Have you ever thought how wonderful it would be to create a change, a positive impact? I am sure you did. Or at least you noticed one thing that annoys you, then you were aware of the solution and then immediately thought how change is impossible.
You know what? So did I. Until I met young people in Croatia who are not afraid to make that step and create a change when everyone else around them keeps saying: It’s impossible.
In the last two years, thousands of young people are leaving Croatia. Newspaper covers are full of hopeless stories with the most important message: there is no future for young people in Croatia.
In these surroundings, what would you do? Would you think you could make a change? Or you just wouldn’t care?
This November, a group of 20 young people organized a five-day conference in Zagreb, Croatia and reached 500 young people. Their message was: the future belongs to you, you have the responsibility to make a change and by taking it you will change your future for the better!
How awesome is that? And this is what those young people from World Youth Alliance Croatia do every single year for the past six years. The conference is known as #wyaweek but each year, there is a new topic that addresses the needs of young people. When I asked them why they are doing that, they said: Young people have questions and they have a right to ask them and get answers. We believe change is possible, but only if we do something about it. It is not necessary to know how or where to start, but to actually move beyond your fears and desperation and just start.
This year they had one question: What do young people need to do in Croatia? They say that this year they didn’t want to talk about the responsibility of politicians and lawmakers, who still have their part in it, but what they wanted was to make young people aware of the power they have. It is in their hands but they forget how to use it. Feminism, women empowerment, entrepreneurship workshops, cultural events and discussion on critical thinking of changes in European society – those were the main topics of the conference.
Have they made young people stop leaving Croatia? No. Have they created a positive atmosphere, offered the motivation, skills and proved that not every single person wants to leave this country? Definitely and totally, yes. And sometimes, that’s all we need – to be encouraged, to have someone tell us: everything is possible, just keep going, and be not afraid.
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Written by Marija Jurišić, WYA Croatia Secretary