquire a vacancy recommendation. Our staff has no problems with giving them any recommendation, but the true meaning of volunteering is not related to the purpose of receiving recommendations. “

Volunteering in Macedonia is being promoted

Voluntary work is required in different fields.

We looked for the answer of Gjoko Vukanovski, board member of the non-governmental organization “Voluntary Centre Skopje” which helps young people include into voluntary work in Macedonia and abroad.

Gjoko thinks that volunteering in Macedonia is being sufficiently promoted:

“If we make a comparison with the situation in 2008 and 2009, in 2011, in relation with the communication that we have established with youngsters, it is visible that young people do have an interest to volunteer. In fact, with declaring 2011 as the year of voluntary work, there is a possibility to make young people aware of voluntary activities”

Voluntary work is being underestimated

Branko Peshevski is 27 and has been volunteering on projects for children and young people in Macedonia, as well as in Slovenia. He says that this experience helped him gain professional employment:

“Young people are appraised during volunteering. In our society, voluntary work is being underestimated. The general view on this kind of work is that it is an unpaid job and that it gives nothing but self appraising. Experiences coming out of voluntary work are essential. Priceless!”

“Volunteering is a tradition in West European countries, while the better life-standard allows people to easily accept a voluntary job” says Sebastian Schweitzer, a German  guy who has been volunteering for many times in his own country, Georgia and in Macedonia. At this moment he is working at the First Children's Embassy in the World-Megjashi in Skopje on a peace education programme.

“I think that it is much easier to volunteer in Germany, than it is in Macedonia or Georgia, simply because people in Germany are released from the economical pressure. They have better standard of living and can devote their time on a work that is not providing financial compensation. Therefore, I think that it is much more difficult to expect the same attitude towards volunteering in Macedonia, where people need to start working as soon as possible, without the opportunity to devote more time on their self-development” claims Sebastian Schweitzer

Author: Vladimir Kalinski

Redactor: Zh. Aceska