26 April 2021

Youth Civic Engagement Award

NOVA’s student Jana is a young activist that introduced and co-coordinated the initiative called: “Un-lockDown: Zoom from your room and write on the site”, aimed at helping people with Down syndrome connect during prolonged periods of lockdown. In addition to co-organizing and taking part in the calls, Jana co-created and now regularly updates a website called “Nasha strana” (“Our Page”). The content on the website is easy-to-read, drawing on the needs and interests of people with Down syndrome, something that was lacking in North Macedonia. Jana also encouraged her high school peers to take part in a “21-Day Challenge” to raise awareness on Down syndrome and published their contribution on the site. The positive impact of Jana’s initiative was showcased via video at this year’s World Down Syndrome Day conference in the United Nations. Through the initiative, Jana has managed to address some of the mental health challenges of people with Down syndrome caused by school closures, shift to online learning and fewer opportunities to meet and socialize in person. Jana enabled people to connect and share, without compromising their safety and wellbeing.