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Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again

by Ideas Factory Association
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Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again
Depopulating Bulgarian Villages can Flourish Again

Hello, dear Baba-supporters!

How have your lives been during the past few months? Hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy, wherever throughout the world you and they happened to be.

We had many difficulties realizing any of our initiatives in villages or other small settlements around Bulgaria. Since the human intergenerational contact seemed as the biggest danger of the spread of the virus, we had the huge responsability to try limit it, but still be open to answer the needs of the rural communities and the elderly we've been working with. We told you about this journey and its difficulties in the previous report. 

However, we had planned to implement our first ever international artistic residency in a Bulgarian village for the summer. It had to be postoponed for the 23rd of August and again because of safety measures.

Radical Imagination Residency in Deleyna village (Vidin) 

What are we searching for through this residency and what issues does it outline?
During 3 weeks in Deleyna, 7 Bulgarian and 4 foreign artists (through online participation) were searching for a working formula for a contemporary living village, nurtured by an access to culture and art. They were trying to “rehabilitate the muscle of public imagination, which nowadays is not able to imagine the village in a modern way," as Yanina Taneva from Ideas Factory summarizes it.

We cannot substitute for public policy, which, sadly, is absent - adds Yanina Taneva. - The trends in the villages are irreversible and this is clear from well known national strategy, written in 2007. Therefore, in order to stop or at least slow down the ones that still can be reversed, lots of common effort is needed. In the villages, there are several main problems: lack of democracy, because people cannot vote for their mayor, in case there are less than 250 people in the village; lack of public health services, no access to education or culture. We believe that education and culture are the foundation that is needed for change. And when the traditional Bulgarian village comes together with the young people from the city, who are carrying a different type of knowledge and culture with them, new solutions and new ways can be born.

The Radical Imagination Residency’s main mission was to rake over the public imagination and the imagination of the selected artists on how a contemporary Bulgarian village might flourish in the future - a village with a lively community, rich intergenerational connections and an active access to culture, art and education.

The final community event, celebrating the end of the residency, was an swer to this search and a massive get-together, showing the artistic results of the participants. It enlivened for a day the abandoned school building in Deleyna village.

The event consisted of photo and ethnographic objects exhibition, cyanotypical exhibition with imagery from local natural elements, audio box with the emotional soundscape of the village, short portrait documentaries, poetry and a performance in the local cultural hub (chitalishte).

The main discovery for the village of Deleyna, where the residency has been happening, is that this vision for a lively village is unavoidably related to the active access to education on a local level. The lively school, where all the exhibitions were happening, became the epitome of the liveliness of the village itself.

 

Be well and

let's stay in touch,

Yoana and the Ideas Factory team

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Hello, once again dear Baba-supporters!

We, from Ideas Factory, hope you're all healthy and residing in a safe space! We hope your older relatives and close ones are in a good health too and manage to stay calm in this overwhelming situation. You know it very well, but still - if you don't live with them, the best way to keep them safe right now includes not seeing them for some time.

The first thing we did in order to be helpful for the well-being of the elderly in Bulgaria, was to compile simple advices on what to do in order to protect our loved older ones and hygienic advices and social servies.

Contact us in case you need an English version of these advices. They're in Bulgarian!

Our next Baba Residence edition was going to be in villages in South-Eastern Bulgaria - in Strandzha mountain. Because of the lockdown in our country and the long-term cautiousness that will follow it we can't realize the inmost meeting between generations, between human beings that we used to do the last 4 years. Now in the same way, though.

Right now, we are trying to answer the urgent needs of the elderly of all the villages we've been so far with Baba Residence - in the regions of Laki, Karlovo, Vratsa, Gotse Delchev and VIdin. This, in practice, means that we are talking with local people and authorities everyday and try our best to help them provide the village with either food, medicine, supplements or hygienic materials such as masks, gloves and desinfenctants. All of these are now scarce in most places because of the over-supplying many people did because of fear of not being able to go out for a long time.

But shops and drug stores are open everywhere in Bulgaria, all the time.

So, if you feel like it's meaningful to support us in these urgent matters, it would be more than helpful. We still don't know for how long this scarcity will continue or for how long people in the villages will need more of these supplies, because they lack in their regions.

Until 27th of MARCH (this Friday) GlobalGiving is having it's 50% matching campaign. Every donation up to $50 will be matched with 50% more from their fund. It will be a great time to support until then!

Thank you for listening and being present in this everything-changing moment!

Be healthy and calm,

Yoana and the Ideas Factory team

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Hello, dear heartful supporter! 

 

Our Baba Residence made it possible for new solidarity connections to grow between 18 young people from different Bulgarian cities (Plovdiv, Sofia, Sliven, Varna, Bourgas) and elderly from 3 villages (Negovanovtsi, Sinagovtsi and Koshava) from the region of Vidin in 2019.

 

The young people lived in the homes of the elderly for almost a month and helped them in all kinds of daily routines such as cleaning, cooking, harvesting, grape picking but also singing, collecting personal and folklore stories. They renovated public spaces and painted active games throughout the village. They organized 3 community events, fueled by the knowledge and ideas of the local elderly.

For the first time we had a mother who participated and lived with her two young children (4 and 7 years old) in Koshava village. For the first time we had 2 foreign participants who knew very little Bulgarian. 

The residents are now starting to work on their precise ideas which answer concrete needs of the villages and their inhabitants. They were presented for the first time at the international forum for empathy-driven social change EMPATHEAST (1-3 November, Plovdiv). Now they continue to slowly work on them. They already visited their hosts in the villages twice after the residency.

Truth is, there is a hard year ahead of us. Baba Residence still has no financing for 2020. We'll need your support once again. We started developing more products and services in order to find other ways for sustainability.

We hope we can have your support on 3rd of DECEMBER during Giving Tuesday. GlobalGiving will add to every donation made on that day.

Stay on board. 

Thank you staying with us. 

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Baba Vasilka from Sinagovitsi village
Baba Vasilka from Sinagovitsi village

Hello, dear Baba-supporters! <3

 

Thank you for staying on board despite the lack of news from us lately. We've been travelling and trying to organise more short-term initiatives in Bulgarian villages, which are happening more often and are helpful to the local community. We called it Rural Social Innovation Challenge and young people spent 4 days solving local "challenges" together with local people of 7 Bulgarian villages (Dryanovo, Manastir, Chelopek, Dolna Malina, Pozharevo, Novo Selo and Inovo).

Good news is the 25-days long Baba Residence is happening also from 20 August - 15 September 2019 in 3 villages in Vidin region of Bulgaria. It's known as one of the most rapidly depopulating regions with the least number of young people living there.

20 young people from different Bulgarian towns and cities will live in households of elderly in the 3 villages Negovanovtsi, Koshava and Sinagovtsi from 25 days. They will share their dailyhood - work, stories and needs. Of course, the spirit of this year's Residence is quite attached to the sprit of the Danube river and the speicif crafts, agriculture, legends, cooking traditions and everyday difficulties people face. This is what the residents will learn and document. And after their Residency, some of them will start a whole new journey - developing social entreprenurial initiatives for the local community with the local community.

At the end of their stay in the villages, as usual, the young residents will organize a goodbye celebration with the local people.

 

Stay in touch,

next letter will be sooner than expected.

Thank you!

This all wouldn't be possible if you didn't believe in the simple idea of human connection and supported it!

 

Yoana and the Ideas Factory team

A bus stop in Koshava village (by the Danube)
A bus stop in Koshava village (by the Danube)
A grandma's water bottles
A grandma's water bottles
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Dear changemaker,

Happy New year! Let it be heartful and community-inspired!

You haven't heard from us for a while. 

Our organisation has been through some tough changes and challenges - most of them financially related. Most probably, our core team will have to become even smaller, but we'll keep supporting each other in more flexible ways.

It won't be an easy-going year, but we'll make BABA RESIDENCE 2019 happen no matter what!

This autumn we'll make Baba Residence it in the region of Vidin - one of the most problematic and depopulating regions of Bulgaria. We can't reveal the names of the villages yet, but, please, stay in touch.

We're aiming to connect young urban people with elderly in villages that are in even deeper need of communication and economic  support.

We'll need you help this year too to make the initiative alive.

Stay tuned for more information and the renewed version of our crowdfunding page.

THANK YOU!

 

And enjoy a little bit of the simple pancake joy that granny Steffka and Radka share with us in the video. They're showing the residents in Voynyagovo village how to make "bidi" during Baba Residence 2018 in Karlovo region of Bulgaria.

A recipe in English - in the next update ;)

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Organization Information

Ideas Factory Association

Location: Sofia - Bulgaria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Ideas Factory Association
Sofia, Bulgaria

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