In August 2016, 34 American volunteers started to work in Kosovo. During their 24- month stay, they will help with education and community development.

They are part of Peace Corps Kosovo which started to work in Kosovo in 2014, and has since brought over 100 volunteers with different backgrounds from the United States to Kosovo.

A volunteering trend has started to grow locally among young citizens of Kosovo. Most of the initiatives come from abroad.

Florandë Morina is a student who spends her Saturdays talking and playing with the Roma and Ashkali communities in the classes of “The Ideas Partnership” in Fushë Kosova. Her goal is to motivate 60 girls, aged 7-12, not to drop out of school. The project called “Girls Club,” where she works, has activities in other cities such as Prizren and Peja. She believes that projects of this nature play an important role in integrating the communities in society. As for volunteering, she considers it an activity that “makes the world a better place and fair for everyone.”

“By sharing something of ours, without thinking about the material benefit, makes us individuals worthy of society,” she says.

Floranda says that not only has volunteering fulfilled her spiritually, it has also made her understand the importance of an individual in society.

“By engaging as a volunteer I also improved my organizing skills, managing time as well as other skills that help pursue a career,” she says.

Volunteering in Kosovo, according to her, is more than just goodwill, since lots of people are in a desperate need of help.

Arjeta Ferati, another student who volunteers at the same organization, maintains “The Ideas Partnership” webpage and social networks. She says that she finds pleasure in this.

“Volunteering promotes kindness and has improved my life quality,” says Arjeta.

The American Corner promotes American language, culture, tradition and values for young people in Prishtina, Prizren and northern Mitrovica. Without the help of volunteers, their numerous activities would be hard to manage. Thirty volunteers are engaged in the National Library in Prishtina, where the American Corner is located, and a lot of others are interested in joining.

The coordinator, Gresa Bujupaj, believes that youth are very interested to join as volunteers, but adds that institutions should work harder to promote volunteering.

Different institutions should find an appropriate way to approach youth by offering volunteering jobs, by informing the volunteers of the jobs they can take and by encouraging them throughout their work,” she says.

According to her, a society like Kosovo, with a high number of young people, should use volunteer work to give them an opportunity to be productive, show their skills, and engage in different institutions.

There aren’t any statistics that show how many citizens are engaged in volunteer work. It is, however, certain that every organization that needs volunteers, has them.

Volunteering in Kosovo falls under certain laws, which are detailed in “Law on Empowerment and Participation of Youth.” The volunteers we contacted, however, believe that this is not sufficient.

According to them, there has to be a more specific law for volunteering that further specifies their rights and worth. They would prefer to have it count as job experience rather than “volunteering hours.”

Xhenete Hasani