What a participant could expect:

  • encounter of creative young adults.
  • participants from three countries: Bulgaria, France, Germany.
  • practical workshops with creative methods from panting, theatre, storytelling and games.
  • meeting inspiring people.
  • make long-lasting international friendships. 
  • possibility to participate in future International Youth Creative Encounters in France and Germany.
  • working language is English, but all other languages are welcome.
  • we welcome participants from all around Bulgaria.
  • to  have fun

The full program of activities and the accommodation and the food are free for the participants.

Conditions for participation:
The ideal participant should

  • be fully available for the period of the encounter. The Bulgarian participants will be accommodated in a hotel together with their German and French partners. The Encounter starts with a meeting and dinner on April 11.
  • be curious and open-minded.
  • be 18 to 30 years old.
  • speak English on a communicational level. Speaking French or German is a bonus but nor a requirement.
  • enjoy meeting new people.
  • bring your good mood and beautiful smile

Apply now: https://forms.gle/1X4R1A8AAdJQn67YA

Organised by Arte Urbana Collectif (Bulgaria), Anatelie & Cie (France), IG Feuerwache (Germany) and  Bezirksjugendring Oberbayern (Germany) with the support of Franco-German Youth Office.

 Posted by Shirin at 10:36 Volunteer activities, Volunteer news Comments Off on INTERNATIONAL YOUTH CREATIVE ENCOUNTER 12-16.04.2020 | Sofia
 

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This training course took place from 1st till 7th November in the Red Cross base in the village of Dolni Lozen near Sofia. 34 participants including the trainers took part in it and for the whole week they enjoyed a good weather, the peaceful venue, the intense discussions on the topic of human rights and forced migration, the sharing of personal and professional experiences amongst each other, the stories from the guest lectors, the power of Human library as readers, one of the participants even volunteered to be a book, the meetings with the local NGOs which work on raising awareness or directly with refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, the only earthquake simulator on the Balkans, a campfire evening, international sweets and salty coffee breaks, Bulgarian cuisine and wine, and the overall great atmosphere that was created and everyone contributed to it.

After arrival on the very first day there was not a second waste to start the games for getting to know each other. And because the topic is so important and makes connections in so many levels, by working in small groups the program touched the surfаce based on the personal experiences and the participants created some human rights crossword puzzles.

On the second day of the training “Human Rights from A to Z” the group was already bonded and the strong sides of each of the participants become more visible. Orientation about the objectives of the program and the motivation that connects everyone in the room were expressed. Thanks to the good weather the group walked the talk … or was it talk the walk?! and during this day the key to knowledge sessions took over to find the key terms, concepts and evolution of human rights. To keep the good spirits in the end of the day the group created outdoor “campfire therapy”, also thanks to the hosts at the venue of the Red Cross Training Center in Dolni Lozen to let us do it.

Walk the talk or talk the walk

Walk the talk or talk the walk

On the third day of the training course the participants walked the journey of the refugees, discussed the human rights violations and protection mechanisms by international laws and doctrines. This session was followed by the reality stories from the expert guests Vladimir Panov and Lora Milanova from Bulgaria, who work on the field for many years now and were able to share the main challenges between the theory and practice for the refugees and for the people who work with them. Many examples and true stories were told. The day was hard and long, but the group saved some energy and stayed positive.

Smiling people

Smiling people

Smiling people

Smiling people

Smiling people

Smiling people

More smiling people

More smiling people

The fourth day started with presentations from the participants for the local realities, a homework that was given to them before arriving to the training and a homework very well prepared and presented by all the groups. The day continued with session on hate speech, where a lot of negative examples for hate speech from the different countries and different levels of influence – politics, media, social life were visualised and discussed. Common specifics in the methods that the hate speech works were spotted. Positive examples were coming mostly from the NGO sector. The cherry top of the day was the Human library event that was organized at Cinema House in Sofia city center and the group of participants were invited and joined this amazing event to read the books collected in this edition of Human library: Humans from A to Z (photo gallery here). Nico, a participant presenting a Spanish partner in this project and who was born in Equatorial Guinea, volunteered and joined the event as a book. The feedback from the evening was very powerful and participants shared that it has been very inspirational and personal highlight moment for them.

The next day continued with the inspiration and sharing ideas from the real life with meetings organized with the representatives of different NGOs in Bulgaria and the study visits took most of the day. In small groups the participants met Center for Legal Aid “Voice in Bulgaria” , UNHCR Bulgaria, Caritas Sofia, IOM Bulgaria, Lumos, Български Червен кръст (Bulgarian Red Cross).

Sharing best practices in organising events

Sharing best practices in organising events

The last full day of the program was focused on the practicalities and how to organize an event back home. The participants were partnered by a country of representation and brainstormed ideas on future local activities to organize at home. They had the tools and the support to plan an event and we can not wait to hear more about it when implemented, because the ideas are really amazing, achievable and powerful.
The evening was dedicated to farewell party and giving away the very well deserved Youthpass certificates to all participants.

Departure day was set for 7th of November after lunch. The morning was full of gratitude amongst participants, but also towards themselves and during the evaluation session they all shared the satisfaction of learning so many things about the human rights, forced migration and the realities on the topic, but also they experienced changes of personal attitudes, expansion of personal point of views and realization of what their mission will be and readiness to be stronger defenders of the human rights when they go back home.

The program

The program

The earthquake simulator

The earthquake simulator

The people

The people

The space

The space

The newsroom

The newsroom

The letters

The letters

Overall the days were also full of morning breaking news – briefing the group what happened the day before, the evening gatherings in “family” groups for reflection of the day, writing letters to the trainers, but also between each other, keeping the good vibes with playing music and games in the evenings and most of all taking care for and respecting each other!

 

 

We, the organisers of this training, have no words to describe the diversity and the energy of the participants. Each one of them chose to apply and gave us the opportunity to host them and create such a colourful palette of humans from A to Z, full of potential and perspectives to volunteer for Peace and volunteer for Human Rights!

With their permission we share what they wrote to us the week after the training was over!

The project “Human Rights from A to Z”, 2018-2-BG01-KA105-048219 is supported by Erasmus+, under KA1, Youth workers mobility
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 Posted by Shirin at 13:57 Volunteer news Comments Off on Training course Human Rights from A to Z
Jun 122018
 

Contemporary societies, due to the immense interconnections existing and the increase of the mobility of people (voluntary or not, permanent or temporary), are characterized by cultural diversity and pluralism. This implies that the world experiences new phenomena in which the defense of identities, nationalism, the demands of social movements, the claim of cultural rights, etc. are mixed. For this reason, The purpose of this exchange is to contribute to overcome these challenges through the analysis of cultural diversity in order to exchange experiences and knowledge, discovering their links and facing t1_DwVgXzeIjBjn2OxBCjPglwogether the challenges it poses. All this from the need to develop a vision of cultural diversity that considers that diversity as a source of wealth and indispensable part of the solution and not as the source of the problems it faces.

That is why, thanks to this youth exchange we would like:

  • To promote the culture of dialogue, understanding and respect for the construction of a more diverse and inclusive society.
  • To emphasize the importance of cultural diversity in today’s society and its relation to common European values.
  • To encourage personal growth and the development of key competencies among participants, especially those with fewer opportunities, through positive interaction with differences and active participation

 When is it happening?

Arrival day – 13 July 2018

Departure day – 20 July 2018

Where is it happening?

illora

The project will be held in Illora, a small town in province of Granada, Spain. The participants will be accommodated in the classrooms of a local school. Up to 8 or 9 participants in a room. There will be no mixed accommodation. Mattresses will be provided, but remember to bring your own linens. The bathrooms are located in a separate building, where the school gym is.

What activities will be happening?

  • Each group will have the opportunity to present their country in one of the evenings of the exchange
  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes (there will be a walk). The weather is warm, so do not forget to take a sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, swimsuit.
  • Group acquaintances and sessions on the methodology of non-formal learning to achieve the objectives of the exchange
  • Drinking alcohol will not be allowed.

Who will participate in this youth exchange?

The Bulgarian group and Spanish hosts will be joined by participants from Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and Poland.
This youth exchange is open to young people aged 18 to 30 and will be held in English. Participants are expected to be part of the full length of the youth exchange.

What are the financial conditions?

The travel expenses to be reimbursed to participants from Bulgaria are a maximum of € 360 per participant. Take into account, for transport between Granada and Illora, that you will use about € 6.

Food and accommodation for the duration of the project are fully covered by the Erasmus + Program.

Each participant has to take care of his / her own insurance for the YE period and the travel days. This will not be part of the reimbursement. As a member of the European Union, Spain has agreements on the recognition of insurance systems. Therefore, those who have a European Insurance Card can cover illnesses and accidents in the same way they are in their country. Please note that even if you have an EU insurance card it will not cover road accidents.

Application Contacts:

Please send your CV and motivational letter to cvs.katerina@gmail.com by June 18, 2018 at the latest.

 

 Posted by Shirin at 09:34 Volunteer news Comments Off on Diverse
 

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.

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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.

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OPENING & PATH EXHIBITION

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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.

PATHs DISCUSSIONS

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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

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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.

HUMAN LIBRARY: THE WONDERS OF MIGRATION

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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.

CHILDREN’S PROGRAM

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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.

 ALTERNATIVES FOR A BETTER WORLD

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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.

FILM PROGRAM

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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.

MUSICAL PROGRAM

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 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.

WE’RE LOOKING FORWARD TO WELCOME YOU AT THE FESTIVAL!

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

The biggest literary event – Sofia International Literary Festival – will be awaiting their guests between 12th and 17th December. In 2017 the focus of the fifth edition of the festival will be the literature and culture of the Visegrad countries – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and the Czech Republic. We are awaiting international guests, meetings with Bulgarian writers, children workshops, concerts, exhibitions, parties and informational sections.

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In order to make this amazing cultural event come true, Bulgarian book Association and CVS Bulgaria need motivated volunteers for the following positions:

  • Person in charge of the logistics (with a very good level of English): welcoming and sending the international guests, as well as accommodating them in the hotel of the festival.
  •  Person in charge of the statistics: keeping a diary of the festival events – their attendance and interest by the audience.
  •  People in charge of the stage: monitoring the order and the necessary quantities on the stage and on the fair; monitoring the order of the guests and when they are going to the stage; supporting  the technical team.
  • Volunteers at the informational point:  guiding the visitors towards the stands; distributing the informational materials; giving information for the cultural program of the fair and the festival.
  • A volunteer, organizational support of the exhibitors: coordinating the organization of the placement and removal by the exhibitors; distribute and collect the reception and transmission protocols; describe and deal with the complaints.

All volunteers will receive a certificate for voluntary work, sandwiches, access to the parties during the festival as well as vouchers for books.

If you would like to join us as a volunteer, please send us a short motivation letter mentioning in which position/s you are interested and a contact number to Aleksandra Stanisheva stanisheva@abk.bg till 6th December!

Good luck!

 Posted by Atanaska at 14:35 Volunteer activities, Volunteer news Comments Off on Be a volunteer at the Sofia International Literary Festival
 

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.

 

EU

 

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
 

Katerina is sharing memories from her first youth exchange in Slovenia in the summer of 2013. The youth exchange topic was cinema and human rights and within some days we will upload some of the videos created by the youngsters during the exchange.

The youth exchange in Slovenia was my first experience of that kind and I must say that there has been no moment I have been sorry for it – neither before nor after it. Everything was perfect from the first time I read about the project to the moment I was back in Sofia.

As, by coincidence, all of the participants in the Bulgarian group (except the leader) were going to such an event for the first time, our sending organisation was kind enough to get us prepared for what is coming and give us all the information we needed about the details for the project which definitely made us less anxious before the departure.

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And about the youth exchange itself – it was g-r-e-a-t! Getting to know so many new people from so many different countries and, on top of all, the same age like us, is soo refreshing. You can see that no matter what cultural differences there may be, all young people are the same in some aspects – idealism, hope for better future, desire for change and last, but not least, unsettling desire for fun!

We had different workshops during our visit which taught us a lot about active citizenship and the basics of cinematography, but we had also lots of games which made us closer and gave us the opportunity to come to know each other better and perhaps in some depth. As Platon himself has said: “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in an year of conversation”.

 

 

 Posted by Mira at 22:54 Volunteer activities, Volunteer news Comments Off on Slovenia, cinema and human rights – the story of one youth exchange
 

School for nature Vlahi is delighted to invite you for the last working weekend for this year on 2-3 November in Vlahi. 

Volunteers in Vlahi

The work: preparation of the garden for the winter, work on the outer windows – plastering with primer for protection.

We provide: food and transportation from Kresna to Vlahi and back, good day weather and great mood!

Bring: mattresses, warm sleeping bag, warm wool clothes, even wool socks (it gets quite cold during night)!

For confirmation and further details: call at 0888 242 192 or write to natureschool@vlahi.org

See ya in Vlahi! 

 

 Posted by Mira at 13:49 Volunteer activities, Volunteer news Comments Off on Last volunteer weekend in Vlahi for 2013
 

Cooperation for Voluntary Service Bulgaria (CVS – Bulgaria) is a non-profit organization aiming at promoting of intercultural understanding and voluntarism in Bulgaria. We achieve our aim through various voluntary and educational activities – work camps, volunteer exchanges, seminars, trainings, workshops, information campaigns, etc. The values that CVS – Bulgaria respects are peace, awareness, tolerance, responsibility, solidarity, initiative, democracy, equality, respect, positivism. We are the Bulgarian branch of Service Civil International and a member organization of SEEYN.
CVS- Bulgaria has developed a project is called “Space for Environment and Inclusion” and the grant application will be submitted on 1st of  October. We are looking for 3 highly motivated EVS volunteers  working in the following  fields.

 

 

Volunteer in the field of inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities

  • Contact person: Miroslava Popova
    Contact email: cvs.mira@gmail.com
    Country: Bulgariа
    Project theme: Socially disadvantaged
    Project language(s): English
    Local language(s): Bulgarian
    Location: Sofia
    Number of vacancies:
    1
    Work starts: 1st March 2014
    Work ends: 28th February 2015

    Application deadline: 26th September
    Decision date: 30th September

    Project description:
    Being the Bulgarian branch of Service Civil International we are a part of international working group aiming at inclusion of young people with fewer opportunities (YUWG). Every year we organize activities on the topic – youth exchanges, leader trainings, workshops and other trainings. We specifically work with youngsters from social institutions and centers, rural areas, refugees, etc.

    Work Description:
    The volunteer will work on diverse tasks. The volunteer will support the youth exchanges coordinator in recruiting, training and sending groups of youngsters with fewer opportunities to youth exchanges and other volunteer projects. Additionally he/she will take part in the coordination and organization of international volunteer projects (work camps) during the summer of 2013 in Bulgaria, which are designed and carried out to promote inclusion of disadvantaged social groups. In the winter months the volunteer will be responsible for the organization of events and activities (workshops, info days, presentations, international evenings, etc.)
    Some of the work related activities will take place in the Social and Youth center “St. Konstantin” (CONCORDIA Bulgaria Foundation). It will involve direct work with disadvantaged children or young adults, which will include: organizing and participating in activities, running workshops, supporting CONCORDIA’s team in collaboration with other international volunteers. This on-field social work will bring to the merit of the project and will enrich the experience of the volunteer.

    Requirements:

    An interest and some experience (or strong motivation to work) in the social field – working with disadvantaged youth, organizing activities for youngsters, etc., is essential. Volunteers are required to be flexible, independent and responsible, with good social and organizational skills. Most welcome will be candidates with strong self driven and self initiative personalities, creative spirit and open mindedness, ready to develop a great project within the framework of the suggested EVS program.

    Food: Provided money allocations for food every month.

    Accommodation: Provided – a room in an apartment shared with other volunteers.
    Pocket money: 65 EUR (per month)
    Insurance: Provided (AXA standard EVS insurance)
    Fees: None

     

    Volunteer in the Eco-center “Nature School”

  • Contact person: Julia Yordanova
    Contact email: juliayor@yahoo.com
    Country:
    Bulgaria
    Project theme: Environment
    Project language(s): English
    Local language(s): Bulgarian
    Location: village of Vlahi, Kresna (Blagoevgrad region)
    Number of vacancies:
    2
    Work starts: 1st March 2014
    Work ends: 31stOctober 2014
  • Application deadline: 26th September
  • Decision date: 30st September

    Project description:
    Vlahi is a small village in Pirin Mountain near Macedonia and Greece, which offers great biodiversity and beautiful nature. CVS – Bulgaria has created there an Eco-center “Nature School” few years ago. The center is built mostly with volunteer contribution and with eco friendly materials and technology. Its main aim is to serve as an educational and visitor center where young people can learn more about ecological constructions, biodiversity, saving energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, etc.

  • Work Description:
    The volunteer will help the Eco-center “Nature School” coordinator in running the center, facility maintenance, gardening and everyday work. He/she will be welcoming school groups or visitors in the center or in the area. Part of the EVS project will be to organize and coordinate an eco international work camp in the summer months. The volunteer will have the opportunity to implement their own ideas and initiatives if they are in correspondence with the values and goals of the Eco-center “Nature School”.
  • Requirements:
    It is essential that the volunteer is well prepared for very basic life conditions (sun shower and  compost toilets, sleeping in a sleeping bag on a mattress). The nearest town is Kresna and there is no public transport to the village (transportation will be organized by car or by bike). The volunteer is expected to be very independent and ready to spend 6 months in a very small village close to nature. Volunteers are also required to be strongly eco-oriented, flexible, and responsible, with good social and organizational skills. Most welcome will be candidates with strong self driven and self initiative personalities, creative spirit and open mindedness, ready to develop a great close to nature project within the framework of the suggested EVS program.Food: Provided money allocations for food supplies every month (shopping will be done on a regular basis in the nearest town of Kresna). In the Eco-center there is a fully equipped kitchen where the volunteer could prepare their own food.

    Accommodation: Provided – in the Eco-center. Very basic conditions!

    Pocket money: 65 EUR (per month)
    Insurance: Provided (AXA standard EVS insurance)
    Fees: None

The deadline for submitting the applications for these positions  is 26th Septmeber!  Good luck!

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 Posted by Mira at 12:36 Volunteer news Comments Off on CVS – Bulgaria is looking for EVS volunteers
Sep 112013
 

 Numbers of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people ©http://www.imap-migration.org

Numbers of Syrian refugees and internally displaced people ©http://www.imap-migration.org

 

Peter Pollard, an activist of the British branch of SCI has visited Syrian refugee camps in Jordan, with the aim of assessing the situation and finding out whether SCI could have a role to play there, within its mission as a volunteer peace organisation. Here is a summary of his report:
 
I spent seven days in Jordan, meeting people and familiarising myself with the culture and people. I met families who had been near to the worse of the fighting in Aleppo and Homs. I was also driven to Zaatari Refugee camp, home to 100,000 displaced Syrian people, close to the Syrian border.

In a Jordanian town, I sat with a refugee family in their temporary house. The TV, which was the only fixture in an otherwise sparse and empty room, constantly showed violent images of the conflict, whilst the family talked, argued and gestured provocatively, in a manner that suggested, the situation was no longer of their making or within their control. Another family, in a similar room, had the blanket they had taken with them from Zaatari camp neatly on display, above their TV. A memento, of their escape of Syria, through Zaatari. A family member showed me a picture of his dead brother on his mobile phone, a victim of the violence. The families kept in contact with Family and friends in Syria, through a series of mobile phones.

A young man, who had fled Syria, told me he had been held by police in Jordan. They had told him he had two choices, he could go directly back to Syria or he could train to fight with the Free Syrian Army, at a camp in Jordan. After training he would be then sent back to Syria, to fight the government. The young man took a third option and is still ‘on the run’ in Jordan (..)

One family’s story

…One man, who had lived with his family in Zaatari, explained that Zaatari was like ?Hell?. No one wanted to be there and people were leaving the camp, saying, they would rather take there chances in Syria being bombed or shot, rather than be in Zaatari. His children told me they used to play football at home and had a computer but had to leave it behind. (..)

None of the family was in employment in Jordan, apart from the fourteen year old, eldest son. He was missing school and for a twelve hour day, working as a welders mate, he was receiving, two Jordanian dollars per day. To put the wage into perspective, I paid three JD, for an average bag of nuts from the local shop. His hands were dark grey from the oil and material he was using and he complained of being tired because of the long hours. The father lastly explained that the most uninspiring part of being a refugee was the boredom of being unemployed and the inability to provide for his family. Mother explained, the family had only left Syria with a few possessions and had very little means to even repair or sew clothes or things. I thanked the family for their hospitality and tea and said good night (..)

Refugees and locals

People are still very fearful of talking and having photographs taken, because of the fear of recriminations from the police if they return to Syria. They are now unsure of their futures and feel there are problems with the Jordanian people because of their numbers.

They are being extorted by bad business people. They are trying to blend into the local community but have no means to do so. Apart from Amir, the branch secretary of SCI Jordan, they have few friends amongst the Jordanians. Amir is their hero, has their confidence and they treat him like a brother.

Zaatari camp

We decided to drive to Zaatari camp and from a distance it came into view, a great swathe of white tents spread across the landscape. As we got closer the size of the camp (100.000 people) became very impressive. There seemed to be a mixture of simply built buildings and tents. We came in to the area close to the main road into the camp. I noticed there were lots of people on the road trying to hitch a ride into town. There were also a group of children trying to steal iron from a building site, the police were nearby but didn’t intervene.

Amir pointed to a family packing items into a car and explained they were escaping from Zaatari. I asked him how did he mean escaping? He said, people were climbing over the fence and escaping because they were disturbed by poor camp conditions. Bad water, no beds, poor sanitation, prostitution and violence were not uncommon on the camp. I have to admit, the man at the car looked around as we passed by him and he looked petrified with fear.

We went to the gates and a Jordanian guard told us we could not enter, he also told us we could not take photographs. We turned around in the car and headed back to the main road.

Back at the main road Amir stopped to give a ride to a family. They had just a few bags and as Amir drove he asked them questions. They had decided to leave because of the problems on camp. Stories were being told of the trafficking of young women to highest bidders in Saudi for quick marriages. Old men were paying a fee to marry women thirty, forty. fifty or even sixty years younger than themselves and claiming they were helping the family. Many marriages have been annulled because the man just wanted to take the woman’s virginity. The family in the car had a teenage daughter and were desperate to be away from the camp. Teenagers as young as Fourteen were being sold.”

Peter Pollard?s visit to Jordan has provided us with some first hand insights on the situation of the Syrian refugees in Jordan and of the work of our Jordan branch. SCI will use the information to prepare for a Pathfinder mission which is to take place later this month. The people going on this mission will report about concrete options for SCI to set up a project in Jordan with the aim of supporting the refugees and providing aid through volunteering. Two of the participants in the mission are volunteers in active volunteers in CVS – Bulgaria. We will keep you informed through our website.

 

 Posted by Mira at 10:09 Volunteer activities, Volunteer news Comments Off on Visit to Jordan