NO MORE WAR is the title and main message of the festival, dedicated to peace, peaceful coexistence and possibilities for change, which CVS-Bulgaria organizes between 26 and 28 January in Sofia. The event is part of the international project PATH coordinated by Service Civil International, which aims to examine the history of wars in Europe and the refugee crises connected to them, while drawing a parallel between these situations and today’s challenges.


The festival is in a pop-up format, providing space for people with an active position to join in, present their point of view and connect with other activists. The NO MORE WAR Fest is based on the principles of self-organisation, DIY (do it yourself), non-violence and volunteering.

It reviews the different aspects of peace: conflicts and forced migration, prevention of radicalization, human rights, non-violence and non-violent communication, peaceful protests and transformations in society, anti-militarism, living in harmony with yourself, the others and the environment. You can enjoy various discussions, workshops, actions, musical and film program. Visitors will also have the chance to follow the steps of an art installation, which draws a parallel between the history of forced migration and the various conflicts of our past and present. The event is hosted by the Cinema House and the Red House.





The NO MORE WAR Fest officially opens on 26th January from 18:30 in the Red House with the PATH exhibition, telling stories from the Spanish Civil War, the Second World War and the Yugoslav Wars – stories about the refugee crises inflicted by the conflicts, but also about activists’ dedication and initiatives in solidarity with the most vulnerable and persecuted groups. The exhibition makes a connection to the current activities of SCI (Service Civil International) in the field of peace and intercultural exchange. The art installation will be open for visitors between 10:00 and 22:00 in the weekend.



The format PATHs puts a focus on conflicts – in Syria, Ukraine, Iraq… What lies behind the dry media coverage, how the everyday life of people in conflict zones changes, what initiatives exist, trying to support them? We’ve invited several guests, who will tell you more about these problems, seen through the prism of their personal experience, their personal cause, their personal story. The journalist, writer and activist Ruslan Trad (De Re Militari) will participate in a discussion after the screening of the movie “Hell on Earth: the Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS” on Saturday at 16:00 in the Red House. Then we’ll continue with stories beyond borders. We’ve invited the journalists Georgi Totev and Georgi Kozhuharov from the LENS2LENS collective as well as representatives of the initiatives supporting refugees like Refugee Ocean, The Refugee Project and Caritas Sofia programs.



Protests and demonstrations are maybe one of the most tangible forms of standing up for a cause and achieving change. In the recent weeks thousands of people have taken to the streets of Sofia and other cities in Bulgaria and around the world to protect the National Park Pirin. Citizens have felt provoked to express their stance against populism, twisted values and hatred. We’ll talk about all this on Sunday from 18:30 in the Red House under the discussion “Peaceful protests for Pirin and against Hatred”. Earlier this day from 10:00 to 11:00 you can join a workshop on organizing and leading campaigns and peaceful protests. Saturday will take us to Catalunya, where 4 Catalans will share their direct experience and point of view. The aim of the event is to show the perspective of an ordinary person and to engage the audience in a debate about non-violence and human rights.



The topic of migration will be reviewed in a different format – the Living Library, where through personal stories, active listening, carefully asked questions and truly heard answers, you can appreciate the positive influence of migration on society. The event is on Sunday (28.01.) from 13:00 to 16:00 in the Cinema House.



The festival puts an accent to workshops for children, because we’re convinced that peace education should begin from early childhood. The topics will be presented in ways suitable for the age of the participants – though creativity, art, board games. The activities will take place from 11:00 to 13:00 on Saturday and Sunday in the Cinema House.



On Sunday between 11:30 and 13:00 in the Red House our international volunteers have prepared workshops dedicated to creative recycling of products (up-cycling), based on the DIY principle (do it yourself). The afternoon is dedicated to presentations and discussions, presenting initiatives which aim to change our attitude and the way we look upon the world; focusing on the ties between us and offering a critical view and concrete solutions for achieving a better world.



The program includes strongly engaging documentary and feature films. They can contain disturbing images, which show different realities and conflicts. Screenings in the Red House include the new documentary film of the journalist Adela Peeva “Long live Bulgaria” and the shattering “Hell on Earth: the Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS”, showing the cruel reality and the many layers of a conflict. The “Antifascists” and the Greenpeace documentary “How to Change the World” talk about peaceful resistance, citizen actions, protests and violence in its different forms.

The NO MORE WAR Fest partners with MENAR, a festival for films from the Middle East and Northern Africa, as part of which you can enjoy the movies “The Fabulous Casablanca”, “Lipstick under my Burkha” and “Sacred”. In addition as a host of the Fest, the Cinema House offers you the chance to enjoy the film “Tangerines”, which tells the amazing story of human relationships in time of conflict. Stephan Komanarev’s new film “Directions” will also be screened.



 NO MORE WAR: More Music is the place, where we will enjoy two strong bands with an active position. The lady team of Wet Pebbles will help us have a proper opening of the Fest on Friday evening. As part of the daily program of the festival and topic related to Catalunya, the band La Folie from Barcelona will impress you with the civic engagement of their music.

You can find the full program here.


 Posted by Victoria at 10:51 Volunteer news Comments Off on NO MORE WAR – the Festival Raising Questions about Peace and Change in Society

Nov 282016

International meeting on social inclusion hosted by CVS-Bulgaria

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Social Inclusion work continues to be a focus of the Youth and Unemployment Working Group this autumn in Bulgaria, where 14 experienced coordinators and activists from SCI Italy, SCI Catalunya, CVS – Bulgaria, VCV, CID, SCI Hellas, SVIT – Ukraine, Zavod Voluntariat – SCI Slovenia and Utilapu Halozat gathered to evaluate the social inclusion season 2016 and plan their work together during the whole year of 2017.

Three  youth exchanges in France, Bulgaria and Catalunya happened during the summer of 2016 with the participation of youngsters, experiencing different challenges in their lives. The mutual cooperation of the partners was a focus point of the meeting in terms of evaluation of activities, forming good practices, update and improve tools and create new opportunities for social inclusion work.

As a result of the meeting an info material pack with best practices and tips for social inclusion projects was developed, open to everyone willing to work in this field.

 Permalink  Posted by Victoria at 09:35 Volunteer activities Comments Off on

The Center for the Study of Democracy and CVS-Bulgaria supported by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, co-financed by the European Union, launched the initiative Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring.

The initiative is requested by the Ministry of Interior of the Republic of Bulgaria and is set to conclude in February 2018. Its main purpose is to contribute to the development of a common EU policy on asylum and migration, as well as contribute to strengthening the area of freedom, security and justice in the application of the principles of solidarity and sharing of responsibilities between Member States and cooperation with third countries under Regulation (EC) № 516/2014 of the European Parliament and the Council.

In particular, the initiative is expected to contribute to improving the national regulatory framework in the field of forced return by developing unified standards for monitoring; to developing and improving the concrete mechanisms for monitoring, respect and ensuring respect for fundamental rights and freedoms of third country nationals who are undergoing a procedure of forced return; to building and strengthening the capacity of all stakeholders involved.

The main activities of the initiative will be realized within 18 months and include the development of unified standards for forced return monitoring and their inclusion in the Guide for monitoring, implementation of independent monitoring of the stages of forced return and development of analytical reports and as a result strengthen national capacity for forced return monitoring.




This initiative is implemented with the financial support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, co-financed by the European Union.


 Posted by Victoria at 14:17 Volunteer news Comments Off on Development and Implementation of Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring

“Erasmus for All, Erasmus for Inclusion” Youth Exchange in Bulgaria

Youth Exchange VlahiWhat do social inclusion, a nature school in a small picturesque Bulgarian village and an international group of youngsters have in common? On a first glance – nothing, but for 10 days this September these three elements combined in perfect synergy! From 1st till 11th September CVS Bulgaria hosted the youth exchange “Erasmus for All, Erasmus for Inclusion”, funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. It gathered a group of 20 young people, including youngsters with fewer opportunities from Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Catalunya in the mountainous village of Vlahi to share their ideas and experience on the topic of social inclusion.

1In the first part of the exchange the participants had the chance through interactive games, discussions and theatre to share what they knew about social exclusion, human rights, intercultural communication and conflict resolution. The method of non-violent communication by Marshal Rosenberg, especially, caught everyone’s fascination.

2In between these educational sessions, the group could enjoy the breathtaking nature of the Pirin Mountain, where the village was situated. They were also able to learn more about “nature inclusion” from three NGOs working in the village to promote sustainability and nature preservation.


In the second part of the exchange, all participants had the chance to put what they learned to practice. They split into groups according to their interests in specific issues leading to social exclusion (like racism, prostitution and HIV) or the groups of people at risk of exclusion (refugees, people with visual disabilities). They discussed initiatives that could be organized on international and local level to promote social inclusion and tackle the issues leading to it. They also organized street actions to raise awareness of locals in the cities of Sandanski and Sofia on these issues.

street actionsOf course, there was time for fun as well. The international participants learned how to prepare home-made ljutenica (a beloved conserved food in Bulgaria) and came home with a lot of interesting ideas for games you can play outdoors. Who says you can’t have fun without the Internet?

4DSC_1037What was the best thing about this exchange? The amazing group of people, who managed to become close friends for these 10 days. We miss you all!

9CVS-Bulgaria team


 Posted by Victoria at 10:23 Volunteer activities Comments Off on “Erasmus for All, Erasmus for Inclusion” Youth Exchange in Bulgaria

Training Course “Zoom on Interculturality”

Zoom on interculturality is a training which will gather 20 participants from 10 different countries. Its goal is to increase a level of quality of intercultural education through increasing media competencies of the youth. Especially, their critical thinking on media and adapt it to the new conditions, in where the media have strong influence on creating reality in youth.

The main aims of the course are:

  • to increase participant?s competencies in creating of activities, which expand knowledge of the youth about prejudices and stereotypes, discrimination, hate speech, ability to recognize and actively take action against;
  • to expand media education knowledge of the participants and increase their ability in creating of activities, which support the youth?s critical thinking on media;
  • to increase participant?s knowledge about non-formal education and their ability to use this methodology while working with the youth.

You are the ideal participant if you:

  • If you are youth worker, teacher, volunteer WITH EXPERIENCE IN YOUTH WORK on local or international level.
  • If you have previous experience in use of different promotional tools as video, photography, social media or blog.
  • You are motived to share the gathered knowledge after the project.
  • You can communicate freely in English.

Each participant will be provided with food and accommodation by hosting organization during the activity period.

The participants are going to be reimbursed for their travel upon presenting all the needed valid travel documents up to 100% within 3 months after the project and according to Erasmus Plus table on km distance. The participants must choose the cheapest, shortest and most sustainable way of travel. We remind you to choose your way of travelling by thinking for the planet.

Apply by filling in this form and sending it by 10th of June to Sara on We are looking for two participants.

 Posted by Victoria at 18:33 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Call for participants: Training Course “Zoom on Interculturality”

Closing ceremony

Petya Yankova, former EVS volunteer of CVS Bulgaria, went to the Women Deliver Conference and shared with us what are the main lessens she took from the conference.
A week ago Copenhagen, Denmark hosted the world’s largest event on the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls. The Women Deliver Conference 2016 ( spread over 4 days, the first of which was entirely dedicated to the youth contribution to the cause.
I was lucky to participate in this initiative and I will try to summarize the most meaningful lessons I am taking away from Copenhagen. I hope they will also be of use to the youth workers, the educators and trainers, the volunteers and the young human rights advocates that make up CVS Bulgaria.

  1. “Regardless of what everyone says, words alone can’t change the world.” This brave thought by one of Women Deliver Youth Leaders, Yemurai Nyoni from Zimbabwe, reminded me that in order to succeed every idea needs supporters, every leader needs rest and support, every campaign needs financing. It is unrealistic to deny the volunteers’ needs for a working space, money, faith and respect for their labour.
  2. Quality education and access to information are of prime importance for realizing and making full use of our fundamental human rights . We have the right to ask for more data, a second opinion, statistical evidence, an example, a comparison. We have the right to a safe and peaceful life, access to health services, a salary that matches our work. Indifference and resignation are no solutions. Don’t wait until a certain right is repressed before acting upon it. Just because an injustice is happening to someone else doesn’t mean I can’t fight against it.
  3. The meaningful engagement of young people is vital. Including youth in the development, introduction, monitoring and evaluating of an idea or a programme enriches the process and gives long-term results. Why should young people decide what their city looks like? Why should young people steer the foreign policy of their countries? Why should students look for the best syllabus? My answer won’t be “Why not?”, but “Who else?”. Age discrimination is not only an outdated norm – pun intended – but harms each of us. A policy developed without the participation of all stakeholders, including the youngest ones, is hasty and short-sighted.
  4. In this line of thought, partnerships are crucial in reaching difficult goals such as gender equality. Sponsorship, exchange of ideas and experience, discovering new roads leading in the same direction are just some of the advantages of working with like-minded colleagues from different fields.
  5. The change is each one of us every day in every situation. We just need to decide that we want this change. From switching off the corridor lights to recycling, from using public transport to buying second-hand clothes, from voting in elections to pressing the “Share” button in support of a cause – we have the opportunity to improve our environment and that of the people around us. The beginner’s guide has been around for quite a while now: and the same goes for the advanced manual:

Video recordings from the conference, resources and links to partner organisations and initiatives are available on Women Deliver’s Website. I will be glad if you reach me in Twitter (RE_Thinkalone) or by writing to CVS Bulgaria.

Women deliver hall view

Youth flashmob

 Posted by Victoria at 16:31 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Changing the World: Women Deliver 2016

the CromlehCall for volunteers

International workcamp

Archaeological excavations – Cromlech Old Zhelezare 2016

by CVS – Bulgaria 

Hisarya, Bulgaria 15 June  25 June 8 July

 We are currently looking for volunteers for a summer workcamp at the Cromlech at Old Zhelezare, also called the Bulgarian Stonehendge organized by a small civic organization in Bulgaria called Foundation “Save the Cromlech in Old Zhelezare”.


We appeal to people from home and abroad interested in the preservation of historical monuments for future generations who wish to volunteer for saving from destruction of megalithic monument cromlech – Thracian Observatory in ” Cholakova mound ” near Old Zhelezare.Small civic organization from Bulgaria, overcoming many administrative and financial difficulties over the past two years, was able to organize and finance by raising broad public donation fund the archaeological excavations for further research of an ancient 26th century old megalithic monument cromlech 24 stone stelae, called the Bulgarian Stonehenge. This happens more than 10 years after the initial discovery of the archaeological monument, during which it was abandoned by cultural institutions and wich led to come down to desolation and stay forgotten.


The excavations will continue from 15th of June till 8th of July. Two groups of 10 volunteers each, can join to the team of experts during this period. First group from 14 June till 25 June. Second group from 26 June till 9 July. Participation of a volunteer in both groups for the whole duration of the project is allowed.



Cromlech (from Welsh) is a term describing prehistoric and ancient megalithic structures. In English, it usually stands for dolmens, prehistoric single-chamber stone tombs. However, in some other European languages, including Bulgarian, French, Spanish, or Italian, cromlech stands for prehistoric megalithic structures known more commonly known in Enlgish as stone circles.

The Ancient Thracian Cromlech (Stone Circle) in the town of Staro Zhelezare – also known in the media as “the Bulgarian Stonehenge” – is a an Ancient Thracian megalithic observatory located 12 km away from the southern Bulgarian town of Hisarya, and 10 km southeast of the Thracian cult temple at Starosel. The Ancient Thracian cromlech in the town of Staro Zhelezare consists of 24 erect megalithic slabs (of which 2 are missing) of various sizes arranged in a proper circle. They are believed to have been used by the Odrysians (Odrysae), the most powerful Thracian tribe which created the Odrysian Kingdom. The stone circle was covered buried under a man-made moundknown today as Cholakova Mogila by the Thracians after they stopped using it. The mound itself is 45 meters in diameter, and the stone circle measures 6 meters in diameter.

Eligible partners

All partner and member organizations of SCI network.

Detailed description

Foundation “Save the Cromlech in Old Zhelezare” is a civil organization, which aims to save from destruction and reconstruction a unique ancient facility with the religious and astronomical function of age more than 26 centuries. This is cromlech (stone circle) with a diameter of 7 meters and 24 stone slabs arranged in a circle. Some of them have a ten-foot height. Almost like at Stonehenge. The Cromlech is one of the three found in Bulgaria and the only one in the world, buried under a mound, probably during the campaign of the Persian King Darius in Thrace in the VI century BC. According to research, the complex was built by the Thracian tribe Odryssae.

The volunteers will get acquainted with folk traditions, cultural and folk customs of the local community in the House of traditions in the village of Staro Zhelezare. Volunteers can see customs connected with Midsummer day of the Sun, displayed by local amateurs, Bulgarian folk customs and could visit the exhibition of folk costumes or paintings of local artists in the ethnographic museum in the village.

The initiative is published so far in more than 200 electronic and print media, among which and 3 television channels, who supported the project to restore the megalithic monument cromlech – Thracian Observatory in ” Cholakova mound “. The project of socializing Cholakova mound , prepared by the Foundation “Save Cromlech in Old Zhelezare” expressed interest and will of the local community. The project has received the full cooperation and support of the local municipality and the mayor of Old Zhelezare.

Future of the project

This is the first time in our country when a civic organization managed to overcome  all the bureaucratic obstacles and is willing and after completion of these excavations in 2016, the Foundation will continue next year with developing a project for its salvation, reconstruction and turning it into an object of international cultural tourism.


The Foundation will provide volunteers with working tools – shovels, buckets, brushes, sieves, spatulas, wheelbarrows. Instructions on how to use the tools will be given by the head of the archaeological team and the tasks for each day will be given to all.

The work will be on weekdays. It will start every day at 9:00 a.m. and will not exceed 7 hours including one hour lunch break. It will be possible to help on Saturdays. Volunteers will also be given raincoats and or sun hats depending on the weather conditions.

Profile of the volunteers

Young people willing to engage in field work to support the archaeological team for excavations. The field work will be associated with intense bending, squatting and alertness during the cleaning and removal of artifacts from the ground. People interested in ancient history, archaeology, local customs.

Camp coordinators

A person is appointed by the Foundation to be joining both groups who will take care for organizing the volunteers and ensure the delivery of products of their list for weekly food supplies, water and sanitation materials for the apartment in which the volunteers will be placed and the archaeological site, and implementation of applications for a hot meal in the evening, if any.

Also, a camp coordinator will be appointed by CVS – Bulgaria, who will take care of the communication between the Foundation and the volunteers, to support the volunteers in their daily needs, to organize the free time and to translate if needed.

Financial conditions


  • All travel costs are at the expense of the volunteers. SCI and CVS support eco-friendly traveling methods.
  • SCI insurance is included for all volunteers for the duration of the workcamp.
  • Three meals a day are covered by the hosting organization. Alcohol drinks are excluded by the menu and will be on the expenses of the volunteer.
  • Accommodation is provided by the hosting organization in a house, on the first floor, in 4 rooms and one bathroom/toilet.


How to apply

Send your application after a quick registration on and the link of the workcamp is:

Additional materials:

Short video:




Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any question on the following e-mail address:





 Posted by Victoria at 12:30 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Workcamp “Archaeological excavations of the Bulgarian Stonehenge”

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”CVS- Bulgaria and Caritas Sofia are recruiting


to participate in The Refugee Project and to work with children, young people and adults, in the reception centres in Ovcha Kupel and Voenna Rampa

at the State Agency for Refugees

 Volunteer position: Volunteer (The Refugee Project)

Role overview: Preparing and leading educational sessions for refugee and asylum seeker children and adults in Sofia, on one or more of the following topics: Bulgarian language and orientation, English language, IT skills, and art, sports and games. The volunteers in the project have an active role in the integration of the children, young people and adults living in the reception centres in Sofia

–  helping them to adjust to a Bulgarian way of life and, for the children, in preparing them for the Bulgarian education system. In addition, some volunteers choose to actively support the development of the project activities by participating in thematic committees according to their interest and skills, e.g. fundraising or excursions.


  • Leading sessions for asylum seeker children, young people or adults in one or more of the following topics: Bulgarian language and orientation, English language, IT skills, and art, sports and games. Providing help and support for the children in their homework preparation, especially in Bulgarian language and Mathematics;
  • Engaging and maintaining the interest of the asylum seeker children, young people or adults, when delivering the sessions/activities;
  • Planning and organising sessions/activities as part of a small team.
  • Planning and organizing activities outside of the centers: trips, participation in events and tournaments, museum visits, theater and cinema visits, etc.

Activities timeline:

  • The volunteer will help with a minimum of one 2 hour session on the same day each week, in the morning (between 10:30 -12:30) or in the afternoon (2-4).
  • Volunteers with more spare time can choose to attend more than one session on a regular basis.


  • · Age 18+;
    • Desire and skills to work with asylum seeker children, young people or adults;
    • Responsibility and ability to prepare sessions independently (under the mentorship of the project coordinators) after initial training;
    • Ability to work well with other volunteers to plan and deliver sessions;
    • An interest in different cultures;
    • Ability to complete tasks within set deadlines;
    • Experience of working with children is an advantage, as well as education in social activities and / or pedagogy;
    • Knowledge of Arabic and/or Farsi would be useful; knowledge of other languages is a plus.

Duration: 8 February 2016 – 31 May 2016 (volunteers who enjoy the work and successfully complete this session may be offered the opportunity to continue to volunteer with the Refugee Project.)

 Project launch

  • 6 and 7 February – compulsory training
  • 8 February – activities start


  • Ovcha Kupel: Integration Center for Refugees at SAR (21A Montevideo St., Ovcha Kupel District, Sofia);
  • Voenna Rampa Военна Рампа: 11 Lokomotiv St., Serdica – Nr Professional School for Interior Architecture and Woodcarving, Sofia


  • General information on countries of origin, EU and local law regulations and procedures;
  • Detailed overview of the project and its activities;
  • Training by specialists about working with asylum seeker and refugee children, young people and adults;
  • Training on concrete educational activities and suggesting good practices in working with asylum seeker children, young people or adults;
  • Information on the rights and responsibilities of the volunteers.


  • Intercultural communication, meeting  people of different ages and from different cultures;
  • Gaining experience in working with asylum seeker and refugee children, young people and adults;
    • Experience of planning and leading educational, creative or sports activities;
    • Bilingual certificate from CVS-Bulgaria and Caritas Sofia on successful completion of the project;
    • Personal satisfaction.

 Mentoring and evaluation:

  • The volunteer’s work will be mentored by the coordinators of the project and experienced volunteers who continue their volunteer service within the project;
  • Contact persons will be the coordinators of the project; volunteers will also be assigned a mentor who has previous experience of volunteering with the project.
  • Mid-term and final training/evaluation sessions.

If you want to apply, fill the application form here and send your CV to till 24th of January

 Posted by Victoria at 04:10 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Refugee Project: Volunteers Wanted!

A few days after the International Volunteer Day we are posting the EVS story of Vicky, who recently was our volunteer and project coordinator. She is currently EVS volunteer in SCI International Secretariat in Antwerp, Belgium. We re-publish her story for her first month there, which can only keep us warm and inspire for more happy volunteer stories and experiences. We are looking forward to her next ‘beer’ stories in her blog, where you can read the original article.

“December is a universe …”, a friend once wrote. Today, the first of December it exactly one month since I jumped into my EVS experience and  my life in Antwerp, Belgium, started. Cup of hot coffee, Beirut from neighboring computer and enough pent inspiration are a good opportunity to write a story. Or just to describe  what happened to me last month.


It all started exactly a year ago when I decided that either I will study my dream master’s degree in Germany or I will find an inspiring EVS project to digest the coming year. I quickly gave up from my master (thanks to a number of reasons and circumstances), and the perfect EVS project came to me by chance in April. It was the second one for which I applied and was rather an exception, as I was involved in the activities of the organization along CVS-Bulgaria.

While volunteering with CVS and coordinating several projects last year, I had the opportunity to become part of the Bulgarian family of SCI and to fall inlove with the every single thing I did with the girls there. This is only a small part of the reason to be an EVS volunteer nowhere else, but in the International Secretariat of SCI. A great chance to improve myself in a different meanings. To learn and to create.

For those who don’t know SCI (SCI International) is an international network of organizations whose primary mission is to promote a culture of peace by organizing international voluntary initiatives and projects. CVS-Bulgaria is the Bulgarian branch and practically my project is like continuation of my work in CVS. The challenge here is that the projects are of international level, with a lot more work, communication and coordination. The Secretariat is that core that moves larger projects, supports partner organizations, dealing with finances, promotion of the network itself online and offline, attend meetings and support each working group within the SCI. What my job is, is one of the most common questions that encounter with regard to my project. The two main things that I do are communication and support of the Create a Climate for Peace Campaign, along which will participate in various meetings and seminars related to the campaign. The challenge for me as not-very-eco-oriented person who did it is curious to learn more and more and to make more conscious and informative choices in my life. At least when it comes to protecting the environment and our nature, yes. The second thing I do is again (surprise) communication and coordination of projects within the working group SAVA, which in turn is regionally oriented and deals with the involvement of young people from the Balkans. In general, all good things… and people (especially people). Besides all communication and coordination, and I have my own projects, I am enthusiastic and motivated to accomplish with the support of SCI. I will tell you more about them later.


I already mentioned that I live in Antverpen – the last place that I thought I would live. A country which I had not even smelled. Few things that I knew were related mainly to Brussels – beer and chocolate, which I do not disregard, but believe me – Belgium is much more than its beers (for which I will write a separate post, fact!)

Antwerp is like a fairy tale decor. I’ve read and seen many things about the city before I arrived, but nothing is what your eyes see it live. Central Station is the most enchanting station I’ve ever seen. I can spend a lot of time just staring at her details. We live in the center in a romantic old house with creaky stairs and shacking floor under the streetcar. Our house is belonging to Oxfam Fondation. Entering the entrance you will meet shelf with old books and a few boxes of the same. The entrance passes the Oxfam bookshop, where so nice that no one is surprised when realize that there are working only volunteers (mainly elderly). Who would not want to spend their free time between books? Three floors up and 55 stairs are the exact distance to my attic room. Now I understand why Carlson lives on the roof. For a company of the opposite building protect us Spiderman mural. I feel absolutely at the right place. Going to work with bikes where you often “wake up” with the smell of chocolate as we have the privilege to work to the chocolate factory. Right, Charlie and the chocolate factory are a few steps away, and one of the first things you learn is where to go and ask for your boxes with free chocolate. Just saying “Hello, we are from the SCI office and looking for a chocolate” and suddenly the magic happens. I decided that every Monday will begin with chocolate of “laboratory”. In spite of all that hate-Mondays-attitude, mine Mondays will be always sweet and happy. Another reason to be a happy volunteer. And for you to be my guests. 😉

My bike – I have already mentioned it. I might not have a pet or dog or a cat, but the bike is definitely my most faithful friend (after Marta, my roommate). I got used to it quicker than I imagined and now I can’t live without my bike. There are trams, but never used them since I ride a bike. Those who know me, know how much I love trams…once I even wanted to make a documentary in the tram with all the specific and colorfull peope…
So, imagine my bike love. Fearless I drive slowly and very quickly. Sometimes I fall, but not fatal. Love at first sight.


Precisely on bike and with short distances I start to get to know more and more the beauties of Antwerp. I already had its first moment that I wanted to get in a jar, to take it home, and to open it when I’m bored or just need something inspiring for my soul. It was the last week on Thursday, when we were in Ecokot – eco-oriented organization that deals with different things. They have nice colorful garden and from time to time organize some events. Every thursday at 19:00 they cook from the garden in order to raise funds for the organization. They have their own homemade organic beer, which is not bad at all, there is a bike doctor – that’s right! He can fix your bike for free. Ecokot is also a friendly bar with a lot of books, carpets on the ground, zen atmosphere, it is like you are in someone’s huge cozy living room with a small “stage” where musician could play whatever they want. The same evening a musician had played guitar, then others join him, they played djembe drums, trumpet and even (!!!) tambourine. One lady sang Nora Jones, Manu Chao… like is the only thing that you would listen before going to sleep.

Everything was so informal and unpretentious, and I was filled with emotion and farytail-ness. I think that was the moment when I felt the spirit of Antwerp. They said it’s “the country’s capital of cool” and they are not wrong. There are enough cafes and bars that you can go to a different one every day (as Ela said once before I arrive). The rover, MAS museum where you can see all the city lights from the top of it, street musicians, many galleries, fries and waffles on every corner, cycle paths, turkish area, chinese area, maroccan area, jewish area where you feel like in a movie. All the things that one newcomer needs to get used quickly with the life here. Antwerp is definitly a living city.

I have many ideas that I hope to realize during the coming months. Challenge myself with little things that so far I haven’t experienced or seen. Small challenges as spices. And, yes, I am lucky to live with Marta from Catalonia, with who we get along so well as we always knew each other before. She is one of the most sincere people here. We share food, beer, gossip, sometimes room when we have guests. She cooks tortillas, and I cook tarator. She makes risotto and I mishmash. Food connects, but to have someone with whom to share it is even better.

A month, and it is like much more. I will not stop repeating that to be an EVS volunteer is one of the best things that can happen to you. This blog is just to show (you) and tell all the stories all around. And maybe to inspire you.

 Posted by Victoria at 15:14 EVS news, Volunteer activities Comments Off on EVS volunteer in Belgium and someone ride a bike

Picture: Venislav Valchev

CVS – Bulgaria, together with our partners from Management of “Vratsa Balkan” Nature Reserve organizing international volunteer workcamp “Vratsa Balkan – We love environment and environment loves us.”

You could be one of the 15 volunteers!

You love mountains, nature and theme for the environmental is close to your heart? Physical work doesn’t scare you and you are not startled at the sight of a hammer and pliers? You would live 12 days with local people and have a desire to learn more about life there. Take part in our new workcamp “Vratsa Balkan Nature Park – We love environment and environment we love.”


The camp will take place between 17.09 to 28.09 in the heart of the Natural Park “Vratsa Balkan”, villige Ochindol. During the camp, volunteers will participate in the reconstruction and and building a tourist infrastructure in Natural Park Vratsa Balkan; Building a woodhous around a local cultural the monument; Creating a green path, railing and safety measures around the area; Making a promotional video about the place.

We will work with wood, cutting tools, nails and hammers and do some renovation work. It is expected hard physical work to be done for 6 hours a day.

There will be workshops and discussions on the following topics:

  • History of SCI International and Park Vratsa Balkan
  •  Peace education
  •  Recycling and sustainable living
  •  Intercultural understanding
  • Working in small international teams

Touching to the Vratsa, to the mountain and its people there is incomparable experience for all your senses!

Financial and practical conditions of participation:
All essential costs of the programme during the workcamp in Vratsa Balkan (including food, accommodation, and training) will be covered by CVS – Bulgaria.
The volunteers cover their travel expenses.

Details can be found in the link, if you’re interested contact us at or fill the form in

The camp is organized by CVS – Bulgaria under the Operational Programme “Environment 2007-2013” with the assistance № DIR – 5113326-C-005, “Implementation of activities for planning and management of ” Vratsa Balkan ” Nature Reserve .

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 Posted by Victoria at 02:08 Volunteer activities, Workcamps news Comments Off on Take part in voluntary workcamp in Vratsa Balkan