The past Friday 27th of September CVS-Bulgaria collaborated with the National Agency for Refugees bringing children from the refugee center Ovcha Kupel to Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski to participate in the program Children’s Day One included in the European Scientist Night 2019. The activities aimed to approach science to kids through different activities devised to promote their participation and have fun. 

The representative of the National Agency for Refugees and our ESC volunteer Hugo went to the center to pick up the kids in the afternoon and take them to the university by minibus. Other ESC volunteers were waiting for them to carry them to the class where the activities were going to be done. The first workshop, related to Mathematics, kept the attention of the kids, who were participative answering the questions of the teacher throughout the lesson. 

Afterwards, they played with small robots experimenting remote control of electronic devices. They could also enjoy a snack with the volunteers while start bonding with them through their usual games. 

The evening continued with a lesson, shared with kids from other families and backgrounds, about astronomy. It was a good opportunity to interact with other kids, especially when the teacher started using virtual reality glasses and all children got excited. They could use them to find different stars, planets and constellations. In a different workshop they could also create their own 3D glasses as well as use the microscope. Some of them gave their first glance to the molecular world.

They received their diplomas for participating in the event as well as two booklets and a bracelet. At 6 pm we took them to the center again, sharing a good time and laughs together on the way back home. This was the first activity with refugee kids carried out by our new wave of ESC volunteers and it was an enriching experience for both the kids and our new team. We will soon collaborate again with the National Agency in our pathway towards the promotion of tolerance, inclusion and peace among people.

 Posted by Shirin at 13:36 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Evening of Science 2019
 
The Human Library “Community, Communication, Common Space” 14 September, Tsar Simeonova Gradina, Plovdiv

During our life we often face stereotypes, injustice and prejudices.We are asking ourselves: “Why some live in abudance while others count the coins in their pockets? Why some enjoy freedom while others even don’t have a passport?” But as volunteers we do not only ask questions, we want to do something about it: act and make people aware. This is why we decided to make migration a main topic of the Human Library ” Community, Communication, Common Space” , that our organisation CVS-Bulgaria and UNHCR Bulgaria held on 14 September in Plovdiv during the Night of the Museums. The Human Library was complimented by UNHCR’s interactive exhibition “Identity” , featuring some of the books’ stories.


“Human Library” methodology was not chosen by chance. In our case every refugee became a “book” telling their story to a reader from the local community for 15-20 minutes. Any person passing by in the park could be a “reader” if they were instrested and could spare some time.
We had a total of 10 books, which were10 stories filled with life hardships during war and civil outbreks one one hand. On the other, each book was talking about new beginnings and possitive experiences finding a new home in Bulgaria.
The power of the method is to be in the moment, diving into a story which could not be repeated again with the same sencereness and passion.
There is a belief in the local society that refugees are an asocial group of people, who do not want to be integrated and do not contribute to the host country. Thanks to Human Library “Community, Communication, Common Space” the citizens and guests of Plovdiv(the Capital of Culture 2019) could face the challenges that refugees encounter and understand better their emotions and break different stereotypes. They met people who want to belong, to love and be loved, to work, study and thus be a valuable member of the society.

A “book” about Kurdistan, told by Keihan and Farasat
A Pocketful of Dreams, told by Peter

The readers were firstly intrugued by the exhibition and then timidly approached the librarian desk to subscribe for “reading” a book. Each person has a limit of four books to read so in this way we could reach more people. We also managed to read some books. It was really useful experience since we are starting now to dig deeper into the topic of forced migration. There was no unhappy reader, from what we saw in their eyes, or from the conversations and evaluation forms we had later, we got the feeling that everyone was very happy with the event. We especially remember the comment of one girl “You are doing very valuable work. Thank you”.
This event was very significant for the books as well. They were able to share their worries, get support and empathy, as well as a feeling of belonging, which is very important for the refugees. Our books were very glad to meet interested people in their stories and spend some time with locals. We, as a team of organisers also contributed to their positive experiences, travelling and spending some free time together. We, the volunteers believe we have found some new friends among the books we have recruitred for this event.

Am Djad is a Syrian musician who found his new home in Bulgaria


“Reading” such kind of books helps us recognize the value of positive attitude in our life. We only need to support each other in our community and communicate learning more about each other. We understood, that there are no issues that can’t be solved, and we remembered that the main rule of happy life is to meet all that is ment to come with a smile, believing in the good outcome.

Volunteering Circles project / 2018-2-BG01-KA125-048262/ is co-financed by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union

 Posted by Kathy at 14:12 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Human Library Plovdiv 2019
 

TC “Volunteers management”
11-17 November 2019
Youth Centre, Plovdiv /Bulgaria/

IMPORTANT UPDATE: We are looking for participants only from the following countries: Austria, Czech republic, Italy, North Macedonia and Slovakia. Deadline to apply is October 16th.

After the successful completion of the training courses “Human Rights from A to Z”, “EVS from A to Z” and “Mentoring from A to Z”, we are pleased to publish the call for participants for another training course from the A to Z series. Volunteers Management training course is the first activity within the Volunteering from A to Z project and will take place in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in the period 11th till 17th November 2019. The training will gather 32 representatives of organizationsfrom 13 countries – Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey and Bulgaria.

The specific objectives of the Volunteers Management training course are as follows:

  • raising awareness on the philosophy of volunteering and the opportunity for quality volunteer management
  • providing principal information on volunteer projects, basic documents defining rights, responsibilities and roles of the main stakeholders involved
  • deepening knowledge of the volunteer management and implementation cycle
    and the main tasks during each of the 8 stages
  • sharing practical and useful advices from experience in volunteer management
  • developing practical volunteer management skills, including competencies for
    communication, support, conflict transformation, intercultural communication and learning, motivation, focusing on online volunteer and knowledge management tools
  • sharing good and not so good volunteer management practices and stories, in order to learn ideas for improvement and development of future volunteering projects
  • share good practices and emphasize the importance of learning, its tracking, evaluation, recognition and linking it to future better employment of young people in the labour market
  • establishing a support and sharing group of organizations to assist with management volunteers in future volunteer projects
  • increasing understanding of Erasmus +: Youth and European Solidarity Corps programs and the volunteering opportunities they offer.

Dates and venue of the training course

The training will take place from 11th (afternoon) till 17th November 2019 (5 full working days and two days – 1 arrival – 11th November and 1 departure day – 17th November) in Bulgaria, in the Youth Centre in Plovdiv. The participants need to arrive in the afternoon on 11th November and depart in the afternoon on 17th November 2019.

The participants we are looking for are:

  • project managers, coordinators, supervisors and support staff of volunteering projects (short and longterm projects)
  • Age 18+
  • Willing to learn, develop and share
  • Willing to practise and multiply learning after the training course
  • Able to understand and express themselves in English
  • Are committed to attend for the full duration of the event
  • Are committed to do a follow-up/dissemination activity to be implemented in their country after the training course

Travel costs will be reimbursed after the training acording to the reimbursement procedure explained in the detailed call for participants. Food and accommodation are covered by the project and additional insurance will be also provided.

All participants will receive Youthpass upon successful completion of the training.

Please refer to the detailed  Call for participants Volunteers Management from A to Z and Draft Program if you are interested and meet the set in the call criteria, please apply using the online Application form. If you have any questions, you can reach us at trainings@cvs-bg.org. 

Deadline for applications for participants from Austria, Czech republic, Italy, North Macedonia and Slovakia: 16.10.2019

The final selection will be done by CVS-Bulgaria, giving priority to candidates proposed by the Partner Organisations as long as their application is submitted within the deadline and the candidates profile fits with the participants profile envisaged in this call. Selected participants will be informed by 10.10.2019. All applicants will be informed about the final decision. 

Looking forwatrd to recieve your applications!
CVS-Bulgaria team

The project “Volunteering from A to Z”, 2019-2-BG01-KA105-062812 is supported by Erasmus+ Programme, under KA1, Youth workers mobility

 Posted by Kathy at 17:37 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Training “Volunteers management” is looking for participants from Austria, Czech republic, Italy, North Macedonia and Slovakia
 

August 2019

by Carmen Moreno 

Girls and the wild: only four words but combined in such a way that my curiosity didn’t take long to wake up when reading about this project. Being someone who quickly jumps on the wagon of trying new things, the idea of living in nature for one week while sharing ideas about gender equality with people from different backgrounds sounded like an exciting adventure to me.

I have to confess however that during my flight to Sofia, right after the cabin crew gave the security explanation, I couldn’t help but wondering how come I took the decision of spending half of my holidays in a village with a population of eight people surrounded by people I didn’t know in a country I’ve never been to. It was not easy but I tried to remind myself that the  best experiences in life occur when we step out of our comfort zone.Too close to a clich?, not sure if such thought was helpful at all.

What made my fears go instantly away was meeting the rest of volunteers, coordinators and participants once we arrived at the workcamp. From the very first day, one could feel the good vibes, the willingness and passion we shared to build something together. A light sparkled among us and didn’t stop twinkling during the whole week we spent together in Vlahi.

Not everything was a bed of roses though as we all faced some barriers along the way. We learnt about the importance of respecting each other’s own pace when it comes to trying new things as well as to listen to our needs and be able to communicate them assertively. This experience taught me as well the importance of being flexible to respect different points of view. It was also truly enriching to gain insights around topics such as gender roles, self-love or gender stereotyping from different perspectives during the workshops, especially when we shared personal stories among us.

In my flight back home, when the pilot announced we were ready for takeoff, I had very different thoughts. My head was full of fresh energy and new ideas but there was one feeling standing  above all: I felt very grateful (and proud) for having had the chance to contribute to this wonderful project. Clicheing apart, every accomplishment starts with the courage to try.

August 2019



 Posted by Shirin at 14:32 Volunteer activities Comments Off on At least I tried: a volunteer perspective – workcamp in Bulgaria
 

August 2019

by Ulrike Gansen

Ulli and Lore enjoying the view of Vlahi village

I am in Sofia. I meet two young women from Belgium and Spain for a breakfast together. We are in a really nice caf? with a beautiful, shady backyard, carpets at the wall and the aromatic smell of freshly brewed coffee in the air. How did this happen? What am I doing here? I didn’t know both of them before. And now we are chatting, laughing – and sharing our expectations about our first workcamp. For all of us, it would be our first one. Honestly, we didn’t know what to expect. But we came all to Bulgaria to volunteer in a workcamp on gender equality with people we don’t know in a place we don’t know.

However – we made it to Vlahi, a small, remote village in the Pirin mountains with only 8 human habitants (and some dogs, cats and a lot of goats). For one week, we lived in the Vlahi Nature School – a lovely building made from only natural materials. We shared one big bedroom, used compost toilets and enjoyed refreshing cold showers.

But who is “we”? We were three international volunteers, three coordinators from Bulgaria and Poland and four young women from rural Bulgaria. And although I didn’t know anybody before, I felt quickly almost like home.

During one week, we did workshops on gender roles, gender stereotypes, beauty images and self-love. Although we all were from different countries and cultural backgrounds, we experienced the same expectations and obligations that are connected to being a woman. We hiked, we camped in the wild, we set a fire, laughed and discussed.

Even though the time period we spent together was short, we had language barriers and not everything ended up as planned, the workcamp gave me a lot of valuable insights in the intercultural perspectives of feminism and gender equality. I met wonderful human beings (and animals), challenged myself by adapting a really basic lifestyle, enjoyed the Bulgarian wilderness and night sky and reawakened my love for camping! Thank you really much!

 Posted by Shirin at 14:27 Volunteer activities Comments Off on “Girls and the wild”-Workcamp in Bulgaria
 

It all started with the Gendered realities project and the call for local activities on gender equality topic by SCI.

The team of three girls Bea from Poland, Vili and Shirin from Bulgaria, who already had organized two workcamps on women empowerment in a small village in Lukovit region in Bulgaria (in 2017 and 2018) embraced the idea to continue their doing in the summer of 2019. They went bold, driven by the need to focus on the potential of the local young girls who they met in the previous years. Their idea was to go out in the nature, meet international volunteers with these girls and challenge the gender roles that are still very present in their own communities. The idea was approved and on 17th of August the team, together with three volunteers from Spain, Belgium and Germany met with 4 young girls from the region of Lukovit. They took the bus from Sofia to Kresna from where the most popular local driver with a minivan suitable for the broken road took them to the distant Vlahi village (population of 8 people).

The accommodation was in Vlahi Nature School a building restored only by natural materials and it provided big kitchen area, nice beds, compost toilets, outside showers with water heated by solar panels, amazing mountain views and a sky full of stars. First touch with the nature was already there! The program was intense from the first meeting, because there were only 7 days to spend together. The coordinators team was very lucky to have volunteers who came prepared with workshops on body image, beauty standards, self love, gender re-presentation in school, media, different job opportunities. The non-formal methods of barometer, taking a step forward, drawing, magazines and photos from internet lead to deeper discussions and sharing of personal stories. This has been the most challenging part for everyone because translation from English to Bulgarian and vice versa were needed for everyone to take part and understand each other’s backgrounds.

After two days of intensive workshops it was time to prepare for the wild camping. It started with watching the movie Wild and preparing the list of things needed for the campsite. Then there was time for the quest to find the best spot to set up the camping. During the hike the amazing sights of Pirin mountain appeared even closer and everyone felt excited of what else is coming. When the perfect spot with flat ground and river nearby appeared, the decision has been made, the group went back to the school for a short rest and packing for the camping part of the week. Workshops on how to open a tent were made, together with building a small table from wood and stones. In the morning some of the girls shared they did not feel very comfortable spending the night in tents, so the group had a session for midterm evaluation and everyone shared if their expectations were met so far. The best outcome of this discussion has been the decision to never give up after the first time, to check what and how it can be improved and at least try one more time (camping or in life situations). The rest of the camping experience has been dedicated to outside games for bonding, first aid in case of emergency, starting a fire, cooking, taking care for each others needs and create a comfort in the wilderness.

The last two days were used for an evening of the talents and cultures, some free time hiking to the nearest waterfall and personal and group reflections, together with evaluation of the overall experience. During this time the moto of the workcamp has been decided and it corresponds to the full experience of every person who took part in it, considering the low and the high moments of it.

With pride we share it with you – At least I tried!

This story might not sound to you as a regular workcamp as we know it in SCI, but it was an effort that the three girls took very boldly and executed successfully, mixing different activities and programs that they know. Lessons are learned, eyes have been opened and fingers are crossed for more action on Gender equality and women empowerment in the future!

All this has been accomplished with the financial support of

And with the support of local organisations

 Posted by Shirin at 15:49 Volunteer activities Comments Off on At least I tried! – our workcamp in the wild
 

CVS-Bulgaria is a partner of the project “Magic in the Projects” (2018-3-LV02-KA105-002343). The main project activity was a training course that took place from 7 till 14 July 2019 in Latvia. We are happy to share the impressions of Nina Grueva and Boyan Michev that participated in the training for youth workers “Magic in the Projects”. The training is co-financed by Erasmus+ Program: Youth in Action.

Soon we will share more news about an event to be organized in the autumn on the topic of the training as well as a booklet “Project HOWs BOOK”, with the secrets of the magic in the projects.

Nina’s impressions

I was born and raised with the love for books and literature, and fairytales. And as fairytales are usually about magic, here is a fairytale I want to tell. 

Magic, we are told, comes out of nowhere; out of places you hardly expect it to – rabbits out of a hat, a Christmas tree with a few moves with a wizard’s wand, a cup of tea with just a click of your fingers. In my case, I made a few clicks with the mousepad of my laptop, and not long after I was on my way to the Erasmus + Training course called “Magic in the Projects” in Latvia. This was my first Erasmus+ experience ever, so you could imagine what I felt: a pinch of anxiety, a dip of uncertainty, a sparkle of curiosity whatsoever.

So this plane (or may be two) took me from Sofia, Bulgaria to Puduri, Kegums region in Latvia, where Ginta, Natalie and Liga were expecting 30 people from 10 different European countries, different cultures, different backgrounds, different well, everthing, except our mission – to see what is the secret behind a good project. And so, it began. Day by day, we were pointed to the direction of magic, but we were provoked to find it by ourselves and experience it in our own way, but at the same time all together. By Learning to learn, Learning by doing, Learning to be with others, we found where magic is, felt it and were encouraged to implement it immediately in our small projects during the course. 

So after a hardly summer-ish week in Latvia, rediscovering people and their abilities to create, to inspire and make you believe that you actually can (hug it out), I came back in Bulgaria ready to share what I have learned and discovered, ready to show that magic lies even in the things that you already know how to do, ready to contaminate with the Erasmus+ free spirit, open mind and heart, and meet you with the amazing and full-of-stories to tell people I met there.

I could keep on talking “Latvia and magic” and not finish this text any time soon, but if I have to actually sum it up in a few words, they would most probably be: 

A big THANK YOU to each and every one of you for the amazing time we spent and the unforgettable memories we created together. Thank you Ginta, Natalie and Liga, for giving us a new insight into what a magical project is! Thank you for guiding us through the way of planning, organizing, and making a project as memorable as this one. 

**********************************************************************

Boyan’s story about the project

In the period between 7th and 14th July 2019 the Training course “Magic in the Projects” took place in Latvia. The project was realized due to the financial support of „Erasusm+ Programme“. The organizers from  Baltic Regional Fund  hosted their partners from nine other EU countries in the village of Puduri and the finale was put in the capital – Riga. The participants in the project were an ideal mix of youngsters without any  Erasmus+  experience and youth workers with many successful projects under their belts. The TC aimed the participants, guided by the well-prepared trainers from Latvia and Bulgaria, to exchange their previous experience with the Program, to share good practices and draw conclusions from previous mistakes as well in order to workout a formula of what makes a project true success and… really magical. The trainers had scheduled an intense pool of various activities and NFL methods, including discussions, games, team work, simulations etc., encouraging creativity and inventiveness in solving different cases. The team spirit of the participants was strengthened not without challenges that put them out of the comfort zone in order to test their own firmness, flexibility and potential to work under stress. The hard work throughout the days quickened the communication, sharing and partner networking for future magical projects. The camp fire and drum circle were just an alternative place and tool for team-building. Another demonstration of the balanced and detail-driven program was the special surprise by the organizers for all the participants: the incredible festivity for the senses at the multimedia exhibition  „The Great Modernists – from Monet to Kandinsky“  in Riga’s Old Town.

After a week in Latvia’s countryside, clear air and on Daugava’s banks – an ideal atmosphere for harmony and truly devotion to activities, I can conclude that the recipe for the Magic in the Projects lays within the perfect preparation and dedication, persevering hard work and positive attitude toward all team members, because only then our common efforts make sense and produce good results.

And the training in pictures

Arrival day
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6

The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

 Posted by Natalie at 10:20 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Magic in the Projects
 

Viktoria Petrova

Between 24th May and 4th June three participants represented Bulgaria in the ‘Non- formal tools for immigration youth workers’ seminar facilitated by the D.G.T Association. The project took place in Romania and included people from Romania, Greece, Italy, Hungary, Germany, Turkey and Bulgaria.

The overall aim of the seminar was to help participants to develop their ability to use non- formal methods within their work with migrants. Therefore, after the teambuilding activities, the group benefited from receiving a training on the topic. They had the chance to observe how their new theoretical knowledge applies to real situations in Romania. This was ensured through two main steps. Firstly, the program included guest speakers from UNHCR Romania. The sessions with them were extremely interesting and useful for understanding some of the challenges that occur along the way of the big organizations that work with migrants. Secondly, the facilitators of the seminar organized two field visits of local non-governmental organizations in Bucharest were participants attended presentations and had the chance to ask questions. This was once again useful for seeing the current situation from different angles.

As the seminar was advancing, participants were divided into groups and were expected to develop their own ideas of non- formal workshop. This process included brainstorming, planning and eventually presenting those workshops within the whole group. The delivered workshops included activities such as Human Book, Photo Library and different educational activities. This process consisted of a lot of fun, teamwork and constructive feedback.

Least but not last, alongside the serious work, the participants enjoyed a lot of group activities. The most memorable ones include the daytrip to Brasov, as well as, the cultural nights which allowed everyone to familiarize themselves with the cultures and… the food of all the participating countries. Other very interesting activities were preparing a barbeque for the whole group and a wine-tasting session, which everyone found very impressive. Overall, the seminar that took place in Romania resulted in learning a lot, developing workshop ideas and creating some amazing memories and friendships.

 Posted by Shirin at 11:10 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Training on migration in Romania
 

Kei Morikawa

Добър ден! I am Kei Morikawa from Japan. I would like to share a great experience in Romania.

 I joined a training named “Non-Formal Tools for Immigration Youth Workers” at Casa Seciu in Prahova in Romania, from 24th of May to 4th of June. I was one of three participants from Bulgaria, sent by CVS – Bulgaria. There were also participants from Turkey, Germany, Hungary, Greece, Italy and Romania.

 The aim of this training organized by Romanian Youth organization D.G.T. (Do Great Things) was to provide participants with professional competences regarding the topics of migrants/refugees, social inclusion and cultural dialog. This is also a reason why I participated the training. I wanted to get more knowledge and skills to work with immigrants and refugee because I used to a member of a volunteer program “The refugee Project” organized by two NGOs including CVS – Bulgaria and had worked with refugees, especially children. 

 In the 10 days, we were always together and have worked on many topics hard. I introduce some activities.

 First, before each activity, we started with a game as energizer, distributing potatoes, imitating dancing, just admiring someone… they might not have nothing to do with this topic but I think we were able to focus on following main activities more thanks to these energizers. They are also useful to get people to get closer, especially for those who are from different cultures. 

 Secondly, we discussed controversial issues which Rodica Novac, one of our trainers, gave us. The one was “how should we manage a Mosque which has been built by immigrants and caused some problems”. The other was about an amendment of the law regarding wearing a helmet during ride on a bicycle, taking account of people who wear Turban because of their religion. We worked on these discussions by being given each role such as citizen, immigrants, politician and chairman. They were lively and we conducted each role. On the other hand, I realized again how difficult dealing with integration is. While we have to protect rights of minorities, we also need to respect local rules and cultures. Because there are different perspectives on one thing, if we took one, we would have problems on the others. Anyway, it is important to think things from different views.

 Next, we were able to hear from experts. We visited two NGOs: ARCA, helping refugees with the integration to their societies and AIDRom, offering refugees accommodations.

We also invited representatives from UNHCR Romania. We learned there are abuse against human rights, discriminations and violents. I still remember words from a representative. What she said is “We have no obligation to help refugees but we have moral, humanity, responsibility, value..” Yes, exactly we can’t force anyone to help them but we all came in Romania to learn the way to help them. I felt something like human nature and what mean to be a person from her words.

Lastly, we finished the training with testing workshops. First, we suggested as many workshops as possible by brainstorming. Afterwards, we narrowed them down to 6. We made groups, tested each workshop and evaluated. “Photo Voice workshop” was very interesting for me. We took photos which express what integration means.

I especially learned two things through this seminar.

 One is about merits of non-formal tool and education. I wouldn’t say which is the better between formal and non-formal but make sure non-formal method gives people positiveness and subjectivity to think more. I think this is an important attitude on integration. As I said, it also makes it easier to get along with people. When you introduce yourself, you would probably say your name, nationality, age, profession and so on. However, what we did was that we introduced each name and one funny movement and tried to memorize them first. This activity generated a very good atmosphere, even though we didn’t know each other much at that time. I felt like we already build good relationships.  I think that’s how we can get rid of some barriers when you meet anyone you don’t know and make a good mood when we talk more afterwards.

 The other thing is that I was impressed how EU is trying to tackle big issues about refugee and immigration as a group. As you know EU has a huge economical power. This seminar was funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union so I didn’t pay anything for joining this training. You can find more programs in different fields all over Europa from Erasmus+. That’s why Experts can provide more chances with people and we can join them even for free. Furthermore, as I experienced, we are able to meet many nationalities and exchange new knowledge through projects of Erasmus+. I think this is quite important, especially for this issues, because we accept people from different cultures. It would make it easier to find solutions. EU is doing in the way. On the other hand, the situation in Japan looks far from that so I think we have many things to learn from EU.

 Other than these activities, we did many activities: role play of what happen at border, cultural night, NGO fair, exploring a nice town Brasov, dairy evaluation …

 Thank CVS – Bulgaria and D.G.T for giving me a great opportunity and thank all participants for many memories. I could not ask for more!!!

 Posted by Shirin at 10:52 Volunteer activities Comments Off on A Great experience in Romania
 

Elitsa Bozhkova

The seminar I took part in “Non-Formal Tools for Immigration Youth Workers” was held in Romania, at Casa Seciu in Prahova county, near Ploiesti from May 24 till June 4, 2019. We were three participants from Bulgaria, representing CVS-Bulgaria. There were also participants representing Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Turkey and the host country – Romania.

The seminar was very well-organized with role-plays, debates and different tools of non-formal education so that to get a better idea of the migrants’ situation and try to walk in their shoes. Gradually we got introduced to specific terms and we made presentations about the migrant situation in our own countries in order to get a better understanding of our realities as well. Apart from the organizers from the Romanian Youth organization D.G.T. (Do Great Things), there was an invited expert in immigration, Rodica Novac, who led us most of the time introducing us to the topic and taking part with us in the activities, including the energizers we enjoyed a lot.  There was also a day session with invited experts from UNHCR Romania who gave practical input to the seminar with concrete examples from their work.

Among the most useful activities, from my point of view, was the study trip to two NGOs in Bucharest where we saw into practice what has been talked about and could compare it to our own countries.  I admired the initiative at ARCA where they are trying to provide refugees with job opportunities. There was a database that, by using google translator, was giving access to job offers in various languages so that to make the offers easy to reach by foreigners. By getting work chances refugees can integrate to society and feel useful and better accepted. The AIDRom supports families by providing them with accommodation facilities and helps the better integration of children to school. The environment was extremely hospitable so that to make them feel at home.  

Apart from the study visits we had a secret trip to Brasov, a town in Transylvania where we had the chance to see a place, inhabited initially by Germans from Saxony and how it developed throughout time which was very useful for our purpose and the topic of immigration. The organizers had prepared a list of places of interest to discover so that to get to know the place better. We also tried some traditional food. Coming to this point, I would like to underline there were three cultural nights during the seminar as there were seven participating countries so that to get better idea of the typical food, customs, information and traditional dances of each country. Concerning the location of the event, Casa Seciu is in the countryside on the Wine Route and the landscape was very beautiful with vineyards and a nice view from the hills towards Ploiesti. The accommodation was in double or triple en-suite rooms and an apartment with two single and two double rooms with shared bathroom. The place is used for weddings and different celebrations and we had a very quiet and relaxing atmosphere for our activities with outdoor spaces where we sometimes had lunch or dinner, apart from the coffee breaks and a barbecue and wine testing we enjoyed a lot.

The last part of the seminar was dedicated to the production of workshops according to our interests in order to come out with methods for migrants’ integration. We chose six topics which we developed and tested. Among those I enjoyed most were the topics related to art and education. The ones about finding a job – writing a motivation letter and tips for a successful interview were very useful too.

Last but not least I would like to thank the organizers: Raul Dragan, Andrei Daicer and Adrian Cocardan as well as all the participants who made this experience unforgettable!

 Posted by Shirin at 10:06 Volunteer activities Comments Off on An Unforgettable Experience