Baba Residence (baba - grandmother in Bulgarian) is an initiative bringing together urban youth and elderly people in depopulating villages in Bulgaria. It creates the soil for a truthful exchange of knowledge and care between youth and elderly through design thinking and ethnological approaches. The result is new quality of human relations between generations and social entrepreneurial projects that help the villages flourish again.
Bulgarian villages are rapidly depopulating and are losing their economical sustainability, cultural heritage and vitality. Every year at least 1 of them disappears from the map of Bulgaria. Around 570 villages have less then 10 or no inhabitants (NSI). People who live in most of them are pensioners with a pension less than 100 $. Baba Residence has been to 7 villages in the last 2 years and urgently needs your support to give its impulse to the Bulgarian countryside.
The young people selected to participate in Baba Residence live for a month in elderly households, renovate shared spaces, learn traditional crafts, collect stories. They get familiar with human-centered design and receive training from professional ethnologists in collecting folklore. Participants use all these new skills to come up with social-entrepreneurial ideas together with the community, which revive the villages and bring back human, financial and other resources.
An important result from interaction between urban youth and elderly from the villages - new quality of human relations between generations, between urban and rural communities. The social-entrepreneurial ideas which are being developed after Baba Residence draw businesses, conscious touristic and media attention to those villages. 3 social enterprises have been a direct result from BR so far - CD with folklore songs of grannies, rugs with a new design and a game with traditional embroidery.