How it started…
Union of secondary school students of Serbia (UNSS) is the largest youth organization in Serbia and was founded in December 2003 with the aim to represent and advocate secondary school students on national and European level. UNSS gathers more than 190 school student councils from over 70 cities in Serbia and represents over 180 000 secondary school students. Our organization was developing dynamically and today we are an independent, representative, secondary school organization. In the year 2009, UNSS managed to change the umbrella law on education, upgrading the role of both high school students’ councils and secondary school students in decision making process. In 2010, we have organized Solidarity Action Day for the first time. From that moment we are actively participating in the life of secondary school students.
UNSS wants to engage as many high school students as we can through various projects developing their skills. Our goal is to work on the development of high school students’ councils and to represent them and their opinions, to improve the quality of high school students’ lives at school and to encourage activism between high school students.
Our Solidarity Action Day
In 2010, we organized the Solidarity Action Day for the first time called “Srednjoškolci za Srednjoškolce”. We had about 1000 volunteers in 15 cities in Serbia. We collected about 8.000 euros for the "School environment" projects. From the first Solidarity Action Day till now, we have grown a lot. In the past 8 years, the Solidarity Action Day has been organized in over 50 cities in Serbia and we had over 10 000 volunteers.
Unlike the other Solidarity Action Day organisations, UNSS supports projects of pupils in Serbia. After all the secondary school councils have sent their project ideas to us, the Board of UNSS together with project trainers is choosing 15 best ideas which are going to be presented at the national meeting of secondary students (The General Assembly), where every secondary school council which is a member of UNSS can vote in favour or against the project. Unfortunately, we can fund only 5 projects with the most number of votes in favour. Projects are diverse. From “My Eco School” to “Say NO to drugs!”. We are trying to choose and fund the most important and the most interesting projects which can influence the lives of both secondary school students and teachers.
UNSS’s best practice
We empower secondary school students to design and write their own projects. After the first part of the Solidarity Action Day, we are opening the applications for all secondary school students to become project trainers. After they get selected, they learn in trainings how to write project applications for the Solidarity Action Day and how to convey the knowledge of writing proposals to high school students’ councils. With this being said, we are trying to spread the activism through youth as much as we can. Also, UNSS is supporting any way of youth activism through knowledge sharing, volunteers and media campaigns.