Marija Krstevska is a member of EDYN North Macedonia. We applaud the successes of our members and are happy to give them a platform to speak about their journey. In the following lines, Marija describes some fortunate events that happened to her during the low period of recent history.
“The Covid-19 pandemic was probably the hardest thing that hit us recently. Every single person was affected by it, no matter where on the planet. In the beginning, when it started back in 2020 no one knew how long it will last. Scared and confused, we stopped many of our daily activities, but later on, we started to adapt and find new ways of continuing with our life.
In this short blog, I would like to take a look back at 2021. Despite still being a year of pandemic, 2021 was very successful for me. I had two big professional successes in 2021 that transcend in 2022. The first one was being elected president of the National youth council of Macedonia, the biggest youth representative body in my country. I am honored to still carry on that role for one more year, representing youth and advocating for better youth rights and greater youth participation which is not an easy task knowing that all the research is showing that young people are not satisfied with their position in the society, are not consulted and one of the biggest problems we are facing for decades now is brain drain. Still, with each new day, I am trying to change things for the better.
Shortly after the elections in the National youth council, exactly on my birthday, I remember well, I received the happiest email delivering me the news that I was selected to participate in а prestigious program at Columbia University, the Human Rights Advocates Program. Thanks to my organization Center for intercultural dialogue, and the work I’ve been doing in the past decade as an advocate for intercultural acceptance among youth in North Macedonia, I got the chance to meet 11 incredible human rights activists from 11 different countries around the world, and share practices and learn together through one online semester of capacity-building workshops, and one semester in person in New York attending classes at Columbia University and meeting with different stakeholders.
What these two things have in common, besides both happening during the pandemic, is that they showed me once again that I should never stop working on myself. Whether through formal or nonformal education, there are plenty of opportunities out there. There is always a way to fulfill your dreams, and tough situations are bringing us together, not only to support each other but to also learn from each other.”