17 years ago a guy went to Lithuania…
… and Volunteers Centre Skopje was born. After a one-year European Voluntary Service (EVS) project in Lithuania, a 19-year-old Nikola Stankoski returned to Macedonia full of dreams and hopes for the future of youth. And he didn’t return empty-handed. He carried a little seed with the idea of providing local and international experiences while living by the principle of learning by doing – that little seed had ‘VCS’ written on it. And that’s how we, a non-governmental organization for youth, were born.
In the first year, we hosted 10 volunteers and sent 30 Macedonian volunteers abroad. Today, we are one of the leading organizations for youth in Macedonia when it comes to youth exchange, volunteerism, activism, a recognizable brand and a trusted partner through which over 8000 Macedonian and foreign volunteers and youth activists have passed.
2 laws about volunteering & youth
3 national youth strategies
6 local youth strategies
Operative Manager and editor of VOICES
ESC & VET Coordinator
Social Media Coordinator
Why do we do this?
Our main goal as an organization is to give non-formal educational opportunities to young people, in different fields, both locally and internationally. Volunteerism is a big and important idea also promoted by us while connecting youngsters no matter their nationality, religion, gender, political, economic or social status. We aspire to contribute to a multicultural civil society, to reinforce existing democratic structures, to support young people in developing their individual abilities and skills and to foster closer cooperation among youngsters. And young people in Macedonia are up on our priority list – we want them to progress, to get out of the apathy they feel, to go abroad, to strengthen their sense of belonging, to come back and change things around them. Or if they just want to raise their voices, we also encourage youngsters all over the world to write to VOICES Magazine – our project published since 2006 and a platform for young people to express themselves. See here how you can join!
On the other hand, more than 500 young European volunteers passed through our organization, due to various programs of the European Commission. They chose to come to Macedonia to strengthen their capacities, skills and knowledge, but also to help build a stronger and healthier society through volunteering and breaking stereotypes and prejudices. See here how you can come to Macedonia for a life-changing experience!
We take an active part in society by offering equal opportunities to youngsters and working to improve their living standards. Through European funds, we provide information and possibilities about volunteering and non-formal education, both locally and internationally. With these opportunities and programs, we want to involve and encourage young people in taking part in decision-making processes. We are an accredited organization for sending and receiving ESC volunteers, reference number EVS: 2014-1-MK01-KA110-000293
"VCS lets volunteers be the voice of the people put into action."
Lucile, ESC volunteer from France
Why are we passionate about youth work and volunteerism?
“Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless …” is the motto that we live by every day. And we say we are (as) a family, because, even though we are people of different nationalities, with different views on life, different ideologies and, of course, different characters, we are all driven by the same thought: how to change and make things better around us.
And that does not mean we are utopians just because we want to do something that may be doomed to failure. Changes happen slowly. It is enough to start by cleaning the garbage in front of your building, to give a hot meal to street children, to help young people choosing the profession they want and will like, to be part of workshops or events that will influence the “Adults”, to hear the voice and needs of youngsters, to motivate as many activists as possible to get out of apathy and to be useful to the environment and society … and we do it – we do not wait for change to happen, we make the change happen.
Even an individual’s personal growth can have a huge impact on society, which is why many young people from Macedonia and abroad choose to volunteer in some other country. They get a chance to see the world from a different angle. An angle detached from their comfort zone and that, in return, gives them an invincible feeling – the feeling of doing something good, of giving without expecting anything back. Giving to yourself and to those around you. And, mostly, to those you do not even know and may not see again.
And, well, that feeling… you can not put a price on it, can you?
Our ESC volunteers
Those, who took a challenge of moving to Macedonia to volunteer! Some of them for few months, most of them for almost a year. Crazy? Read their personal profiles by clicking the photo.