We are pleased to announce a series of 4 workshops for anyone interested in understanding and applying the Montessori principles in their classroom!

13th of April

The first workshop will focus on Maths. You will be introduced to some of the Montessori practical life and sensorial activities which give indirect preparations for math. Then, we will continue with some math materials that you can easily make and use in your classroom. Montessori uses concrete materials to introduce abstract concepts and give a sequential understanding of mathematical concepts.

11th of May

The second workshop will be on Science. In this workshop, you will be able to select themes for your lessons from these different disciplines : astronomy, botany, chemistry, physics, and zoology and build a plan around them with some Montessori inspired activities that you can find online. 

15th of June

The third workshop will be on Geography. During this workshop, you will be introduced to some Montessori inspired activities. The Montessori Geography curriculum is two-fold: physical and cultural geography. Physical geography discusses the formation of the universe, the creation of the earth, and all its physical properties. Cultural geography is the study of human society and culture.

13th of July

The forth workshop will be on Language. During this workshop, we will see that literacy and language should be incorporated in all aspects of the classroom. Teaching language as a separate subject could make it harder for the children to retain. We will see how vocabulary development and spelling practice is built into the whole curriculum.

Each session will last 4 hours , from 1pm to 5 pm, and will be carried out in English.

Each group will be of maximum 15 attendees.

The trainings will be held at the CVS-Bulgaria office in ul. “Tsaribrodska” 59. 

The workshops will be presented by Stephanie. She has a Master in Education from The Open University and is Montessori trained. She is especially interested in teaching children with learning difficulties. She worked as a Montessori teacher and later as a directress in England, China, Laos and Portugal. She volunteered with refugees for one year teaching Maths and Science to children, she also worked for Caritas in Ready for School with Roma kids. She is now volunteering in a puppy shelter in Sofia.

Enroll for the workshops here.

 Posted by Shirin at 21:10 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Workshops on Montessori principles
 

Background of the project

“Non-formal tools for immigration youth workers” is a 10 days seminar that will take place in Bolde?ti-Sc?eni, Romania, from 24th of May to 4th of June.

The seminar will bring together participants from Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Turkey.

The project will focus in providing to the participants knowledge and skills to supporting better the integration of the immigrants and refugees in their own countries.

“Non-formal tools for immigration youth workers” is organised by D.G.T. association and here you can read the detailed information.

Participant’s profile

All the participants for this project must meet the following criteria.

– Be 18 years old or older

– Have a high interest in social integration of immigrants/refugees

– Be able to work and communicate easily in English

We have preference for youth workers who are involved with social educational and cultural voluntary activities and some experience with deal with immigrants/refugees.

Financial conditions

All essential costs of the program in Romania (including food, travel costs, accommodation and training) will be covered through a project grant by Erasmus+.

Max travel cost for Bulgaria is 180€ and we recommend teh Bulgarian participants to use eco friendly transport, e.g. a bus.

Application

If you think this opportunity is for you, please click the link below, fill in the application form and press submit.

Deadline for applying is 04.04.2019A

Contact

If you have any questions regarding the project and your application, don’t hesitate to contact us at trainings@cvs-bg.org.

We are looking forward to receive your application!

 Posted by Shirin at 15:14 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Training “Non-formal tools for immigration youth workers”
 

In the last 10 years some more wonderful people are included in the International Sofia Film Festival. These are the volunteers from CVS – Bulgaria! and at this anniversary year they are 120 people 🙂

What does it mean to be in the Volunteer Circle? For all – the team of the festival and CVS – Bulgaria (www.cvs-bg.org), it is a pleasure, continuity and eagerness to learn in an informal and creative environment. Learning by watching quality movies. Learning among like minded people. Learning from people with different backgrounds. Learning how a big and important event is organised and what is needed to accomplish it with style, good vibes and respectfully with thought to others. Volunteering is very responsible and satisfying task.

Similar are the activities and the values ??of CVS – Bulgaria and beyond the festival. They spread the idea of ??peace, understanding and solidarity among people. They share a desire for equal human rights and work on achieving it by organizing trainings, sending volunteers abroad, welcoming volunteers from other countries in Bulgaria, both long-term and short-term. The palette of the topics is full of variety and everyone can get involved!

This year there is another great connection between the values ??of CVS – Bulgaria and the International Sofia Film Festival, namely the screenings included in the specific categories for “Human Rights” and “Cinema and Sex”. These are the focus topics in recent years, on which the Association is working tirelessly on local and international level.

The Migration topic is represented in “The Refugee Project” where weekly volunteers hold workshops with children and adults at the reception centers in Ovcha Kupel, Voenna Rampa and Vrazhdebna. Organize and accompany groups for excursions in the city center of Sofia and in the country. They make voluntary efforts to respect the dignity of people in need and at the same time to learn from each other about useful and practical things. The project team is currently working on developing a platform to deconstruct hate speech and unreliable rumors about refugees and migrants.

The issue of equal rights, no matter of gender, and in particular working on empowering women in rural areas, is the other big topic that CVS – Bulgaria is paying attention in the last two years. The idea of ??a international volunteer camp in a small village in the municipality of Lukovit, where young women and girls live in a highly patriarchal society, comes from one volunteer. So with a small budget and a great heart, together they manage to develop something awesome and to discover the potential of women in the village; show young girls how to seek lifelong learning opportunities and develop and change the environment in which they live in.

In addition this year the volunteers are not only the face of the festival, but they have the chance to recommend a movie they liked. We share it with you in order to help you choose amongst the rich program of quality films.

Volunteering is a teamwork and as mentioned above, everyone can get involved. For this, the volunteers with intellectual challenges from the Maria’s World Foundation have been enthusiastically applying for the 4th consecutive year and are greeting you with a smile in front of the cinemas. Together with them we close the circle of volunteer diversity in this year’s International Sofia Film Festival!

With CVS – Bulgaria, every idea from ??a spark can become a big and important project! This is how we started 10 years ago and swirled an incredibly colourful hurricane between volunteering and cinema, new friendships, common values, positive mood and happiness!

 Posted by Shirin at 15:35 Volunteer activities Comments Off on VOLUNTEERING AND CINEMA
 

1st-7th June 2019 in Vienna, Austria

Background of the project

“Peace on the Streets” is a 7-day training that will take place in Vienna from 1st to 7th of June 2019. The training will bring together 30 participants from 18 countries in Europe (Austria, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Poland, UK, Hungary, Spain, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Belgium, Turkey, Serbia, France and Slovenia), three of them facilitating the training. The project will focus on giving youth workers, staff from volunteering organisations and peace activists the tools and knowledge to organise campaigns and street actions around peace and non-violence. “Peace on the Streets” is organized by the Austrian branch of the international peace organisation Service Civil International.

During the training, the participants will get to know best practices of campaigns and street actions around peace and non-violence, both from within their organisations and networks, from historic figures such as Bertha von Suttner and from more recent developments in areas such as guerilla communication and online campaigning. They will get the tools and knowledge to organize these themselves, to apply them to their own local contexts and to effectively reach and involve youth in these projects.

A big part of the project will be the exchange between different networks working towards a culture of peace and non-violence. The participating organisations are connected to networks such as SCI, War Resisters International, IFOR, Alliance, ICYE and CCIVS. Apart from the campaigns and street actions to be implemented after the training, the strongest outcome will be a toolkit targeted towards gathering tools, best practices and knowledge around campaigns and street actions for youth workers and peace activists. A street action around a current relevant topic concerning peace and non-violence is planned as part of the project in Vienna. The toolkit and the project as a whole try to strengthen the notion that peace activism is young, creative, professional, cool, relevant and interesting to look at.

Participant’s profile

The participants will be trainers, project and volunteering camp coordinators, educators, youth workers or peace activists.

All participants will be expected and stimulated to contribute to the activities and discussions. They are very welcome and invited to come up with their own ideas and present some methods or workshops they are experienced in and they want to share.

All participants selected for this project must meet the following criteria

  • be 18 years old or older
  • have a high interest in campaigning and peace activism
  • be active in their sending organization
  • be able to work in English
  • be interested in the training topics and have a strong motivation to act as a multiplier
  • commit to implement the learned knowledge and skills in practice back home
  • commit to actively participate from the beginning to the end of the training

We explicitly encourage participants of all genders, sexual orientations and ethnic backgrounds to apply.

Please note that there will be opportunities to visit the Vienna, but that this is not a “getting to know the city” project. On some days, the training also foresees evening sessions.

Financial conditions of participation

All essential costs of the program in Vienna (including food, travel costs, accommodation and training) will be covered by SCI Austria through a project grant by Erasmus+.

Application

Please download and fill in the application form and sent it to CVS-Bulgaria at trainings@cvs-bg.org .
Deadline for applying is 25.03.2019.
The accepted participants will later receive a detailed infosheet (incl. info on how to get to the venue, how to book your travels, more info about the agenda of the project).

Contact

If you have any questions regarding the project and your application, don’t hesitate to contact us at .

We are looking forward to your application 🙂

 Posted by Shirin at 10:39 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Training course “Peace on the Streets”
 

Let’s explore together Volunteering from A to Z


In 2015 CVS-Bulgaria started a chain of projects following the philosophy of exploring a topic from A to Z. So far we have developed and successfully implemented the following projects: EVS from A to Z,  Mentoring from A to Z and Human Rights from A to Z and would like to continue the A to Z brand.

Based on the positive experience and the further need of learning, sharing best practices and developing our volunteering projects, we are planning to apply for a new project  – Volunteering from A to Z for the first Round of the Erasmus+ programme, the deadline 5th February 2019.The project will be a further step in organizing and implementing volunteering projects of high quality by developing and improving the competences of project managers, coordinators, supervisors and support staff. The projects will consist of two events:

  1. Project Management Seminar – aiming at building up competences of the participants on initiating, implementing, evaluating and enhancing follow-up phase of Volunteering projects – June/July 2019
  2. Volunteer Management Training – aiming at exploring the volunteer management cycle and improving competences for organizing successful and meaningful learning and service experiences of the volunteers, organizations and local communities – October/November 2019

We are looking for partner organizations, with interest in the topic of volunteering, from the programme countries, willing to be actively participating and involved during the whole project and send 2-3 participants to both events (the seminar and the training course). Please have a look at the description of the training course and if interested, get back to us as soon as possible (mentioning how many participants you can send for each activity) and send the mandate and PIF by latest 30th January to trainings@cvs-bg.org

More infromation you can find in the detailed Call for partners. Below are the documents we would like to recieve:

We will need the original mandate letter as well, to be sent to:

CVS-Bulgaira, P.O. Box 140, 1113 Sofia, Bulgaria

For any further questions, please contact us at trainings@cvs-bg.org

Thank you in advance,

CVS-Bulgaria team

 Posted by Kathy at 16:42 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Project “Volunteering from A to Z” – Call for partners
 

A story from Stela Koycheva

‘’Share, Experience, Get Inspired!” is not only the name of the seminar I attended this October but also the most valuable lesson that I learned during my stay there. It is still in my heart almost a month later and I will cherish and keep it for long time. Mainly because during my stay there it proved to be true, it changed who I am and will help in the future.

Use inspirational places in the nature

Use inspirational places in the nature

These simple words convey deeper meaning that depicts the essence of being a trainer, educator, youth worker or generally a good positive person. Through opening yourself to share, experience you get inspired and this leads to changes- both internal in yourself and external. Aren’t we all as educators and people working in the social sector striving for change?

Roads and intersections

Roads and intersections

I met the most wonderful group of individuals- each of them had exciting stories and is doing impressive and meaningful work . We came in as strangers and left as friends as each of us helped one other to answer some questions, gain confidence, find insight or just have a productive time in an encouraging safe space. We learned a lot in terms of methods and practical skills. However, the most precious gift we got was the gift of sharing of experience, getting inspired and spread the positive energy all around.

Stay SEGI forever!

 
 

LogosBeneficairesErasmusLEFT_BG-1 The project “Share, Experience, Get Inspired! – Enjoy the diversity of non-formal learning tools” is a Youth workers’ mobility project (Nr. 2018-2-BE05-KA105-002479) and is co-funded by Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

 
 
 

 Posted by Shirin at 17:42 Volunteer activities Comments Off on An Inspired Adventure in Belgium
 

Bulgaria is one of the 26 Member States of the EU (without Ireland and the United Kingdom), which are bound by the Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals. Article 8 (6) of the Directive introduces an obligation for all member states to create an effective system for forced return monitoring.

Closing event

As a contribution to the fulfilment of this obligation for Bulgaria, on 19th December 2018 the Center for the Study of Democracy and CVS-Bulgaria organized a final expert meeting, part of a national initiative for developing and implementing unified standards for forced return monitoring, realized with the financial support of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, co-financed by the European Union.

During the meeting, the Center for the Study of Democracy presented a guidebook with standards for forced return monitoring in Bulgaria. The guidebook was developed based on an exhaustive desk research on European and national regulations in the field, expert interviews and a visit for exchange of experience and good practices in Vienna, Austria. The standards were then put to practice by experts from CVS-Bulgaria and the Center for the Study of Democracy, who took part as monitors in forced return operations, executed by the Migration Directorate of the Ministry of Interior in Bulgaria. Following their practical testing and using the experience gathered from the field work, the standards were finalized and presented for discussion in front of specialists in the field of migration and forced return. Mr. Hristo Atanasov, Chief Expert in the National Preventive Mechanism and Fundamental Rights and Freedoms Directorate within the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria joined the first part of the event by presenting the experience of the Ombudsman institution in the field.

Mila Mancheva, Katerina Stoyanova and Hristo Atanasov

In the second part of the meeting recommendations were made and discussed on how to develop the regulatory framework as well as how to set up a national mechanism for forced return monitoring in Bulgaria. The event was attended by participants from 3 Directorates within the Ministry of Interior – Migration, International Projects and European Union and international cooperation, the National Preventive Mechanism and basic human rights and freedoms Directorate within the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, UNHCR, Foundation for access to rights – FAR, Center for legal aid “Voice in Bulgaria”, who participated actively in the discussion.

Presentation of Mila Mancheva, Director, Sociological program, Centre for the Study of Democracy (only in Bulgarian, Adobe PDF, 661 KB)

Presentation of Liliya Dragoeva, Analyst, Sociological program, Centre for the Study of Democracy (only in Bulgarian, Adobe PDF, 493 KB)

Information brochure about the framework of forced return monitoring (only in Bulgarian, Adobe PDF, 542 KB)

Information brochure for escorts in Bulgaria (only in Bulgarian, Adobe PDF, 508 KB)

Information brochure for returnees (only in Bulgarian, Adobe PDF, 546 KB)

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

 Posted by Shirin at 13:22 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Unified Standards for Forced Return Monitoring in Bulgaria
 

Judytha Kuc, Poland

Judyta, Valentina, Sofia and Ioannis enjoying the first evening of the training

Judyta, Valnetina, Sofia and Ioannis enjoying the first evening of the training


“First of all I need to say, that I feel grateful from A to Z that I could participate in the training prepared by CVS-Bulgaria. It gives me the positive creeps when I think about all of this beautiful and inspiring young activists, who came to Sofia from more than 12 countries of the world to gain the knowledge with.
It was the first training like this in my whole life.
During 6 days of the training I explored a lot about Human Rights, Migration, Refugees, NGOs, problem of racism and hate speech.
In short words, I gained lots of knowledge passed on by very well educated and inspiring people, and what’s more – in the wonderful atmosphere.
It was like a big injunction which gave me lots of new skills, ideas and energy to work for the peace in the world.
I fell in love with SCI, CVS – Bulgaria and I would love to volunteer with you and fight for the peace in the world. I understood that hope is not the strategy. This is time to be active.
I am ready to lead the workshops in my local communities and I do hope that one day I will become an inspiration for someone like CVS-Bulgaria become one for me.
Thank you from A to Z to Kat, Nat, Shirin and all the participants. You will stay in my mind forever. ”

Laura Gottlob, Germany

Laura and Lemonia signing for the study visits

Laura and Lemonia signing for the study visits

Human Rights from A to Z was my first training course with international people and I’m impressed how much one week can extend not only my personal point of view, but also improve my professional skills.
social, linguistic and communication skills are important pillars in my work as a pedagogue. I won’t only include the knowledge about Human Rights and forced migration in my daily work, I will also use the ability to understand different cultures and individuals, which can only be trained in an exchange with others for example in this training course. I established contacts from different professions which extended my network and also my personal horizon. Furthermore I got the chance to consider more opinions in my future decisions.
Working and also living with people for a week is an intense time. You get to know each other pretty well in a short amount of time. This provides a well organized program and interested people.
During this course I had both. The organizers made a facility full of different people a home for one week. They gave us methods and impulses which we can use for ourselves. At the same time we were always motivated to share and talk. One consequence was that we became friends quickly and the contacts we established will stay for sure.
We are all sharing somehow the same interests and came together. This is a fact that I will search in other courses. We are different, so we can exchange, but we are all coming for quiet the same topic. We are motivated to change something and we believe that a single voice matters.
Getting in contact with ambitious and interested people gave me more motivation in my future profession, even changed my point of view in certain topics. These exchange should be obligatory for any social field and profession, because this is not a skill you can teach behind a desk.
CVS-Bulgaria did a great job. They organized this course well, while staying flexibel about our needs. The daily evaluation gave us the space to include our opinions during the week and the variation of methods was interesting and motivational, so we were concentrated even at the end of the day. After this course I learned new methods that I can use for myself in the future.
I can highly recommend CVS-Bulgaria as a great organizer and hope to work with them one day again. This course is a great example for giving young people room for sharing and development. Also I am very thankful for the opportunity of meeting people with different backgrounds in this contexts. I will definitely apply for more projects.
All in all after gaining kilos and knowledge I came back to my normal life, job etc. and still hear the ‚ciao Bella‘ in my head in the morning and use my mug for my daily tea. These little things will stay and made me smile every day.
Thanks Kat, Nat and Shirin. You’re amazing!

Ines Vasquez, Portugal

Ines promoting the training logo

Ines promoting the training logo

My body landed yesterday in Lisbon but I still have my head in Sofia. To bring these two dimensions of my being together, I wrote my thoughts on the training:
It is difficult to break physical boundaries as mental barriers.
This was the major objective achieved in this training course, which was able to bring together pertinent themes to understand the urgent issue of refugees and forced migration under the lens of human rights, and how 30 young people can be active in these issues.
This was not my first training but it was one of the best in terms of results and approaches to the subject. For those who have worked within the area of human rights, knows that it is not an easy subject to make it understandable, since there is still a lot of lack of reflection on how a humanitarian crisis (and consequently of values) affects us and those who are all around us.
In this sense, the approach that was chosen during the course was to seek the creativity allied to concrete actions (such as the human library and field visits) to give shape to new ideas that can be realized in my local context and gave me the opportunity to expand knowledge and experiences. It is important to emphasize that in order to understand how human rights are applied in concrete fields, we must learn and understand legal processes, entities and terms. Once again, this course has the ability to synthesize so that anyone has an understanding and framework of what is done at a European level. This training has won a lot due the generous sharing of all the people, which for me was the great value and that I intend to apply in future projects. we all have to learn and we also have a lot to give. This was also possible due to the quality of the mentoring that took place during the process from start to finish and also the work done by all the groups before going to training.I am deeply grateful to all the people and the organization and to the place that received us. Obrigada CVS-Bulgaria, Mers? Kat, Nat, and Shirin and I hope I can share with the same passion what I learned and bring it to Portugal.

Mila Gencheva, Bulgaria

Mila participating actively in the get to know each other game with Leslie, Kristina, Ines and Ruben

Mila participating actively in the get to know each other game with Leslie, Kristina, Ines and Ruben


‘Human Rights from A to Z’ was my first training course on the topic, and because it was such an amazing experience, it won’t be my last.
Among others, here are my highlights of the seven days:
1. The training – the thorough selection of various topics – Human rights, forced migration, insights of the situation throughout Europe and in Bulgaria itself, ways to make a difference and change how society sees refugees – have given us the chance to acquire knowledge of the broader picture and come up with specific steps towards a better understanding of how to be humans again. The Human Library experience was one of a kind and sets an example how learning should be viewed as a process that reaches beyond the confines of a classroom.
2. Organization and trainers – the lecturers in the course were immaculate, both as trainers and as mediators during the open discussions. The balance between ready-made information and knowledge that derived from just talking to people was perfect.
3. Venue – I cannot imagine a better setting for the course. Accomodation, training hall, the proximity of the city- it all had an impact on the smooth flow the course had as a whole.
4. People – last but not least, meeting great like-minded people from all around, well the Globe in fact, was a truly inspiring experience. The learning process went on not only in the hall, but at lunchtime, over a beer at the campfire, while going to bed still sleepily sharing stories with the roommates.
For all of the above, and still some more, thank you all 🙂 Kat, Nat and Shirin, you are an amazing team and we were lucky to be part of this.

Lemonia Lange, Austria

Lamonia and Olivia reading a book at Human library event:Humans from A to Z Photo credit: Bewar Mossa

Lamonia and Olivia reading a book at Human library event:Humans from A to Z
Photo credit: Bewar Mossa

I recently participated in the Eramus+ training course „Human Rights from A to Z“. Right from the beginning, when I first read about the call for participants, I immediately felt very enthusiastic and motivated to take part in this seminar. The reason for this is that I always felt that Human Rights are one of the most essential and valuable achievements our global society has created so far. However, I am convinced, that there is much greater potential to share and promote those rights within our communities, but I simply didn’t know where to start. I therefore felt very grateful, when I finally got accepted for the training course.

The course took place in the Red Cross training center near Sofia in Bulgaria and lasted for 6 days in total. It was hosted and organized by CVS Bulgaria. I have never participated in such a training course before. I therefore arrived like a blank page, excited for what to come. Already after a short time, when all the other 33 participants from different European countries one after another arrived, I felt the friendly and open-minded atmosphere right away.

The first two sessions were dedicated to get to know each other. Kat, Nat and Shirin, the organizers of the event, prepared everything with a lovingly and thoughtfully talent. The following two days we mainly concentrated on a theoretical elaboration on the topic of Human Rights. We further discussed the meaning of stereotypes and prejudices, the Dublin agreement, hate speech, islamophobia, other forms of discrimination and we also analyzed specific cases of Human Rights violations. We then embedded our acquired insights into the topic of forced migration in Bulgaria. In this context, we looked at the political framework and developed a deeper insight of what asylum seekers have to go threw. Thanks to the two guest speakers from the Red Cross and UNHCR, which kindly shared their knowledge with us, we received a more accurate impression based on practical examples and specific figures.

In a further session we presented the situations of refugees and asylum seekers of our countries of origin. Being originally from Germany, I knew surprisingly little about the refugee situation in other European countries. For me, this was therefore one of the most interesting parts of the seminar.

On another day, we had the great possibility to visit several local and international NGO’s. During these field visits, we were able to choose between a wide range of organizations, which surely wasn’t easy since they apparently are all doing a very meaningful job. The first NGO I visited was the “Center for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria”. The members of this organization provided us with an overview of their work, which is mainly dedicated to promote the rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrant through legal aid and advocacy as well as awareness raising campaigns on the topics of asylum, migration and integration. We later visited the “St. Anna Center for Refugee and Migrant Integration”, which is part of Caritas Sofia. We there achieved an insight on the different activities on integration assistance. We also had the great chance to shortly attend in a language course, in which we learned how to present ourselves in Bulgarian. What I found very interesting in this context is, that the teachers use the so-called “Suggestopedia Method”, a pedagogical concept which I’ve never heard of but which seems to have high potential.

I also gained a variety of practical skills, including for example non-formal education methods or the general framework and necessary considerations for implementing a Human Library, which I am planning to start soon in Vienna together with the team of my sending organization SCI Austria.

I am highly convinced that this was just the beginning. It felt like a real blessing to meet so many people from different countries, who share the relevance of the topic and the motivation for change. Considering the fact that we constantly continued our discussions on the topics of Human Rights and forced migration within the several breaks we had, perfectly proves, that the members of our group were all like-minded people who are very engaged within this relevant topic. I must confess that I sometimes feel devastated within my studies of International Development. Every day I am reading about unpleasant issues, global inequalities, politics and societies dangerously drifting to the radical-right as well as dramatic cases of Human Rights violations. And the majority doesn’t seem to care. This seminar, however, has shown me, that there are many ambitious people who – with their heart and their soul – are eager and motivated to make a difference and to take on new challenges to attain a positive impact, which our world needs so urgently.

Together we can make it!

I am looking forward to participating in many more meaningful seminars, just like I am trying my best to spread my gained insights also within my community in Vienna. Thanks again Shirin, Nat und Kat, for making this unique experience to one I will never forget.

Leslie NG Shuk Shan, United Kingdom

Leslie and the reminder to herself :-)

Leslie and the reminder to herself 🙂


My fellow participants love the human library, so do I. Yet, for me, it was not merely the event on 4/11 in Sofia, but the whole training itself. The organisers/trainers (CVS-Bulgaria, Nat, Kat and Shirin) and the other 31 participants from 12 countries are all storytellers who have inspired me with their experience, knowledge, expertise and insights. Listening to them was such a delight. A few shared with me their personal experience as migrants; some told me about their aspiration to make the world a better place; and all impressed me with their passion in voluntary work. The issues of human rights and forced migration are philosophical, political and at times controversial, intertwining social, cultural, legal and economic factors. Our amazing trainers managed to articulate the key terminology and facilitate discussion among us, so that we could grasp the gist of the topics. Through case studies, group discussion, guest talk and field visits, we explored different contexts of human rights/forced migration and came up with ideas and projects to tackle the issues. I have always struggled to put what I have learnt at school into practice. This down-to-earth training was perfectly organised to fill the gap of theories and actual work. Furthermore, Nat and Kat have demonstrated the desirable qualities of a good trainer. They are patient, passionate and empathetic. I see them as my role models and I hope I could also be an inspiring trainer when I conduct my own workshops or trainings.

I was especially enlightened by the field visits to local and international NGOs in Bulgaria. In the morning of Day 5 (5/11), some of us visited the Centre for Legal Aid “Voice in Bulgaria”, an NGO providing general and legal aid and advice to asylum seekers and refugees. I learnt that the “success rate” in litigation is low and advocacy is difficult, thanks to hate speech, state-controlled media and a right-wing government. I could sense the frustration in her voice but she also struck me as a determined individual with a never-give-up attitude. Another volunteer said to us, “You don’t need to be a big NGO to make a difference.” It was definitely an encouragement for me. Whenever people tell me “you have to be the change you want to be”, I hesitate how. Who do I think I am? Yet, the devoted volunteers of this NGO and all my fellow participants have motivated me to get out of my comfort zone. Start small, think clearly, network with like-minded people and act. It’s not easy to walk alone, but as many of my fellows have noted, together we can make a difference.

On the last day of the training, we were asked to pick a picture or two that described our feelings. I picked “The problem does not resolve itself” as a reminder for myself. I can still remember on the first night I landed in Sofia, before the training started, I was asked, “how do you end up here?” It does not matter how I ended up in the lovely campsite of Dolni Lozen, but how I will “end up” with the knowledge and experience of this training.

The project “Human Rights from A to Z”, 2018-2-BG01-KA105-048219 is supported by Erasmus+, under KA1, Youth workers mobility
Screen Shot 2018-08-16 at 18.25.37Print
 

 

 

 

 Posted by Shirin at 14:28 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Letters from the participants in training course Human Rights from A to Z
 

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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
 

The project

Five countries (Portugal, Bulgaria, Romania, Tunisia and Lebanon), ten non-profit organizations (Rota Jovem, ALEM, GAT, CVS, Dominou, Association de Progression de Jeunes Tunisiens and MAP) and eight volunteers are involved in the project “Social Bond”.

It is an EVS project focused on the promotion of social inclusion in the educational and health fields and it consists in a long-term EVS (12 months, from October 2018 to September 2019) with a booklet about good practices to work for social inclusion as a main result of the project.

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Volunteers tasks and how to apply

The volunteer will be working in the framework of the Refugee Project. In 2010 we started a very ambitious initiative – to create a space where people could meet people regardless of their background and current vulnerable situation. The Refugee project is a space where thousands of volunteers every year open their hearts to asylum seekers in Bulgaria and give them a warm welcome through activities and quality spent time together. The project is managed by volunteer coordinators from CVS-Bulgaria and Caritas Sofia. The project gathers local volunteers who organize variety of lessons and workshops for the asylum seekers and refugees in the main refugee reception centers in Sofia – Ovcha Kupel, Voenna Rampa and Vrazhdebna, as well as excursions and different events. Every year EVS volunteers join this team and make a difference by being part of this crazy, vibrant and hardworking crew. The main activities within the project can be seen in our brochure.

If we sparkled your interest and you would like to find more about this position, please check the detailed call for volunteers:

Infopack CVS _Social bond

Tell us why would you like to be part of this project in a motivation letter and send it together with your CV to cvs.katerina@gmail.com

Deadline for application: 25 September 2018

 

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 Posted by Kathy at 17:36 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Social bond – EVS position for Portuguese participants in Bulgaria