My name is Madison Ristevski. I am a 4th generation Australian of Macedonian descent, currently in Year 11, studying the International Bachelorette at The Illawarra Grammar School in Wollongong.
As part of my studies, I need to complete a community project that aims to make the world a better place. I have chosen to focus my energy on a Medical High School in Bitola.
Having visited Macedonia several times, I have come to realise that we are blessed to live in Australia, a country where health, education, democracy and quality of life are considered some of the best in the world.
Spending a day last year at the Medical School in Bitola was meant to be an exciting event. An opportunity to experience first-hand a day in the life of a student at a key educational institution. Instead, by the end of the day, I was left saddened and anxious about the condition’s teenagers were faced with daily. The walls and ceilings of their educational facility were covered in mould. The toilets were either broken, leaked or didn’t flush correctly and an unpleasant smell was noticeable from the moment you walked in.
I wondered out aloud why more wasn’t being done to ensure facilities for future generations was being prioritised. I had multiple discussions with elders of various backgrounds and professions. From it, I learnt that the issues of underdeveloped nations are complex – a mixture of political, social, cultural and financial factors that complicate simple things that we in developed nations take for granted. This coupled with Macedonia’s complicated history, made me understand that what first appeared simple, was in fact, anything but.
My experience is that children learn from home, community and country. If there is little inspiration at home, a depressed community and a host of complex problems facing a country, then where do the children go to grow, prosper and chase their dreams?
I recognise that the problems I have touched on above are too big to resolve alone. I also know enough to understand that all big problems are in fact a collection of many smaller ones. Using this approach, I am taking it upon myself to try and make a small change to these students lives by attempting to fix their toilets. I’ve reached out to a few reputable construction companies in Bitola to get quotes and assess the size of the task at hand. The headmaster is on board and has spoken to the Lord Mayor who has agreed to sign off on the work once we can verify that funding is available.
My ambition is to show that things are possible, and hopefully work towards creating a nationwide plan to help all schools in Macedonia reach a standard in the toilet facilities available.
A tentative quote of €20,500 which equates to AUD $32,796 has come through to refurbish all the restrooms. We are waiting on the others to update the final price.
We propose to complete the below work in the following order depending on the number of funds raised:-
Male and female student restrooms on level 1 Students unisex restrooms on ground floor Students unisex restrooms on level 2 Teachers unisex restrooms on ground floor Teachers unisex restrooms on level 1
If we manage to raise the complete amount we will get quotes for rendering and painting the graffiti-ridden and damaged external walls.
Funds will be held in trust until the work has commenced and released as progress payments.
Thank you all for your support, please keep in mind that the smallest donation will help this project come to life.