The summer is over, and we’re getting ready for another exciting year for our re-vamped full-year educational program teaching life skills to Bulgarian orphans. In the meantime, we wanted to share what we’ve been busy over the past couple of months.
On July 3, 2011, more than 30 orphaned youth from the cities of Plovdiv, Berkovitsa and Sofia came together to present to each other and to our special guests the products of their group work during the Professional Skills module. Each of the three groups had a unique product to present as they had been working with different volunteers in their respective cities to design, plan and execute their own group projects.
As mentioned in our previous report, the Sofia group set a very high bar by creating a book about children living in orphanages. After weeks of hard work and logistical challenges, our Sofia students succeeded in creating the book original (which looks and feels like a real book) – printed in color, with pages stuck and sewn together, and a nice colorful cover. Each group participant presented a different aspect of the process of the book’s creation and engaged their peers from other cities in a discussion about provoking topics in the lives of these underprivileged youth.
The group from Berkovitsa presented a beautifully hand-drawn play script. The play, written by the group, told a beautiful story about the battle between good and evil through metaphoric literary heroes. The youth identified each of the characters in the play with one of the actual students who worked on the play.
Finally, the group from Plovdiv presented their Tourist guide to Plovdiv consisting of a colorful powerpoint presentation and a neat word document, listing all the key sites, historical facts and popular entertainment venues in the city. All of our volunteers and special guests certainly learned a lot about Plovdiv’s history and sights thanks to this presentation.
Due to the financial crisis effect and time and resource constraints, after the end of the training sessions during the school year, we were able to identify internship opportunities for only two of our students (rather than 5 as initially planned). Nevertheless, this was a great learning opportunity as we realized how many legal, administrative and logistical details are involved in providing a meaningful internship opportunity for the underprivileged youth. The challenges we overcame this summer have provided invaluable learning opportunities for helping more youth obtain practical professional experiences next year.
Finally, we’ve been shaping our plans for the new year. We’re currently in the process of identifying new participants for our full-year educational program and recruiting seasoned ones to take a more leading role in the various sessions. We look forward to implementing our upgraded training program which includes sessions with a professional career planning consultant, psychologist and after-school tutoring in Bulgarian language and math. Thanks to the significant amount of grant money we obtained last spring, we’ll be able to provide all of these different resources to 50 orphaned children this year.
Please stay tuned for our next report with more news about the progress of our 2011-2012 life skills training program. Thank you for your continuous support!
Step for Bulgaria management team
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