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The Building Bridges Fund

This country is truly wealthy in many ways, not least in its diversity of people, culture
and languages.
Its Constitution alone mentions 7 communities while in its 81 municipalities you will
find 6 different languages in official use, with education being provided in 5 different
mother tongues across the country.
As we all know, though, it is not affluent in all ways and sometimes the care, and often
the funds, needed to capitalize on the richness of its diversity are in short supply.
Not investing in this wealth, though, and disallowing new generations to understand,
nourish and enjoy it, leaves diversity without bridges, spelling division. It might
even degrade diversity into a negative value that potentially undermines the
prosperity and safety of a country and its kids.
No state should allow this to happen, least of all one with a history and variety as rich
as this one.
New generations need bridges to each other and open access to the riches and joys of
diversity, especially at schools that should prepare them for an integrated future in
a diverse Europe.
The newly established Building Bridges Fund hopes to modestly contribute to that.
In a joint effort by the Ministry of Education and Science, the Swiss Embassy and
the OSCE Mission to Skopje it offers support to municipalities, students, teachers,
parents and schools that see the need for increased interaction, understanding and
integration in their communities and schools.
This support takes the form of opening easy access to grants for multilingual
schools, or paired monolingual ones, to organize joint activities involving students
from all their communities and different languages of instruction.
These activities can take many forms, from municipalities organizing series of events
with all their schools, to students setting up joint rehearsal rooms, IT workshops,
fashion shows or DJ sets; teachers running mixed sport events, parents getting
active in after-school activities or schools cooperating with others.
Possibilities are endless and no strict limits are set as long as students with different
languages of instruction are positively involved and bridges are being built. This seems
most likely when activities:
Are part of a series of events, not just one-offs, unless they are likely to
spark a future series
Involve some material investment that will allow for future activities
independent of the grant

Lead towards a mutually desired joint product reached through a

cooperative process involving students from different communities, including
the creation and equipping of joint spaces
Are truly mixed and avoid pitting communities against each other in
events, like competitions setting one school or language of instruction against
Take place in









Equally involve boys and girls, as well as those with special needs and
active parents
Exclude political activities but never any community

When these activities are rather spontaneous or urgent, rapid grants can
accommodate the activity taking place in 1 month from us receiving the application if
the activities do indeed build a bridge and need no more than 1.500 Euro to do it.
You can apply for these at any time.
Regular grants of up to 7.000 Euro will have to apply against 3 application
deadlines in 2014, after which an independent Advisory Board will decide on which
proposed bridges are going to be built.
This means that you will have to plan these activities well in advance as these can be
accommodated at the earliest one month after the Advisory Board has decided
positively, which in practice would mean in about 2 months after an application
deadline date (1 March, 1 May, 1 October 2014).
The Advisory Board has the following Honorary Members:
H.E. Stefano Lazzarotto, Swiss Ambassador; H.E. Ralf Breth, Head of the OSCE
H.E. Safet Neziri, Deputy Minister of Education and Science; Anastasija
Trajkovska, State Advisor MoES
Redzep Ali Cupi, Director P & D Minority Language Education MoES;
Darko Mitevski, Mayor of Makedonska Kamenica and President of Education and
Sport Commission, ZELS
Toni Zen, music artist; Rebeka, music artist/ inclusion NGO; Adelina Tahiri, music
Arno van der Pas, Senior Coordinator Inter-Ethnic Relations, BB Project Manager,
OSCE Mission
Some, or all, of them will at times gladly join the launch of the activities you will
If you want to apply for a grant you should submit a filled application form, which
can be done by e-mail ( for the rapid grants at
any time or by regular mail (P.O. Box 558, 1000 Skopje) for the regular ones
before the 3 set deadlines for applying, being 1 March, 1 May and 1 October 2014.
The forms are part of this document and can also be downloaded from the website of
the Ministry of Education and Science and are available in any of the 6 languages that
are in official use somewhere in the country. They can also be filled in these languages
but always have to provide an English version as well.
The 6 simple questions in the form should all be answered and an overview of the
material needs to realize the activity/intervention should be provided.
Please note that the Building Bridges (BB) Fund does not disperse money but
buys the needed material and/or services for you, meaning that you only have to
provide an estimate of the costs you foresee after which the BB will take care of the

All in all, we hope and feel that this new fund opens up great opportunities to give new
generations open access to the riches of diversity and enjoy it. We therefore strongly
encourage you to use the possibilities it offers to build the bridges that your
community, your schools and your kids need and deserve.
For the needs and the promotion of the project a Facebook group was created:
Building Bridges Fund.

Building Bridges Fund Application

General Information

Information on the School (-s)

Name of the School (-s):

Primary or Secondary:
Central and/or Satellite:


Number of Students:


Number of Teachers:


Language (-s) of Instruction:

School Director:

Number of Shifts:
Mixed or Separate:
Current Joint Activities:

Contact Person:

1. Whats the Plan?
(describe the activity / intervention you would like to organize or implement, how and
by who)

2. Who are involved?

(provide details on the students that will be involved; their age, class, gender,
languages of instruction etc.)

3. Where and When?

(describe the location(-s) where the activity/intervention is planned and the timeframe
of implementation)

4. Will it be the first time?

(specify if you -or your school- have already organized this, or something similar, before
and, if so, with whose support, when and if it worked)

5. Who will be responsible?

(specify who will be the main responsible person for implementing this activity /
intervention and will provide a short activity and financial report in the end)

6. What do you need?

(provide details on the exact material needs of your proposal, including equipment,
services, fees, provisions and give your estimate of their costs)



Estimated Cost Per



Estimated Grand Total