United Societies of Balkans

United Societies of Balkans (U.S.B.) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Thessaloniki, Greece working in the field of youth, human rights and intercultural dialogue.

It was founded in 2008 by the inception of a group of active young people who wanted to address the social issues which affect the youngsters in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. The vision and aim of the organisation is the promotion of youth empowerment, participation in the economic and political life, youth mobility, voluntarism and human rights. In particular, USB attaches great importance to its human resources, as the evolution of the organization is directly related to the evolution of the individuals within.

Fields of work:
Youth work, non-formal education, human rights, arts, intercultural dialogue, new media, gender-related issues, ecology and sports

Key areas of the organisation’s activities concern the defence of human rights and the intercultural dialogue, the organisation of youth-related projects such as youth exchanges and training courses, which can bring young people from the Balkans and Europe together, and the organisation of local interventions, campaigns, researches, seminars and multimedia productions. It envisions a global and inclusive society, where citizens are equally empowered to contribute to the shaping of a world with less prejudice, discrimination and other forms of injustice.

U.S.B.’s objectives and values are actualized in the society and the needs of the youngsters by:

• Promoting the values of non-formal learning, voluntarism, active citizenship and democracy for the creation of a better future for the European youth;
• Promoting human rights, solidarity and respect for diversity amongst youth and the society;
• Involving minorities, immigrants and refugees, youngsters with fewer opportunities in youth activities and help them develop skills;
• Building healthy cooperation bridges, breaking down prejudices and stereotypes among the European countries and amongst youth;
• Using new media and art to encourage youth expression, to raise awareness about Human Rights and to promote intercultural dialogue;
• Utilizing sports and active lifestyle as a tool for the empowerment, inclusion and expression of youth;
• Promotes ecology and sustainable way of living, directly linked to the promotion of human rights and education on human rights;
• Upscaling and upgrading youth work using non-formal learning as a bridge between different sectors, creating new tools and methodologies;
United Societies of Balkans believes in networking and the creation of long-lasting synergies and has been a member organisation of UNITED for Intercultural Action, Salto-Youth, Thess Network-regional NGO network, FERYP (Forum of European Roma Young People), Anna-Lindh Foundation (co-head of the Greek National Network), Youth for Exchange and Understanding (YEU International), Youth Express Network (YEN), Butterfly Dreamer, DYPALL (Developing Youth Participation at Local Level), Great Silk Way International Youth Union, ENTER network, Youth Networks.

Beneficiaries: USB has hosted more than 3,000 youngsters in Greece with project organised in Greece and has prepared and sent around 2,500 youngsters abroad to youth mobility projects. The organisation’s target group is youth between 16 to 30 years old, regardless of gender, disability, marital or parental status, racial, ethnic or social origin, colour, religion, belief or sexual orientation. The organisation through the years, due to its rich experience in youth projects and local activities has acquired prestige and popularity amongst young people in Thessaloniki. Its social media and networks are followed by more than 29,000 people as well as its newsletter is received by 6,000 subscribers.

Staff and volunteers: The organisation has 12 paid staff (project managers, finance managers, volunteer coordinators, etc.), 5 external collaborators, and interns while it has a pool of around 50 volunteers and members.