By Erris Boshnjaku, (YES 2015-2016, Faribault, MN)
Following the YES Social Entrepreneurship Workshop held in Krushevo in October 2016, YES alumni participated in the UN Women-supported UPSHIFT Social Impact Workshop held in November 2016. Supported by the mentorship of Adam Snow (Peace Corps Volunteer in Gjilan) we strengthened our problem-solving skills and gained the necessary entrepreneurial skills to design products or services to tackle gender equality challenges in their communities.
The UPSHIFT workshop is part of UNICEF Innovations Lab Kosovo By Youth For Youth program, which empowers youth to build professional skills through mentorship and experiential learning. UN Women partnered with UNICEF for the #16Days of Activism campaign in order to engage youth in Kosovo on the issue of gender-based violence. This is the environment in which WUFI ( Woman United For Independence) was established.
YES Alumni Erris Boshnjaku (’16), Visar Zeka (’16), Rinë Fetahu (’14) and Anita Maloku saw a need in gender equality organizations and volunteering opportunities in Kosovo. UPSHIFT workshop was the perfect opportunity for this idea to come to reality, with the help of great mentors and the support from UNICEF Innovation Lab Kosovo and UN Woman, WUFI was selected among the winning projects.
We believe that girls have so much to offer to the world – we believe in the power that they hold and know that they will mold future generations to come. At WUFI, we are here to give them the support they need in order to shape them into leaders of the future. We have developed a number of educational programs and leadership initiatives that help nurture our youth and help them develop the skills they will carry throughout their lives and look forward to expend this project further!