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October 31, 2016 | Monday

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EUICC Photo Exhibition: Our Young Heroes Curated by Orgesa Arifi

The EUICC ended its October campaign, EU is about Freedom of Expression, with an Open House Photo Exhibition. The Our Young Heroes exhibition captures profiles of ten passionate young people from Kosovo, who with their dedication to create a better future for themselves and the communities are helping Kosovo in its European path.

With their hard work, good will and positive energy, these youth are opening paths for others too. They run organizations, protect human and animal rights, conduct awareness raising campaigns, publish scientific studies, innovate and promote nature, creating a better life for themselves and the community.

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Mrika Aliu, Hero for Mothers and Children – Executive Director of Action for Mothers and Children (AMC). Mrika and AMC host fundraising events, with the goal to improve the lives of children and mothers in Kosovo. Mrika, a young woman with a great heart believes that with great passion and commitment we can change the life of those in need. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Driton Gusija, Hero for Stray Animals – A big proponent of animal rights in Kosovo, Driton organizes awareness raising campaigns, protests, marches, and actions in support of stray animals. He has saved hundreds of animals by providing shelter, food, medication and a safe environment where they could happily live. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Aulone Memeti, Hero for Free Speech – Aulone is a determined young woman doing whatever it takes to help her fellow citizens feel safe and raise their voices for what they believe is right. She organizes awareness raising campaigns, protests, TEDx Talks, write socio-political articles and participate in panel discussions incenting her to be an active citizen and have courage to take a stance for what she believe in. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)   

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Gent Thaci, Hero for Innovation – Gent it a social hacktivist who is passionately involved with the technology community in Kosovo through the work of FLOSSK and also more recently with Pristina Hackerspace. One of Gent’s new passions is the Termokiss, a new social centre that will serve as a meeting point for individuals of all ages and backgrounds in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Uta Ibrahimi, Hero for Nature – Having climbed numerous peaks such as Mont Blanc, Musala, Jezera, Tito’s peak, Agule Di Midi and many others, Uta merged her passion into the Balkan Outdoor Experience, a company aiming to offer an outdoor experience with spirit and safety. Her love for nature has contributed to Kosovo’s tourism, sharing the amazing landscapes of Kosovo with us all. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Stefan Veljković, Hero for Human Rights – Stefan conducts qualitative research and delivers trainings on issues of gender equality, masculinity, health, alcohol and drugs, violence prevention and peer education. He is passionate about working with young people to prevent violence and alcoholism and promote gender equality throughout society. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Leotrime Bytyqi, Hero for Justice – Leotrime works for the Legal Clinic at ILIRIA College which has provided free legal services to more than 1,300 Kosovo citizens over an 11 month period. Leotrime and her team believe that they can bring positive change for society if  every citizen in Kosovo can access the legal services they need to protect his or her rights. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Lulzim Bucolli, Hero for Motivation – Lulzim has worked as a theater practitioner for around ten years as well as a theatre and drama teacher in Pristina and Hawaii. He uses art and theater as a tool to promote equality and  fight for justice and human rights. Lulzim looks forward to using theatre in hospitals, juvenile centers and other facilities where drama can make a change. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi).

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Valon Xhafa, Hero for Science – Valon is  20 years old and graduated with a degree in Computer Engineering at University of Pristina. Valon has published six studies in globally recognized scientific journals, in the field of social media, parallel processing, design of algorithms and application. Valon is a young man with great ambition, aiming to bring further prosperity in field of computer science in Kosovo. (Photo Credit: Orgesa Arifi)

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Bajram Kinolli, Hero for Peace, hails from a long line of musicians and performers representing Roma traditions. For the last 5 years, he has led Gipsy Groove, a successful band that fuses Balkan music with reggae, jazz and funk, with the goal of emphasizing the role of music in the peacebuilding process. Currently he runs the organization GAIA, which works for the promotion of peace, understanding and solidarity between people, social justice, sustainable development and respect for the environment. Bajram believes that if we show solidarity, respect and gratitude we can live happily in a multicultural society.

Kosovo is one of the youngest countries in Europe with more than fifty percent of the population under the age of twenty-five. Lack of investment in education, science, technology, art and social welfare create obstacles for these youngsters to work for a better future. Despite this, we believe that the enthusiasm of the young generation will lead to positive change in Kosovo’s society, for a better life and brighter future for them and for the community, based on European values. With this exhibition, we promote Kosovo’s successful young people, and highlight the importance of supporting and investing in the future.

The portraits of the heroes were captured by Orgesa Arifi, a young photographer from Pristina with a passion on storytelling and documentaries. After finishing high school at Pristina’s Sami Frasheri Gymnasium, she continued studying Marketing at the University of Pristina. While pursuing her studies, Orgesa participated in numerous projects as a photographer, with her first pictures being exhibited in New York in 2008 at Albanian Women Exposed and later on in 2011 in Face The Reflection, a collaboration of artists from Pristina and Belgrade. Her professional work started at Film Festivals in Pristina, such as Skena Up Festival and Pristina Film Festival. Orgesa currently works at CHwB Kosovo as a storyteller, sharing her passion for photography. She enjoys developing documentaries and stories showing the positive and negative aspects of Kosovo.

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Orgesa Arifi, the photographer who captured and edited the profiles of our young heroes.