Peer Educators Network (PEN) is a non-governmental and non-profitable youth organization that aims to create a community where young men and women are empowered to act as agents of social change. PEN works all over Kosovo by being active in 36 municipalities and has over 4000 volunteers/peer educators, who are represented by Municipal Coordinators at the PEN Assembly. PEN is led by the Assembly of Members, Executive Director and employees, and advised by the Board of Directors.
The mission of PEN is to empower young men and women regardless of their gender, ethnicity, religion, sexuality or other social categories through programs which enhance their leadership skills while promoting human rights and active citizenship. PEN’s programs tackle youth empowerment and employment, volunteerism, gender equality, social innovation and entrepreneurship, environmental protection, anti-violence and healthy lifestyle.
In the beginning I was shy and I thought that working with such an organization wouldn’t be such a valuable experience, but the opposite happened. PEN’s staff with whom I’ve had the pleasure to work have astonished me with their modesty and restless work and the way they behaved towards each other. I am overly content with this experience and I hope that one day I will be a part of them.
My experience with PEN has been one of the most beneficial ones. During this time I have gained new experiences, meet new people, became aware of actual issues for the citizens of Kosovo, and most important I have made memories to cherish for life.
When I was in High School, at a time when we’d need counseling the most, I became a part of PEN by joining the Be a Man Club. As part of the Be a Man Club they’d teach us many things on behavior, prejudices, stereotypes, sexually transmitted diseases, preventives, and one thing that has stuck with me is the respect I was shown, and the respect one should show to everyone. Being part of the Club, has helped us towards creating a healthier society.
Volunteering gives people a chance to help themselves firstly, to give and to gain. Being a part of PEN gave me the opportunity to develop a lot of personal skills, in enhancing my language, leadership, management and coordination skills. Working with such a motivated team, with youth motivated for change, has led us to a common goal: “Change the world starting by yourself”.
Not all young people of Kosovo get involved in societal activism; whereas I also had the same non-participatory approach some time ago. However my experiences with NGO PEN have been sparks of encouragement and motivation to do more for my peers, by working on the aim of a better, more inclusive and equal society.