The problems that our society faces are quite challenging, but we are precisely the ones who choose whether we want to remain ignorant or to accept the challenges and work on overcoming these problems.

UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo came to my High School “Xhevdet Doda” and they informed us about the 4th edition of UPSHIFT.

Me and my group were concerned with the topic of bullying that is happening among students in our schools and while we were in the three-day workshop (on the weekend) we learned to use the tools that helped us organize our thinking. We drew the Problem Tree where we presented causes of our problem and consequences, and while doing these tasks we learned to contemplate the coming problems of our society. I laugh when I compare the causes of the bullying problem before the workshop with those causes after workshop (after a deep analysis), because it presents a huge contrast, since it became more clear to us what we wanted to achieve.

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UPSHIFT gave me a chance to prove my abilities to solve the problems that our society is facing. The experience that I gained in Upshift can also be applied in other areas in my life as well. It was a privilege to sit with the professionals and learn creative methods on how to solve the problems in my community. Focus, work, and discussion between the group members and our mentor were required. Sometimes for the longing that we had to reach to the solution we also had disagreements on some issues about potential solutions, disagreements between the team, etc. Nevertheless, these disagreements did not pull us back, and instead they resulted in more qualitative solutions. Energy, games, laughter and friendship were inseparable parts of this workshop, for this reason I called this weekend “Fun and Fruitful”.

The “Learning-By-Doing” Method had a huge impact on me as a teenager and made me more productive, and it pushed me to apply it in other matters and areas of life.

My adventure began after my group (“Say No to Bullying”) won the jury’s approval to implement the project. It was time to put things into practice. Our plan was:

1. Formation of clubs in two elementary schools (“Model” School and “Green School”), where these schools were willing to help us in developing these clubs through which we aimed the socialization of children of different categories.

2. Making a Short Film with a message of awareness.

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How to implement the project? Do we have enough experience as high school students? Will we overcome the problems that arise during the implementation of the project? How do we manage 2,000€? etc.

Despite all these challenges, we always had the support of UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo.

As the leader of the project, I had additional responsibilities. At first it was a little difficult with the pressure that was on me because I did not have a lot of experience, but by consulting with people who had the experience and with the support of UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo I was able to finish my tasks successfully.

During the activities with children in the clubs we have used some of the methods that we learned while we were in UPSHIFT.
Clubs have brought results which are seen at the beginning of meetings where children have shown the new associations that they have gained by applying and practicing the methods proposed by us. Children made postcards which they gave to children who are quiet and more withdrawn. The results were amazing. These games were spread among other pupils who were not part of our clubs. Parents have called the teachers to tell them about the positive results that were achieved and the difference it made to their children with the acceptance of that postcard.

During the meetings, children were very satisfied with the goal and the implementation of this project, they wanted us to stay even longer than we planned in our agenda of activities. These children were not only associated with each other, but they were also associated with us and gave us gifts.

After we held our meetings with children there have been cases where these children were directed to me by saying “Enis, you’re like a brother to me”, “You’re my close friend,” etc., these words proved me the impact that we made for these children, with some whom I still maintain contact on Facebook.

Engaging with children was not easy but it was definitely an interesting experience.

The second phase of the project implementation was about making a short film.
While I was writing the script I was focused that the film’s message should be for all categories of people since bullying is a serious problem and cooperation is required in resolving this problem.

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While writing the script there have been interferences by the group members, Dafina Sylaj and Bardha Kelmendi, with the help of which the message of the film was completed in a way that is clear to all. The screenplay of the film (“Përtej Vijave / Beyond the Lines”) includes the causes, consequences and solutions to societal problems. It is based on real events. Most of the scenes were done in the High School “Xhevdet Doda”. The premiere was on 10th of June 2016 in Kino ABC.

The movie was well welcomed by students and the media. The public was satisfied, excited and proud with our work. We received numerous compliments, one of them was: “If I hadn’t come to the premiere, I would have lost something magnificent”, others said: “You have the potential to achieve a lot of things, don’t stop” etc.

Through the film “Say No to Bullying” was able to convey a message of awareness to the audience and it represented our society’s problems, causes, consequences and the solutions. The result was marvelous.

We give special thanks to UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo who supported us and without whom this project would not have started in the first place. We started in UPSHIFT and although we do not know where we are going to end up after this, the lessons that we learned there will always be beneficial and we will continue to apply them in the future.

I feel lucky to be an UPSHIFTer ☺!