М. Т. Gologanov 54 1/7, 1000 Skopje, Republic of North Macedonia

Chess, Football and Basketball Bringing youth together in municipality of Cair

Sport is usually one of the best ways to socialize with peers, it has a positive impact in the wellbeing of children and youth and therefore it can raise productivity and change our everyday life. Youth in Cair was actively engaged in three tournaments, occurring on Tuesday March 5th, bringing together children from three schools to play together.
Chess, Football and Basketball games were played in two different locations and promoted social cohesion, multicultural understanding, and messages of tolerance and respect for diversity among youngsters. 

Cair is a municipality with the highest density of population in Europe, which also makes it very diverse in ethnic, social and religious aspect. North Macedonia is a multiethnic and multireligious country, with Skopje being a capital city where population is raising every year, the need to prevent destructive phenomenon is high. A number of factors stimulate unpleasant actions which can unintentionally create social gaps in the society from which youth is more endangered. Through cultural and sports activities we try to promote cooperation between citizens of all ethnic, social and religious groups, and create opportunities for improving the situation through a common action in this country. 

Pupils from twelve to fourteen years old competed in Chess, at “Hasan Prishtina” Primary School where students from “Vasil Glavinov” Primary School participated too. The tournament resulted with a very warm and welcoming spirit, highly motivating for all of them. The event was enriched with the visit of the HMA Ms. Rachel Galloway and the team from the British Embassy who came to observe the tournament together with the Mayor of Cair Municipality Mr. Visar Ganiu. Their visit brought additional courage to the young chess players.   

Later that day, moving to another location, at “Cvetan Dimov” High School, forty teenagers ethnic Albanians, Turks, Bosnian and others composing mixed teams of different age made sure to carry out spectacular tournaments. We all gathered to watch them play football and basketball.

The overall goal of the sports outreach event is to make students collaborate and, play together in a natural way. All pupils of Cair are raised and educated sharing mutual spaces, playgrounds, stadiums, schools and many other facilities in their everyday life. Knowing each other is the core point, an outset for them to build a better future where friendship, understanding and solidarity prevail. Participating in this kind of games and tournaments we, the society go one step ahead in fighting exclusion or marginalization. 

A sense of belonging is what helps kids become better in a team, sharing similar interests as their friends at the end of the day. Through the project we promote trust, social mobility to move upward in social education and other social variables. Indirectly facilitate the process of improving the terms of each individual or group to play an active role in society. 

We choose to work with the young people, because education is an important value, a vital part towards social cohesion, since education affects social inclusion, social capital and social mobility. Building trust and cooperation with schools can improve the level of opportunities, bring prospect, and increase educational attainment, strong elements to reduce inequality and create a positive environment. Municipalities where social cohesion is built are those where trust between different groups in society is stronger. 

The sports outreach event is one of the activities implemented in the scope of a two years project called “Strengthening the resilience in the local communities to violent extremism”, implemented in three municipalities in North Macedonia: Cair, Gostivar and Kicevo by Centre for Common Ground (CCG) and supported by the British Embassy in Skopje and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.