PHOTO | Kristina Arnaudova, a woman who never gives up: "Every time I say I can not do more, I wake up with a new impetus and try again!"
Persistent, super-active, with a wide human soul, such is our interlocutor Kristina Arnaudova Petrovski, musician and activist.
Six years ago, Kristina Arnaudova founded the Association for Human and Social Development "Project Happiness", which advocates for changes for a better status of all children. They are working full steam ahead, they currently have more active projects, the free music school "Guitars and Gigs", where children at social risk learn to play piano and guitar, the free children's drama studio "Neverland", they are preparing for the traditional Summer Camp "Colorful Summer", and the project that Kristina is most preoccupied with lately is "Project House", which builds and renovates homes for families with children living in difficult conditions. In addition to all this, the Association constantly provides food, clothing, school supplies, laptops, tablets, and meets the various daily needs of children and families throughout the year.
Are there enough socially responsible companies that are ready to support the projects or sè still we can not talk about a solid level of social consciousness?
- The social responsibility of the companies is at a very bad level. It is usually a matter of populist social responsibility, formal, not essential and real. Those who make the most profit, donate the least, and most often it is because they have to, not because they have an idea where and why it should be donated. We have been fighting for years, at the beginning I thought it would be much easier, because I founded "Project Happiness" to be ours, not mine. I wanted to unite together, as a society, and do great things for children who do not have the conditions and opportunities to get a chance and make them future productive citizens of this country. But as each year goes by, I realize it's a windmill fight. If I wanted something of my own, I would start a company and work for myself, like everyone else. But every time I say I can no longer, I wake up the next day with a new idea, and a new impetus, and try again.
He also started the "Project House" initiative, how does the action take place, when is the realization expected and how much effort is needed to push the project to the end? What are the biggest challenges and obstacles?
- "Project House" first started as a project of my association, and then inadvertently, developed into a television show, which will be shown, I hope, from September. I did this to apply for more donors and sponsors who would get their own ad and find their own interest in the show, because the response when we started the donation and aid project was almost non-existent. Now, we are working, but it is difficult due to lack of donors, so I am constantly finding ways, organizing "fundraisers", contacting companies, my friends and associates to succeed. By nature I am not a person who gives up and I hope I will succeed. Most companies that are the largest in the market for construction, electronics, plasterboard, windows, are not interested, but I hope that over time the number of our partners will increase. For now, we have several permanent partners, with a tendency to increase. We Macedonians want to see what everything looks like abroad, and to applaud it, but we have no desire to do it ourselves, especially in the field of TV production, media, entertainment, music…
Looking back, who helped you more in life, men or women?
- Somehow I work constantly and I am surrounded by women. Only women work in Project Happiness, even the donors are 90% women. This is a world of men, where they are in the lead, in the largest percentage, and I want to help change that. But yes, because men have always been in office when they could help someone, maybe men helped me more… although, I do not think that someone helped me more than I helped myself.
One of the missions of the Association is the commitment to better education. What do you think is most lacking in today's education system and what do you think about the announced reforms in education, especially the digitalization process?
- We are a poor society, a huge number of families do not have access to the Internet, a huge number of children do not have computers, laptops and devices for digital instruction, unfortunately. I think that digitalization is needed, but first the problems for access to that digitalization must be solved. A huge number of families and children do not even have the conditions for decent meals, electricity, water, to cover the bills. This is a problem that not everyone can see, unfortunately. We face daily requests from families to provide devices, especially to large families. The problem is deeper, but unfortunately, we as an association that deals and works with those children on a daily basis, no one asked us or asked the opinion of those children and families. However, I believe that education must evolve and thrive, and we as a society must find a way to do that.
What are the core values you teach your children?
- I want them to be hardworking, cultured, honest, kind, to respect people regardless of their social status. I teach them that we are all the same. I hope that happiness will follow them and that they too will bring happiness to others.