Deconstructing culture in youth work and non-formal education

Be your country seminar from December 3rd until December 10th provides space for youth workers and staff from volunteering organisations around Europe to critically reflect about their own practices of culturalization in non-formal education programs, energizers, support and training structures and free time activities. We will guide the seminar using techniques and approaches from antidiscrimination, antiracism and critical whiteness.


Some of the questions and topics to be explored:

  • What do we personally and our organisations mean when we say „culture“? What effect does this understanding of culture have on our participants?
  • What is the role of national cultures in international youth projects – and how does this relate to nationalism, nationbuilding, pan-Europeanism and internationalism?
  • How can we deconstruct and play with the definition of „culture“ that our participants bring with them to our youth projects?
  • What non-formal education methods can we share or create that have critical or constructive approaches to culture? What can be progressive alternatives to an „international evening“ and to talking about “cultural shocks” solely from a national perspective?
  • How does the setup of Erasmus+ programs reinforce certain notions of culture in our projects?
  • How can we challenge existing cultures within our projects and our societies (e.g. patriarchy, heteronormativity, white supremacy, militarism) in order to create a culture of peace?

Participant’s profile

The project aims to gather 30 participants  (up to 2 per partner organisation). The participants will be youth workers, trainers as well as staff, activists, camp coordinators and active volunteers from volunteerig organisations. All participants selected for this project should meet the following criteria

  • be 18 years old or older
  • be able to work in English
  • be interested in the seminar topics and have a strong motivation to act as a multiplier
  • Able to attend for the full duration of the seminar
  • If somehow possible and feasible, be committed to come to the seminar without flying, and to travel instead by overland route.

Deatiled call for participants

How to apply?

Applications should be sent to trainings@cvs-bg.org with a subject Application_Be your country_YOUR NAME. Final selection will be done by SCI Austria. Here is the application form:

All those accepted 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).

First deadline for applying is November 1st 2021.

 Posted by Mira at 10:02 Volunteer activities Comments Off on International seminar “Be your country”, December 3-10th 2021, Austria

We are opening the call for participants of 4 training courses, part of the long-term project “PEACE INNOVATION LAB: YOUTH WORK EDITION”, supported by EACEA through ERASMUS +, Key Action 2.

The first training course is called “Building Bridges” and will be organized from September 25th until October 2nd in Krusevac, Serbia.

Below you will find some short info about each training course. And here is the detailed call.

To apply fill in the application form here.

BUILDING BRIDGES | Krusevac, Serbia | 25.09 – 2.10.21

Training course on peace and reconciliation in youth work dimension. Training aims to equip youth workers with deeper understanding of peace and reconciliation processes, elements and strategies. It will build competencies of youth workers to promote peace, inter-cultural and inter-religious dialog, against violence, discrimination and hate speech.

Through this training we will empower youth workers to engage in the complex topic of peacebuilding and peacekeeping, conflict transformation, anti-discrimination and intercultural learning/dialogue providing them with necessary skills, attitudes and knowledge.

CHANGE ACADEMY | Bitola, North Macedonia | 31.10 – 8.11.21

Training course on peace and reconciliation training and education in youth work field. This training aims to build capacities of youth trainers and educators in youth work field to successfully develop detailed programme and methodology, facilitate, implement and evaluate training activity with focus on peace and reconciliation topics.


  • Peacebuilding and Reconciliation
  • Stereotypes, prejudice, hate speech
  • Changing narratives and combating conflict propaganda
  • Designing a Training programme
  • Methodology in non-formal education
  • Group dynamics, motivation and participation
  • Facilitation skills
  • Culture, identity and intercultural learning
  • Peacebuilding education

ART-&-FACT | Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina | 22.01 – 30.01.22

Training course on creative forms of reconciliation, solidarity and conflict transformation advocacy and promotion in youth work. Training aims to explore different cultural and art expressions, methods and tools with purpose to promote peacebuilding, understanding, respect, conflict resolution, diversity and raise capacity of youth workers/youth activists to employ creative advocacy and promotion in their work with young people and in community.

EUREKA EFFECT | Vlasenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina | 12.03-19.03.22

Training Course on social innovation of reconciliation process through youth work using cross-sectoral approach and different design methods. With this training we aim to build capacities and advance skills of experienced youth workers in innovating and re-designing their approaches and activities towards reconciliation and youth cooperation empowering peace building, providing deeper and more socially responsible youth work agenda.


  • Peacebuilding and Reconciliation
  • Conflict transformation on small scale
  • Active role of youth work
  • Setting up the innovation process
  • Creative process of design thinking
  • Co-creation in youth peacebuilding initiatives
  • Pitching the idea


  1. is an active member of the partner organization;
  2. has some previous experience in youth work;
  3. is able to contribute to the development of the topics of the training;
  4. will be actively involved in preparation and leading youth activities in near future;
  5. is able and ready to be involved in all the relevant activities of the project: online learning modules, residential training and follow up practice activities


Online learning platform is online space which contains different resources, materials, training tools and methods, ideas and proposals. It has interactive character for direct communication and support, expert advice, sharing experiences, good practice examples and easy cooperation, reporting, management and teamwork. For these purposes, we will use DISCORD as our main hub space and other digital tools and storage space additionally according to the needs of the project and activities. We have a Platform Manager who will support all the activities on the platform and help partners, participants and trainers/experts to use it efficiently.


  • Familiarise yourself with the platform with support of Platform Manager beforehand
  • Join the platform 10 days before the residential training
  • Participate actively in the activities on the platform and communication with the others (peers, trainers, project team)
  • Use the platform for planning and reporting their follow up practical activities


Aim of the follow up activities is to further raise capacity of the youth workers in larger scale, and provide them with the space and opportunity to put their competences gained during training courses in practice and apply them in their working environment, with young people and peers from their community and on European level. Each participant of Mobility Activities will have the responsibility, supported by their sending organisations and project coordinator to prepare and implement the practical activity according to the topic of the training they attended and the requirements of each practical activity type listed below. The project foresees the budget for these activities. Note that these costs must be justified with bills and invoices.


Participants will be responsible to make need analysis, prepare content, organize practical and financial arrangements and implement their activities. They incorporate the visibility and promotion of their work and the project itself. The participants will need to document the process and, with help of their sending organisation, dully report it content-wise and budget-wise.

 Posted by Mira at 10:14 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Training “Building Bridges” | Serbia | 25.09-2.10 | Call for participants

32 youth workers from 13 European countries took part in a Training course for Volunteer Management. The training was organized by CVS-Bulgaria, the Bulgarian branch of the international peace movement and volunteer exchange network Service Civil International. The participants from Austria, Bulgaria, Czech republic, Germany, Hungary, Estonia, Italy, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey arrived on November 11th and left a week later on November 17th with enriched knowledge and skills for working with local and international volunteers.

The international training course is the first activity part of the Volunteering from A to Z project (№2019-2-BG01-KA105-062812) which is supported by the Erasmus+ program and the Human Resources Development Centre in Bulgaria.

The training aimed at raising awareness of the philosophy and values of volunteering with the idea of implementation of more qualitative volunteer projects. The program focused on the volunteering opportunities offered by the European Solidarity Corps that functions since the end of 2016 and until now more than 30 000 young people have participated in ESC projects. The Erasmus+ program and its aims to encourage active citizenship, learning, and volunteering was another aspect in the program.


In the six days of the training course the participants got to know the roles, rights, and responsibilities of each stakeholder involved in the volunteering process. Through presentations, theatre performances, discussions in small groups, individual work, and brainstorming in plenary the participants examined step-by-step the 8-stages of volunteer management cycle. The practical work improved their skills in communication, conflict transformation, intercultural learning, motivation, and implementation of online tools for volunteer management work.

The opportunity to exchange ideas and share experiences was an important aspect in the training program. The participants used the specially designed sessions but also the non-formal delicious breaks. For the latter, every one contributed with their favorite snacks and sweets from home. There is no universe in which we can’t say that the Delicious breaks were more colorful and exciting than any usual coffee break.

Delicious Breaks

Since Plovdiv was the town hosting the training, we can’t skip the topic of the European Capital of Culture. Stanislava Tasheva and Kami Clifton from Foudnation Plovdiv 2019, the organization coordinating the European Capital of Culture, were also our guests. They presented their work with focus on the work of Kami with the hundreds of Plovdiv 2019 volunteers. The slogan #Together turned one of the main conversation topics.

Another guest lecturer in the training was Svetla Todorova from Mosaic Training, who introduced us to the secrets of visual facilitation. The awakening of the creativity is as important as our good skills in coordination and mentorship of volunteers. Most of the participants shared that the small and thought-through details are the ones that make an experience more valuable and memorable.

All of the participants are active citizens who work for diverse civil causes in their countries. On November 16th, the International Tolerance Day, the youth workers chose to join a peaceful demonstration for equality “Together is great”. The participants walked through the centre of Plovdiv with messages, music and dances. The organizer was the League for equality – a coalition of organizations, activists and experts who work for equal participation of all in the civil life with a focus on some of the mostly excluded groups (Roma, LGBTI, people with disabilities). The participants stated clearly their support for #tolerance, #respect, #equality with no regard to ethnicity, colour of skin, gender, religion, disability or other identity aspects.

The training finished with summary of tips and tricks for better work with volunteers, as well as inspiring phrases. CVS-Bulgaria will present the collection to the participants of the upcoming seminar for project management of volunteer projects. The seminar will be held in April 2020 in Bulgaria and it aims at upgrading the achievements of the training course as part of the Volunteering from A to Z. We will include all the gathered tips and tricks in an agenda designed to support the work of a volunteer project coordinator.

As the European Capital of Culture for 2019, Plovdiv welcomed us with its autumn colours, changeable weather with lots of sun but also foggy mornings and quiet drizzle. In the free afternoon we had the chance to learn more about the history of Plovdiv with the help of an experienced tour guide. Everybody was impressed by the architecture in the Old town and the lively Kapana neighbourhood despite the rainy weather this day.

Last but not least, we would like to express our gratitude to our hosts from the Youth Centre Plovdiv and the Municipality of Plovdiv who provided us with excellent working conditions!

 Posted by Mira at 19:09 Trainings, Volunteer activities Comments Off on Quality volunteer management work leads to a more tolerant and better world

We present you with the story of Theodora Stankova, who was a volunteer with Nukanti Foundation in Colombia thanks to European Voluntary Service (EVS). Her project “Empowering young Colombians through Leadership and Participation” was for a period of one year – from the beginning of February 2013 to the end of January 2014 – and it was financed through the programme Youth in Action of the European Commission.

riding a horse

Riding a horse – or just posing for the picture 🙂

It all started in 2012 when I went to South America for the first time. My friend and I had only 3 months and a very ambitious agenda starting in Brazil and finishing off in Peru. This time I did not have the chance to visit Colombia, but I fell in love with another South American country, Chile, and for the first time started dreaming about spending more time in South America.

So when I got back home I started thinking of how I could go back to Chile with almost no money. I had been involved with a local NGO, CVS-Bulgaria, for about ten years and I knew that there was a great opportunity for young people to do long-term volunteer projects abroad, not only in Europe but also outside of Europe. This great opportunity was called European Voluntary Service (EVS), part of the Youth in Action Programme funded by the European Commission. I know that EVS was available for young people up to 30 years old, so it was my last chance to do it!! CVS-Bulgaria had never sent volunteers outside of Europe through this program but they decided to support me in this adventure. So now I only had to find a hosting organization in Chile!

happy birthday in Quinchia

A great surprise for my birthday in the headquarters of Nukanti Colombia 🙂

Well, I had no luck in this… But I managed to find an organization in Colombia and I said “Why not? It’s close enough!”. So I wrote to Nukanti Foundation, who were looking for English teachers in the Coffee Region of Colombia, and told them about the EVS opportunity, through which volunteers could have not only their food and accommodation covered, but also up to 90 % of their travel costs. Based on my experience we decided what kind of activities to include in the project and then I only had a few weeks to write the project, with the support of the EVS coordinator at CVS-Bulgaria.

So to cut a long story short project submitted in June and approved in October. Now when the dream was slowly becoming a reality I had to take care of a lot of details – organize my travel, visa and insurance, with the priceless help of Natalie Jivkova, my EVS coordinator. And so at the end of January 2013 I had my visa and ticket to Pereira, a town in Colombia that I had never heard of before. I would spend the next one year in Quinchia, a small village about 3 hours from the capital of the Risaralda department.

last English class with the children in Quinchia

My kids in Quinchia 🙂 Five of the children from the children’s English group who were the most motivated and always came to the classes

The day when I arrived to Quinchia was my birthday and they had a great surprise for me. Everyone from Nukanti had gathered in the office to welcome me with a small cake and a sign saying (or at least trying to say!) “Happy birthday!” in Bulgarian. This day I met Leonardo, the director of Nukanti Colombia, my supervisor throughout the project, and Fernando, my colleague and mentor. I also got to know Orsolya, a Hungarian volunteer who had arrived about one month before me – I think the most important person for me during my stay in Quinchia. During the four months that we worked together we shared our daily lives, both work and leisure. I must say that it was a great

support to have another foreign volunteer with me in the first few months!! When you go to a place where everything is new – new people, new surroundings, new culture – having someone who shares the same fears and expectations, someone to support you and whom you can support, is always of great help.

With Orsolya, or Sol as we call her, we discovered that we had very similar experience and interests, so most of the time it was easy to work together. As envisaged in my EVS project we worked with youth from Quinchia and the surrounding rural areas, who have very limited access to after-school activities. We gave English classes and workshops on topics such as effective communication, team work, conflict resolution, public speaking, project management, etc. We also organized several cultural events in cooperation with the local House of Culture (Casa de la Cultura) in Quinchia. Another main activity was visiting kids and women in Naranjal, one of the nearby villages, and organizing activities with them. We also participated in the conmemoration event for March 8, International Women’s Day, and we organized a celebration of May 9, Europe Day – this was an interactive event with more than 50 participants!

English classes in Quinchia

One of the English groups in Quinchia

At the end of the first six months my supervisor and I had a meeting to discuss the project, the achievements and the problems, and we decided that it may be good for me and for Nukanti if I could go to a different place in Colombia and see if I could implement similar activities there with a different target group. Thanks to my previous experience in NGO work and work with youth and children I was pretty independent in my project activities, and I also felt that I needed a change of the environment. This is why I was offered to work with Nukanti in Cali, Colombia’s third largest city, which struggles with high rates of delinquency due to low education levels, high unemployment rates and marginalization of large, mainly black, populations.

youth workshop in Santa Elena

The youngsters from Santa Elena, a small village an hour away from Quinchia by jeep, really impressed us with their intelligence and willingness to learn – two qualities that are not very common for the local teenagers

So at the beginning of August I had to say goodbye to my friends in Quinchia and start a whole new adventure in Cali. Over there I would be more independent in my work and would work in close cooperation with Niousha Roshani, the Executive Director of Nukanti International. The first weeks in Cali I was together with Niousha, who presented me to different existing and potential new partners, with which I could work in the next few months. This time spent with my new supervisor was extremely useful in order for me to get to know Nukanti International better and gain useful knowledge about the specifics of the work with marginalized youth in urban areas in Colombia.

martenichki in Naranjal

A workshop to make martenitzas with a local indigenous community 🙂

Already in the first few weeks I made important contacts with two NGOs with which I would be working until the end of my project. One of them was Fundacion Paz y Bien with their project Casas Francisco Esperanza, a network of youth centers that operate in the Aguablanca district, one of the most dangerous and marginalized zones of Cali. These centers aim to provide meaningful free-time activities to youth at risk and most importantly support in dealing with the difficult situations they face on a daily basis and guidance in planning their future. My role would be to give English classes to the young people as well as organize other activities such as movie projections, discussions, art and sport activities. I must say that this task was sometimes challenging because of the specifics of the target group – these youth usually have difficulties to focus on one activity for a longer period of time, some of them have learning and behavioural problems, all of them struggle with aggression, violence and family problems on a daily basis. However, at the end of the project I really felt that I connected to the young people and could see a lot of potential in them. Unfortunately, Casa 6, which was the center where I was working, was closed at the beginning of 2014 due to insufficient funding.

One of the English groups in Cali - youth from House 6 in the Aguablanca zone, with primarily black population and very high rates of extreme poverty, unemployment and delinquency

One of the English groups in Cali – youth from House 6 in the Aguablanca zone, with primarily black population and very high rates of extreme poverty, unemployment and delinquency

The other important partner that I found in Cali was ACCR La Red (Asociacion Centro Cultural La Red), which functions as a community and youth center in Siloe, another problematic area of Cali. Over there I was also giving English classes and in cooperation with a local feminist organization, La Ruta Pacifica de las Mujeres, we organized weekly workshops on gender issues and women’s empowerment. This experience was also very interesting, although it is extremely difficult to talk about gender equality and women’s rights in Colombia in general, and even more difficult in the marginalized urban areas. This is due to the fact that Colombian society is highly patriarchal, and even women tend to objectify themselves and thus give way to the existing machismo. However, I believe that every experience is a valuable lesson to be learned and I now feel that I will be better prepared to organize gender-oriented activities with youth in these areas.


The family of one of the girls from Casa 6. It is the grandmother that takes care of her and her sisters

On September 21, World Peace Day, Nukanti and ACCR La Red took part in the international campaign Peace One Day with a full-day event that included a football game, a workshop to make pinwheels for peace, a zumba class and a concert with presentation of different youth groups from Siloe and Cali’s biggest hip-hop band, Zona Marginal.

Parallel I was working under the supervision of Nukanti?s Executive Director on various administrative tasks for Nukanti International, including preparing and submitting project proposals for Colombia, coordinating team meetings, contacting new partners, etc. At the end of my EVS project I was also responsible for launching Nukanti’s internal mentorship program for children in a vulnerable situation and for recruiting new volunteers to complement the team once I would be gone.

And before I could fully realize it a whole year had gone by, soon it was my birthday again and I had made a second home in Colombia without even wanting it… It was a year full of experiences, sometimes good and sometimes not as good, but always interesting and carrying another lesson to be learned. By the end I was already feeling homesick and wanted to go back home at least for a while, but I knew that I had created a connection for life with this tropical country and that I would always want to go back... at least to visit my friends 🙂 I had learned that you can never know a country profoundly without sharing the life of its people and opening your heart to their daily joys and pains. And that once you do it, you can never break this invisible thread between you and this place.


EU_flag_yia_EN-01This project has been funded with support from the European Commission.
This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

 Posted by Mira at 22:16 EVS news Comments Off on EVS in Colombia – Never too old to make a dream come true!

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.


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:
    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.


    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
    Project theme: Environment
    Project language(s): English
    Local language(s): Bulgarian
    Location: village of Vlahi, Kresna (Blagoevgrad region)
    Number of vacancies:
    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!





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


Have you heard about perma culture? It is a model of sustainalble living developed in the 70s in Australia. Today there are thousands of perma culture projects all around the world. If you would like to hear more, on Wednesday, September 18th we will organize permaculture evening as part of Service Civil International campaign “Climate Justice”.

In first part of evening, Marko* from Serbia will talk about the concept of perma culture, history, practical solutions and interesting perma culture projects in Italy and Balkan countries. Marko is a volunteer in NAture School in Vlahi for 2 months. His project is run by the SCI working group for the Balkans – SAVA.

In the second part of the evening, Dora** from Hungary will talk about Nature School Vlahi and her voluntary service at this educational center for sustainable living. Dora is an EVS volunteer in CVS – Bulgaria. She is doing her service in Nature School for 6 months.

A discussion will follow the presentations.

*Marko Ikonic is an active volunteer in SCI since 2007 and a committed environmental activist. He has a Master degree in Environmental Sciences and during his European Voluntary Service in Italy he visited several permaculture projects and wrote his thesis about it: “Permaculture as sustainable way of living”.
**Dora is a volunteer in CVS – Bulgaria for 6 months through the European Voluntary Service of the Youth in Action Programme.

Date: 18th September

When: 19:00

Where: Social Centre Adelante

Entrance: Free

The event in Facebook>>



 Posted by Mira at 13:39 Volunteer activities Comments Off on Let’s talk about perma culture!
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

From July 3rd to 9th, 2013, Vadul lui Voda hosted a group of international and local volunteers, who met in order to exchange experiences, promote the European values and also to improve their leadership skills. All these activities took place in the frame of the Training Course:  “FWD: Train your leader!” where CVS – Bulgaria sent one participant.


This project was implemented thanks to the support of the European Commission and the active involvement of the 8 partners, mostly members of SCI (Service Civil International). The program of the training was mainly based on the principle of message forwarding (best practices and knowledge) from volunteers who already have experience in organizing and proceeding international volunteering projects (workcamps and youth exchanges) to volunteers who are beginners.

Many factors contributed to the success of this training, including good understanding that persisted throughout the volunteers’ stay at a guesthouse in Vadul lui Voda. Although the group of volunteers was culturally diverse and had different experiences, the participants became friends since the very first day with some help from the trainers and the members of the staff.


The intercultural communication was even more consolidated due to the intercultural evening, when each participant had the opportunity to present some general things, customs, specific dishes of the country they were coming from.

During the training, the volunteers discussed over a cup of coffee about pleasant or less pleasant experiences that they had while they were organizing a work camp or a youth exchange project, within the “World Cafe” session. Meanwhile, the team was divided in two groups that discussed about work camps and volunteer exchange and then they prepared an entire program for each kind of project.

It’s important to know that all materials elaborated during the training session will be published on the website of the page IamaCampleader, a wiki started in 2012 by IAL and SVIT organizations in order to provide support to future leaders. International volunteers will share the experience in their local groups in order to use it in projects which are going to implemented by partner organizations in the next future.

 Posted by Mira at 10:22 Volunteer news Comments Off on FWD: Train your leader