How it started…
TOKA is a nonprofit organization registered in Kosovo with the mission to accelerate social change in Kosovo by investing in its youth. Through non-formal and formal education programs, they help Kosovo’s young people become equipped and motivated to become agents of positive social change. The journey began in 2013 with the establishment of TOKA by Jehona Gjurgjeala, the Executive Director. Her mission was to create a positive impact on her community and utilize her expertise and experience to contribute to her homeland. Now she surrounds herself with 13 passionate team members who share her vision. They are the leading organization in volunteerism in the country - with 1,000 volunteers engaged from 6 to 12 months every year.
Their education and youth development programs – tested and proven by more than 20,000 young girls and boys – use long-term volunteering and learning-by-doing as powerful platforms that enable these young people to grow. And it works!
Solidarity Action Day
In 2023, TOKA introduced Solidarity Action Day in Kosovo for the very first time. This journey began in the previous year when TOKA, as the first Kosovar organization became a candidate member of SAME, and this year, in June, implemented Solidarity Action Day. Impressively, TOKA engaged 275 volunteers in 6 days in 25 local businesses from all over Kosovo, and raised a fund of 4,332 euros, which was divided between two organizations that will implement projects in two fields - youth’s mental health and children with special needs. The volunteers were visited by the President of Kosovo who spoke in favour of institutionalisation of volunteering in a national level; and seeing the impact of this project the Kosovo’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports has approached TOKA to co-pilot the first ever national volunteering program in local schools with SAD module at the core of it.
Youth Leadership Program
This program aims to involve young individuals, whether or not they have previously participated in TOKA's programs and are eager to push their boundaries by acquiring additional skills, such as project management, leadership within youth groups, facilitation skills, and leadership capabilities. Solidarity Action Day, as a project, is integrated into this program and is carried out by young participants from within the program itself as they are known to the audience - the Youth Leaders Academy
The Program tries to introduce a non-formal pedagogical approach to learning, that integrates local community service with instruction and reflection of young students led by their teachers. This process enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility, and strengthens communities.
Other projects organised and implemented by TOKA: Institutionalization, trainings, summer camps and internationalization.
Through the Youth Leadership program, TOKA has established the Youth Leaders Academy, divided into 4 working groups (Partnership with Businesses, Recruitment and Volunteer Management, Advocacy, and Promotion Group). Each group, led by a mentor and 10 Youth Leaders, has worked on specific tasks to organize Solidarity Action Day. The idea is for this cycle to repeat every year, with the Youth Leaders Academy becoming increasingly independent from TOKA.