TELUS International Community Boards are an innovative and groundbreaking effort that put decision-making in the hands of local leaders who know their communities best. This approach helps make our financial support accessible to the grassroots organizations that make such a tremendous difference in building stronger communities.
The TELUS International Bulgaria Community Board
The TELUS International Bulgaria Community Board, chaired by Levon Hamparzoumyan, the CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of UniCredit Bulbank, launched on June 2, 2015. This board will focus on youth in three main pillars: education, healthcare and environment.
The TELUS International Bulgaria Community Board members are:
Levon Hamparzoumyan – Chair
CEO and Chairman of the Management Board of UniCredit Bulbank. Levon Hampartzoumian has been the CEO and Chairman of the MB of UniCredit Bulbank since 2001. He is also Chairman of the Management Board of the Association of banks in Bulgaria. Levon Hamparztoumian is awarded with the Order of the Star of Italian Solidarity (Ordine della Stella della Solidarietà Italiana) and at the beginning of May 2008 with a Decree of the President of the Italian Republic Giorgio Napolitano, was honoured with the title Commendatore of the Order. In 2012, Levon Hampartzoumian was presented by the President of Bulgaria Rosen Plevneliev with the award Manager of the Year in Bulgaria in the Manager Magazine competition. Unicredit Bulbank is one of the most socially responsible banks in Bulgaria.
Xavier Marcenac – Vice Chair
President, TELUS International Europe. Xavier Marcenac co-founded CallPoint New Europe, which in 2012 joined the Telus International family. Xavier is an outspoken business leader in the outsourcing community in Eastern Europe. Prior to TELUS International, Xavier worked in financial consulting and audit roles at PwC and Ernst & Young. He has been repeatedly recognized for his result-oriented approach and his continuous commitment to the development and growth of the team members working with him. Xavier is the main figure in the decision- making process in terms of corporate social responsibility within the company. He has very valuable network of contacts among the business leaders and media representatives
in Bulgaria and in Europe.
Board Member, NTV. Silva Zurleva was born on February 26th, 1958 in Kyustendil, Bulgaria. She graduated from the Faculty for Slavonic Philology at the Sofia University “St. Klimet and Methody”, with a major in Bulgarian Philology and Greek Language and Literature. Silvia Zurleva worked as an editor in the Bulgarian National Television and Sofia Press and became correspondent of Greek newspapers and magazines. In 1992, Silva worked in the consulting business – foreign investors and privatization deals. She worked on projects with Coca – Cola, and other international entities. In the last 20 years Silva Zurleva together with her colleagues in Nova TV supports many charity initiatives. The future of children is the main focus of the social campaigns organized by the media. Nova TV supports multiple impactful social campaigns, focused on children deprived of parental care, and
children talented in sports. The media has many scholarship programs, as well as organizes other social activities.
Former tennis player and founder of Gorichka.bg. Magdalena (Maggie) played on the WTA tour competing in singles and doubles from 1989 to 2005. Her best position in the WTA Tour was no. 4 between 29 January to 4 February 1996. She has been very active with the environmental organization ‘Gorichka.bg’, which works to create public awareness about urgent environmental problems. Maleeva also founded “Harmonica”, a brand for organic foods, has a couple of organic food stores in Sofia under the brand ‘Biomag’ and is a partner at the Maleeva tennis club. In March 2011, Maleeva was voted 8th in the “100 most influential women in Bulgaria“ by Pari newspaper.
Director, Bulgarian Donors’ Forum. Krasimira Velichkova graduated from Cultural Studies at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. He is a director of the Bulgarian Donors’ Forum since 2008. Previously, he worked as a manager “Development and Partnerships” in association “Altera” and as a manager “Financing and Development” in the “Workshop for Civic Initiatives”. She was engaged in building strategies for organizational development and fundraising for social and cultural projects, as well as the initiation and implementation of projects in the field of culture and cultural policies. BDF (Bulgarian Donors’ Forum) brings together charities and socially responsible companies that support causes in social activities, ecology, cultural heritage, education, respect for human rights and health.
CEO EMP Invest. Mr. Elvin Guri is the Chief Executive Officer at River Styxx Capital. Mr. Guri was the Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Management Board at BNP Paribas Personal Finance EAD. Mr. Guri worked at EBRD and was auditor at PriceWaterhouse in Bulgaria. He serves as a Member of the Board of Advisors of LAUNCHub. Mr. Guri serves as a Member of the Board of Trustees at American University in Bulgaria.
Paralympian. Mihail Hristov is a Bulgarian athlete – Para Olympian, two times world champion of long jump for people with disabilities. He was born in Pleven on May 18, 1991. When he was 15 years old, Michael lost his arms in an accident with electricity. Para-Olympic games began hard training in disciplines 100 m, 200 m sprint and long jump. He took bronze medal in long jump on his first race in Dubai. At the moment the athlete is the holder of three world championships cup in long jump discipline, 8 amendments to the European record and many other achievements.
Founder & President of I Can Too Foundation. Neli Radeva is a true believer that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE. The I CAN TOO foundation exists entirely on a charity basis. Its activities are supported by donations from all areas of business and entertainment, private entities and individuals, and by the non-monetary partnership and support of the government. Many Bulgarian and international celebrities have become Ambassadors of I CAN TOO and have Been spreading awareness of its mission and operations worldwide.
Director Transition, Transformation and CSR, TELUS International Europe. Knowledgeable and skilled manager with extensive experience in business process outsourcing, customer service, process engineering, process/project transition and transformation, and operations. Passionate about organizational design and management, strategic planning, and realization of key company initiatives. Yana is devoted to our company’s CSR and any form of giving back to the community. She and the rest of her team are directly responsible for all our CSR activities, including the TELUS Day of Giving. She believes that through clearly set strategy and focus on the most pertinent societal pain points, CSR could make impactful change in the communities our company is part of. She is a very caring, good and giving person, who is always involved in social projects in or out of the company.
Director Operations, TELUS International Europe. Kristina has been part of the company almost since its beginning. Through knowledge, initiative, devotion, hard work, and great interpersonal skills, she has built her reputation as one of the most organized and reliable professionals in the company. As Operations Director, Kristina is the main person when it comes to employee engagement. She always knows who among our 1 500 employees is the best person for a particular CSR project. The Operations department, managed by her has enormous contribution to the number of volunteers on the TELUS Days of Giving. Furthermore, it is the Operations department who is always ready to assist in organizing outbound communication campaigns for some of the charity causes we support in Bulgaria.
Chief Information Officer. As Chief Information Officer, Stanislav joined TIE in 2008. His main responsibilities were to manage the global infrastructure and IT security. Stanislav has sound experience in managing the IT services. He is very organized and focused on the effective use of IT to bring improved agility and cost savings to business. Prior to joining theTIE, Stanislav was Technical Director in Pexim Solutions Ltd, leader in Business Intelligence solutions. Prior to that Stanislav has a significant experience as a IT manager in Hebros Bank. Stanislav brakes the commonly accepted
opinion for the IT guys, he is very compassionate and eager to help people. He always become friend with the people we are trying to help and keeps a long-term contact with them. He gives amazing example to his team and they all are very committed to every CSR initiative in the company.
Community Board Prime, TELUS International Europe
Submission deadline is 07.10.2016. The application process is now closed.
The number of people living with Alzheimer’s or an other type of dementia raises in Bulgaria as in the rest of the world. By comparison to countries of Europe and America, one will find out, that the attention payed to the problem in Bulgaria is quite poor. There are no caregivers and social workers, certified to deal with people, damaged by Alzheimer’s. The government expressed impossibility to generate new jobs for social needs because of the small budget. Our society came into contact with a professional from Austria, who is certified trainer for validation – a method elaborated by Naomi Feil for dementia care. Ms Petra Fercher is ready to train caregivers in Bulgaria almost volunteering, refusing to claim her ordinary honorarium, which is quite high. Our programme aims retired persons to be trained to caregivers, which is common in Germany and the Netherlands, for instance. We would like to change in a positive way the lack of proper dementia care in our region and in Bulgaria.
Our project “Medicine chests with solar panel” is calculated for 20 medicine chests that should be placed as follows:
– 11 in Stara Planina Mountain (Kom- Emine, part of international route E3)
– 4 in Climbing objects in Lakatnik, Vratsa, Prohodna, Skakavitsa
– 1 in Sredna Gora Mountain
– 3 on International Route E4 (Verila- Rila- Pirin mountains)
– 1 in Vitosha Mountain
The Medicine chests will be fully equipped with medicines that are part of every First aid kit and a solar panel with battery, where the produced electricity will be stored. Every device with USB could be charged – GPSs, Mobile phones etc. In the chest we will also put map of the region and important information as contacts of Mountain Rescue Service and huts in the region. Last year we already placed 4 pilot Chests in Vitosha mountain. One year later we are happy to share that they are all complete and used. People are taking staff, but are also leaving medicines. Of course we are engaged to check this periodically.
There is no modern and accessible video content of Bulgarian Sign Language as language system. Deaf people want their language to be visible among Bulgarian society – want to be proud of deaf culture, part of which is the sign language. After the sign language becomes visible in the online environment, it will happen and the more normal perception of deaf people. This will lead to subsequent and natural integration of children and young people with impaired hearing in Bulgaria. In Bulgaria currently there is no public content for learning sign language. There is a dictionary on paper which is incomplete and not accepted as a suitable textbook in sign language even by the deaf people themselves. Most of the people mistakenly perceive deaf as illiterate, without realizing that they simply use another language, the gestures. For the deaf Bulgarian language is ” foreign ” but to learn it they must thoroughly study sign language, with all its lexical and grammatical features to put a solid foundation for learning a second language. The planned project of “Listen up” is for creation of the first publicly accessible and innovative video phrasebook of sign language. The main objective is to allow the hearing people to learn basic gestures through interactive guide and clips of everyday situations. This will contribute to the promotion of sign language and “” deaf culture “,” and for a more tolerant society. Part of the project is to create a platform for the deaf vlogers in which they can express and share their opinions on various topics.
Solution: Active promotion of online content of sign language as this will cause empathy among the Bulgarian society to deaf people who will actually contribute to their active involvement. Video gesture Speaking phrasebook and vlog will be part of the platform for gestural translation and transformation of speech into text.
Children with severe physical disabilities (cerebral palsy and others) are not able to communicate and learn because they cannot speak and use his hands. So these injuries make it difficult or impossible communication and training, and condemn the children of isolation and inability for self-expression. Technology communication through sight enable children with disabilities to use such software only through the eyes, allowing them to be trained and be able to communicate. Through this project we aim to promote the capabilities of these technologies (which are almost completely unknown in Bulgaria). Events are planned in 7 of the largest Bulgarian cities. In each city will implement three related events – a seminar for representatives of municipal and state institutions, training for professionals, counseling for children and families. It will be developed and a manual for professionals presenting the possibilities of technology to communicate by sight (software and devices).
Regional Natural History Museum, Plovdiv, Bulgaria
The Bulgarian educational system has long suffered from lack of resources in science subjects. At the same time, museums such as the Regional Natural History Museum (RNHM) of Plovdiv have unique resources to complement classroom education, but are severely under-used. Among these at the RNHM is the first public digital planetarium, a rich aquarium, a terrarium, and a large living butterfly enclosure. The program “Let’s Study at the Museum!” will enhance the learning experience of students from local schools, while stimulating their appreciation of nature and care for the environment. The program will leverage the RNHM resources and expertise into a series of educational materials that will follow closely the natural sciences scholastic curriculum for grades 4- 12. Museum and education experts will develop engaging teaching methodologies and attractive workbooks with activities and quizzes. We will hold several workshops for local Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, and Geography teachers to introduce the opportunities for out-of-classroom teaching at the RNHM. We will record student and teacher feedback on the program.
The limited scope of the provided social activities for physically disabled people in Sofia is the problem, which requires the development of mobile services in the field in a family environment. The most economically developed, Sofia Municipality is in the most disadvantaged position because of the large population. In the 2011 census the population of Sofia District is 1,291,591 people. 13% of them are disabled, hidden in the anonymity of the big city, ie the most disadvantaged people are concentrated here. The capital has developed social infrastructure, but does not provide mobile services for inpatients and people with heavy physical disabilities in a family environment. This problem is highlighted in the main program document of common strategies for the development of social services in Sofia 2011-2015. The main problem is the lack of alternative social mobile services to provide the terrain directly at consumers themselves at home. The project provides access to medical and social services – Mechanotherapy rehabilitation and psychological support in the field and upgrading in CSRI 25 persons with severe physical disabilities and their families. The desired change that the project will contribute, is addressing unmet needs of people with physical disabilities and who are confined to hospital beds.
The harassment and the violence in any form are painful experiences that inevitably influence the overall development of young people. The harassment, experienced in school, is compromising the very nature of the learning process and negatively affects a child’s ability to learn, which is the main purpose of the school as an institution. On how children manage to deal with these problems depends on how they will communicate with other people in the future, how they will built themselves as individuals, whether they feel good or a painful memory will remain in them that will always affect their confidence, relationships, behavior and emotions. The overall objective is to prevent bullying and to increase safety in schools in taking the views of children themselves and to be actively involved and in empowering way. Our goals are to add a new dimension to the prevention of bullying implementation of child perspective – to understand what it means for children the bullying, what they need to feel safe and what they expect from adults; to present opinions and ideas of children of school staff and specialists in child protection and to increase their awareness and capacity to implement approaches oriented to the child to identify and prevent bullying; To improve overall system and the capacity of the interested parties to work together for the best interests of the children. They will be drawn up three information materials and policy recommendations to fight bullying and prevention program will be made at national and European level.
Major problems in Bulgarian schools today are aggression and harassment. Bulgaria is third in Europe in school violence and last in the EU in volunteering. Since much of school harassment is along ethnic and social lines, we see great potential to transcend prejudice through volunteering. It is a unique opportunity for a young person to meet people outside their bubble, learn about societal issues and develop empathy. All the while supporting important causes. Thus in 2015 we started creating and supporting volunteering clubs at schools and universities in Bulgaria. In a year we established 16 clubs in 11 towns with some 180 volunteers who have participated in/organized 36 initiatives. Further schools seek to join our network. Unfortunately the project funding ends 04.2016. The proposed program Raising Empathic Youth through Volunteering looks to support the network and create new clubs during the next school year. We will provide training, mentorship, connections to relevant NGOs, publicity, certification and some funding.
The program App-rentice is about organization of series of 8 hackathons in 8 Bulgarian cities. The hackathons will be for students in the secondary schools from 5th grade until 12th grade at the age between 10 and 19. Our team will identify the appropriate schools and the teachers that will act as coordinators and promote the hackathons inviting the students for participation. The topics for the hackathons will be broadly defined allowing choice of technologies, programming languages and software platform that could be utilized. An example for topic is ‘An application for the citizens of Haskovo and for the business of the city’. We will invite mentors with good technical skills who will support the students in the development of their prototypes. The hackathons will have a duration of one weekend and on the last day the teams will present their prototypes in front of jury and the winners will be announced and awarded. The organizer will provide drinks, food, fast internet and electricity.
The problem of rural depopulation is too painful for the whole country. From year to year the inhabitants decrease and many villages are wiped out from the map of Bulgaria. The villages become deserted and with them will gradually forget and erase the rich cultural heritage and spirituality that is reserved in the most authentic appearance namely there. Therefore, our project “Take me to the village” is connected with the village and the elderly.
“Adoptive” grandparents of the villages voluntarily accept young people /”borrowed grandchildren”/ who live some time with them and help them in their daily care in the household animals, vegetable and fruit gardens, to prepare winter supplies and so on. The older people pass on wisdom, knowledge and experience stored by generations; they pass on traditions, customs and culture, crafts, culinary heritage, folklore, folk customs. Within the initiative “Take me to the village” participants are immersed in an authentic environment and touching to the heart of the most valuable and traditionally Bulgarian virtues.
The project aims for approbation of methods for training dogs for DAD diagnosis of hypo and hyper glycaemia diabetic crises where blood sugar levels fall to 2 units – near comatose condition and rise to 30 or more units – hyperglycemia. By children and young people there is a strong variation in the levels of sugar in the blood due to their high motor and emotional activity, lack of skills for permanent control of insulin levels and self-awareness of symptoms, leading to the occurrence of frequent hypo- or hyper glycaemia crises, which can be fatal without intervention of the parent. Timely reporting by DAD for metabolic change will help to manage the coming crisis.
In Sofia, people with intellectual disabilities are more than 8000. These people and young school leavers do not have access to the labor market, as they have no established labor or social habits and skills and do not know the activities and professions which they can perform. The project is aimed at providing training for the development of labor and social skills of young people with intellectual disabilities by including them in work practice in a real environment. The integration of the labor market is possible only if young people with intellectual disabilities receive support and training to build the necessary specific labor and social skills. Through labor practice also affects the issue of acceptance of people with intellectual disabilities – will be contacted and involved organizations, places and activities for work experience that will make visible to a wide range of people skills and abilities of young people with intellectual disabilities. Building skills in a real working environment will help to find work for some of the participating youths.
Children and young people who are raised in underdeveloped areas, families of low-educated parents and children from state institutions, positioned in small settlements, have no access to quality education. The motivation for raising the level of education is low. Thus, in the difficult path of training these young people have a significant risk of dropping out of school in seventh grade, when all students take exams with external evaluation. During the school year 2014-2015 results of examinations in Bulgarian language, Literature and Math at the national level were very weak 3.50 – 3.70. The next stumbling block comes with compulsory exams in Bulgarian language at the end of 12th grade. Conducting online classes is intended full acquisition of the course content included in the program of the Ministry of Education; The training provides verification of evaluation is electronic tests solved by students outside of online classes, allowing you to monitor individual progress of each student and to report his possible gaps; Lecturer checked, corrected and write reviews of retelling included in the preparatory course. So we get an objective idea of the knowledge and shortcomings of each student. This allows us to focus on filling the gaps of students.
Bulgaria does not have relevant strategy for the integration of children with hearing problems, and there is a perceived lack of: comprehensive rehabilitation, qualified teachers fluent in sign language, adequate technological solutions and social services for equal access.
Solution: Create a national center for online gestures and text translation provided by adapting the existing web-based platform. Services that will offer the center are:
1. Gesture translation by video link with gestural translator upon request. Deaf parents want to connect with teachers / hearing friends / doctors of their children. Deaf children want to communicate with hearing teachers, friends, etc;
2. Speech-to-text translation for deaf students in schools;
3. Speech-to-text translation and gestural events for children and young people with impaired hearing;
4. Subtitling of video educational materials for children and young people with impaired hearing;
The project proposed by us concerns the development of a web site, which will popularize the activity of The Wild Animals in Internet, and which will provide timely information for the current activity and initiatives of our organization, as well as useful information for the wild animals in Bulgaria. The project covers the development of the web site’s design and platform with authorship texts, interactive directories and a search engine, which will make more efficient the process of finding information in the website through the use of key words.
So far we have paid for the reservation of the domain www.wildanimals.bg. The information for the web site’s content has already been developed in Bulgarian and English language. What is yet to be completed is the development of the web platform, which will contain the following directories: News, About us, Advice, Help, Calendar of events, Gallery, Applicable law, Donations and partners, Projects, Useful links, Submit a signal.
Children with special needs in Bulgaria live in isolation. Their integration and adaptation is related to overcoming a number of social and administrative problems, and dealing with negative social attitudes. The project aims to provide a positive working environment for teaching of children with and without disabilities where they can develop their potential and warm up in games to get used to the differences. The uniqueness of the Montessori method is based on a prudent balance between freedom and the exact structure specifically designed for the small child. It provides a pleasant work with carefully developed teaching materials that match the natural needs of the child. Considerable success in applying it is achieved precisely with children with disabilities. It has been shown that by using this method, they cope better with new knowledge and skills.
The Organization of Bulgarian Scouts has a base on the territory of Natural park “Shumensko Plato”. This base was donated by the State Council of Ministers decision, but it was obtained in poor condition – without electricity, water, heating stolen, leaking roofs, stolen property and furnishings. With the support of hundreds of volunteers we perform necessary repairs and improvements so that we can turn it into an attractive place for Bulgarian children. Currently we have a great need for support for the furnishing and renovation of two rooms, so to create conditions for construction of Scouting Center for Environmental Education in nature, offering training on environment and demonstrating best practices for environmental management. The center will offer a variety of tools, resources and initiatives that will support Scouting in their work. The program will focus on the environment in the broadest sense and encourages Scouts to fully explore the natural world, the ways in which influence it with their daily activities and will gradually builds personal responsibility for the environment. Program activities will be fun, will allow for structured study, will encourage curiosity and will lead to understanding of the processes. These will be practical in nature-oriented activities that encourage critical thinking on issues concerning the environment and lead to shared awareness and a deeper understanding of individual responsibility for the environment.
In Bulgaria the percentage of early dropouts is above the 11% target, which is set in the strategy “Bulgaria 2020”. Early school leaving leads to unemployment, poverty and social exclusion. The number of young people in Bulgaria, who are neither studying nor working, (NEETs) remains high. The root of early school leavers and NEETs could be sought in the low level of motivation for school attendance and lack of other incentives beyond the purely academic knowledge. In realizing model “school as a community center,” we received 167 applications from schools. Two challenges are defined by any one of these schools: low motivation of students and gap in the relationship school-parents. The model shows results in tackling these problems through the use of extracurricular activities to motivate students and happening initiatives involving parents, teachers, students and local community. In the 13 schools we work with, have already achieved tangible results through easily applicable and effective initiatives. Creating a platform for sharing best practices from both the school staff and students and parents will enable them to reach the widest audience.
Child participation is a value shared by all member organizations of the National Network for Children. Children should be encouraged to participate in decisions that affect them. UNICEF defines as the most important dimension of child participation namely education. It must give children the opportunity to develop their talents, confidence, initiative and creativity. Children should be seen not only as recipients of knowledge but also as active participants in education.
One of the main challenges in our hometown Vratsa right now is the high unemployment. According to statistics from the labor office, for September 2015 there are 3091 registered unemployed people in the town, 774 of who are bellow 35 years old – one of the highest rates in Bulgaria. Northwestern region in Bulgaria is the poorest in the European Union. This is why most young people in Vratsa leave the town, according to statistics for 2013 and 2014. On the other hand according to Bulgarian association of software companies for 2015 Bulgaria will lack 20000 employees in the IT sector and the numbers will grow. As of November 2015 – 5 people started job in the IT sector in Vratsa after our courses, working for 2 software companies. And we expect 10 people to work IT jobs in Vratsa till the end of this year.
We plan to continue our courses in 2016 and to have 20 people working in the IT in Vratsa at the end of 2016. In 2017 we will rely only on IT companies to support the free courses.
The lack of a systematic health and sexual education at schools increases youth vulnerability to STIs, incl. HIV/AIDS, early pregnancies, early school dropouts, etc. BFPA has 23 years’ experience in working with youth to overcome those defficits. The proposal aims to develop innovative and interactive tools and to reach wider audience by: 1) Adapting information on STI and healthy behavior with pictures and multiple-choice questions into an online game. BFPA will use its partnership networks, incl. social networks to reach direct beneficiaries (min 1000 youth) as well as indirect beneficiaries (parents, relatives, teachers, etc.). After testing, the long-term goal is to adopt the game as a mobile application. 2) Training of 25 volunteers from marginalized communities to conduct peer-to-peer information sessions on health and reproductive topics to at least 250 youth. The long-term goal is to expand the BFPA volunteer’s network and to reach more young people from vulnerable families.
The Social Teahouse is much more than 1st job for young people. It is a possibility for inclusion. The 3 years mentorship program offers different modules such as – communication, emotional intelligence and self-confidence, labor rights & responsibilities in work environment, goal-setting and self-development, time management and habits in the working place. All those modules will be adapted to the personal needs of each young person. The mentorship program is flexible, yet very concrete in targeting the damage done by lack of good education and healthy family environment. During all of the modules will be used the methods of non-formal education such as role playing games and simulations. During the mentorship program it is also planned that the young people will meet different professionals from various backgrounds and visit different locations for on-field learning.
Since 2011 I Can TOO has been working on an ambitious project to create a center for autistic children in Plovdiv. In the last four years I CAN TOO renovated the space supported by the Municipality of Plovdiv. The foundation managed to unite and attract to the project many businesses and volunteers. The center will be completed in September 2015.
I CAN TOO foundation needs financial support for the training of specialists.
The project of I CAN TOO includes trainings of 12 specialists in international programs for children with autism.
It is extremely important for Bulgaria to exchange knowledge and experience with leading international organizations and experts who have a tradition of providing modern and proven therapy for children with autism. There are lots of successfully implemented innovative therapeutic programs, which are widely available and they have proven their effective impact. They have been in applied in Bulgaria very partially.
“Within the city of Burgas is lake of Atanasovo, which is the richest bird place in Bulgaria and a protected area. In 1906 the lake was turned into salt pans and is divided into pools of varying salinity with dikes and shafts that are ideal for nesting and resting dozens of rare and endangered bird species.
Predation from terrestrial predators is defined as the most important negative factor for the birds in the lake after the floods. Jackals and stray dogs have the greatest influence. They not only disturb the birds, but also directly destroy their eggs and chicks or trampled nests.
One of the possible solutions to be applied in the lake is the construction of artificial islands for nesting birds in the middle of the water basins, making them inaccessible to predators.The other solution that we offer with this project is to create, install and test systems for passive protection against predators, including networks levees, scarecrows, sound and light stimuli. This will prevent free access for predators to breeding colonies, and the involvement of young people in practical activities will stimulate their sense of ownership in solving the conservation problem.
Creating good and safe conditions for nesting are our “”Islands of Hope”” – sure wild nature oases in which to preserve breeding colonies of endangered Bulgarian birds, hoping that the shared efforts of all guarantee the survival and preservation for the future .
Our video project aims to find the best way to educate the young people about the reproductive health and to raise awareness on early prevention of the reproductive diseases. We are planning to shoot an influential video which will trace the paths of two young couples who have suffered emotional breakdowns on the road to fulfillment of their dream of a child and attended a program for psychological adaptation. One of the couples already has a child / children / and the other is still fighting for it. The couples will tell their personal stories of how long they are fighting to have a child; what experiences they have, what are the emotional problems encountered, how the environment perceives their problem, how the project has helped them.
They will tell of their initial mistrust and despair, how they gradually entered in this community of people with similar to their problems and how they benefit of sharing experiences and overcoming fears and inner self-restraint.
The realized dream of the first couple and hope for a successful end for the second one.
The video project relies on the emotional content and through both couples it addresses a positive message to couples visiting programs for psychological adaptation.
“According to Eurostat data for 2014, youth unemployment in Bulgaria is above the average for the EU / in January it was 30%, compared youth unemployment in Germany is 7.6% /. The main reasons for the state of youth unemployment in Bulgaria highlighted education, which does not meet the needs of the labor market, the difficulty of finding a first job, the desire for migration.
Among disadvantaged youth, as young people from Roma employment opportunities is even more essential and difficult problem. It is of particular importance and low educational qualification level caused by a lack of motivation to learn, early marriages, lack of skills for independent life and skills for comprehensive social performance and employment discrimination against them.
Besides the above factors should be considered the following reasons influence the high unemployment rate in them:
– Lack of tools to assess and diagnose potential opportunities and employment skills, and therapeutic programs for social adaptation.
– Lack of programs for professional orientation and training that are tailored to different risk groups
– The lack of a secure environment for learning and practicing skills such as sheltered workshops and social enterprises.
In Germany and Europe as a whole educational and training centers are one way to solve the problems of unemployed youth at risk, which apply complex solutions for work.
This project is implemented through the work adapted comprehensive model of Germany for professional development of young people. Thanks to the established patterns make diagnosis of their opportunities, professional orientation and professional realization in a secure environment, as a step towards an independent life.
In specially selected and equipped premises, employed young people within a year pass through professional training in tailoring and additionally classes in communication, social adaptation, goal setting and planning of privacy life. After the deadline and following an assessment of their condition, they will be given support to find work in a real manufacturing enterprise, and in their place will be recruit new young people from the target group.
“The Bulgarian Creative Writing Competition has successfully concluded its fifth year in 2015. More than 180 schools took part in the contest, and over 4000 essays were received from students in grades 6 to 12 from all over the country.
In February the participants are given one hour to respond to one of several creative, unusual topics. The goal is to create their own unique pieces of writing in English, and to think ‘outside the box’. Panels of regional judges read the essays and select the top four essays from each grade level in their region. National judging team read the best essays and select the first, second, and third place winners from each grade. The national finalists and their teachers are invited to the awards ceremony, where they are presented with special prizes. They also participate in a half day training on creative writing. Our main goal is to show students that talent deserves to be cultivated and shared with the world. Everyone’s voice matters!”
The children in large cities are especially deprived and the majority of them do not know how exactly vegetables are growing. Some even think that all produce comes from the supermarkets.This also contributes to their health and social status.In Bulgaria the situation is complicated even more due to the fact that nearly everywhere we have no school vegetable gardens, there are also no public vegetable gardens like in some other countries.In 2014 in Sofia, our experts realised the first project in Bulgaria for bio-garden for children using a municipal lot (Bio Garden Vitosha). Due to the great interest on the part of media, schools, local communities and many inquiries for cooperation on the part of various organizations, we have proceeded with the establishment of an organization: Bio City Sofia. Our plan is :Development of a system of model lessons and practical sessions with inclusion of recommended theory for children aged 3 to12 & Creation of new gardens in schools.
“The project aims to provide a safe and loving environment for 12 abandoned children with disabilities in the house of a family type in Kazanlak. Until recently, children spend their lives away from the community, isolated in institutions where they were treated as people who have no chance of life . Most of them have never left home , did not receive individual attention, they are not taught basic daily habits . Some of them have severe disabilities that were completely neglected without being provided the necessary physiotherapy.
In April this year within the project with the municipality of Kazanlak we settled those 12 children and young people in a small house of family type and we made individual plan for the needs and development of each of them. We hired and trained staff to take care of them. For the first time in their lives children and young people get the opportunity to meet other people , to be seen and accepted by the community. Our goal is to teach them to cope with everyday life , and wishes to express their views and be like children who grow up with their parents.
We believe that with love and professional care every child can live happily . We respect children and young people and we want to give them the support and attention needed to become more independent and to contribute to the community
“Following is a short description of the motivation behind the project, within our mission and goals:
Situation: Education in Bulgaria is below the average in the region and in Europe. According to the
detailed PISA analyses, Bulgaria produces some of the starkest results between children of low- and
high-income households; between children from “elite” and “regular” high schools; between
children of large and small towns. At the same time, some research (including PISA) shows
Bulgarian schools are among the leaders in Internet access at school.
Complication: Many teachers feel underpaid and unmotivated. Few young teachers enter the
industry which further increases the average class size and reduces the opportunity to utilize digital
technologies in the class room.
– free, world-class education materials accessible by everyone;
– guaranteed high quality of the materials through work with teachers and experts;
– direct work with 10, and later with more, classrooms and schools;
– support of informal types of education, including learning alone at home;
– popularization of our materials through teachers, social networks and mass media.”
To support families with children living in the street and succeed as much as possible their social reintegration keeping the family nucleus as long as the family does not jeopardies children lives and support children normal development.
BFW relaunches its “Youth Programme” to highlight the importance of gender perspective in solving young people’s issues and to promote active citizenship and participation. 13 girls from a network of 13 GEYC will be trained in sexual health and reproductive rights, gender issues and campaigning. They will be the leaders, transferring the knowledge to other members of GEYC, with the help of a local facilitator. Local awareness raising campaigns, as part of a national one, coordinated by BFW in March 2016, will be conducted, supported with small grants. They aim to raise awareness about consequences of early marriages and child pregnancy, to encourage young people to spot stereotypes and proactively confront discrimination and inequality of men and women, based on gender prejudices.