Step for Bulgaria Foundation

Step for Bulgaria is a non-profit organization which aims to support the development of Bulgaria's socially and economically disadvantaged youth, with a focus on children living without parental care. We do this by engaging young people in alternative education and professional orientation activities to develop their life knowledge, practical life and career skills, and personal strengths.
Aug 29, 2014

Academic Achievements

Dear Friends,

It is almost September and we are at the threshold of the new school year. This inspired me to tell you more about the academic successes of our youths.

During the last six months our volunteers worked intensively with four youngsters leaving care – finishing their secondary school and willing to continue their education in University. This period was full of emotions – both for the youngsters and the volunteers. There were many positive emotions connected with the proms celebrating the successful finish of secondary school. And of course there were lots of worries about the school-leaving examinations. It was not an easy task!

Our youngsters did their best – they took extra classes on the exam subjects and all of them managed to pass the exams successfully. This was the moment when hard decisions had to be made. There were a lot of questions to be asked: Which University to choose? What specialty do I want to study? How to fill in my documents for the exam? How to get to this or that University? And the most difficult question – What will happen to me when I leave care? Our volunteers had to answer daily to such questions. They supported the youngsters in making their choices and actually doing the necessary steps. They encouraged the youths when needed, studied together, gave clarifications on documents and sometimes it was necessary to push them a bit and to follow closely their actions.

And the results were soon at hand – three of our youngsters will be first-year students in a month. Soon they all will have to leave the social services and take their live in their own hands. Our volunteers and our team will be next to them and we will continue supporting them in their first steps to independent living. We strongly believe that these youngsters have potential and due to your contribution, they also had the opportunity to be part of our project.

Thank you for being our friends and our partners - your support made all this possible!

 

Sincerely yours,

Step for Bulgaria team

Jun 30, 2014

Mentee Life Changed

Dear Friends,

Today I want to tell you the story of one young boy – mentee in our Mentoring programme. I’ll call him Tony.

Tony is 24 years old and he grew up in institutions. He was moved more than five times from one institution to another in different towns in the country. Currently he is a resident in an observed housing facility near Sofia. Tony has some learning difficulties and despite his age he did not manage to finish secondary school. He is an extremely trusty person with a strong sense of justice and people around him often take advantage of him.

When he joined our Programme in March 2014 his contract in the facility was coming to its end. He worked in a cleaning company with many night shifts and his boss often made him take additional shifts – sometimes he worked 24 hours a day. The amount of his salary was not quite clear and not very regularly paid. He owed a big amount of money to one of the mobile network operators.

Tony started working with his Mentor at least once per week. At the beginning Tony was sometimes late for the meetings and twice he even forgot to attend. This became another issue they had to work on. With the support of his mentor Tony managed to list the priority areas in his life. He focused on finding a new job – without night shifts and with regular payment. During the discussions with his Mentor, Tony realized that it is very important to finish secondary school which will help him get even better jobs in the future. Tony also concluded for himself that he has to prepare for the independent living (he’ll have to leave the facility soon) and start saving money. So he and his Mentor started to work for achieving these goals.

Three months later Tony has a new job – he works 5 days per week and only during the day. His new boss is already very pleased with his work as Tony is quite diligent. His debts are paid and he managed to open a savings bank account and already put some money there. He has a big progress with his punctuality and on the last meeting he even arrived a few minutes earlier.

Currently Tony and his Mentor are looking for a suitable form of education so he can finish school. They plan to start regular lessons on maths next week and study together for the exams.

Tony is one of the boys who will have better future due to your support. Thank you for making this possible! Your donations can change the lives of 15 more youngsters in our Mentoring programme – you make this possible!

Sincerely yours,

The Step for Bulgaria team

May 30, 2014

Teaching Life-skills through Film Art

Dear Friends,

Inspired by our new volunteers we started new initiative with our youths in Gabrovo, called “Movie Perspective”. The idea of this initiative is to enable underprivileged youths to look at the world through the example of heroes, characters and stories of the national and international movies.

Movies are unique in this that through them in a synthesised way a story of the life of different personages is presented just in an hour and a half, but affects perceptions of the one who watches for a long time. Through the power of personal example, youths can be "pushed" to change their behaviour in a good direction.  

In three months (once per week) the young people will be projected specially selected movies by professional director – one of Step for Bulgaria volunteers. The topics of the movies were selected after a long consideration and carefully arranged. In each of the movies present youth as the main hero, to which youths can compare. The stories shown in the movies are connected with the problems which young underprivileged people confront during teenage. In this way, the stories and characters are closer to the reality of the youths, which excites their interest and helps attract and hold their attention.

After each projection, the youths are led into a discussion on what they’ve seen – different role models, whether something impressed or inspired them. After that they “play” a scene they liked the most putting themselves in the shoes of real actors, guided and instructed by the director. This “acting” is not only the funniest part but also quite useful as the youths learn how to work as a team, take a responsibility for their actions, lead other people in a concrete task. It also improves their social skills and their self-esteem – especially when they get a big applause from the audience (e.g. the other youths in the group).

We will keep you informed on the updates and results of this initiative. Thank you all for making this possible!

 

Sincerely yours,

The Step for Bulgaria team

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