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Every kid deserves science

by Muzeiko Foundation
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science
Every kid deserves science

Dear friends and supporters,

Learning to live in a weird situation, coping with our fears and anxiety, we would like to thank you for staying with us and continuing your support.

A long time will pass before Muzeiko would be able to resume its normal pace of work and reach the footfall prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. However, we feel optimistic about the future and would like to share a few positive summer stories enabled by your generosity.

  • Participation of two girls in Muzeiko’s Summer Academy

M., aged 8, was abandoned by her mother at a very young age. She became a shy, insecure and solitary child. Her social withdrawal and emotional problems resulted into developmental delays that aggravated after the father went to work abroad and left M. in the care of her aunt. Due to speech problems and learning difficulties, the girl was admitted to a social program, giving her access to the services of a speech therapist and psychologist. The progress achieved throughout the first term of the school year, started waning during the pandemic lockdown, as distant learning was difficult for M. and she felt tired, demotivated and melancholic.  

The family cannot afford a summer school or costly extracurricular activities and they were very happy to find out that M. could attend Muzeiko’s Summer Academy thanks to your help. The girl shared with her aunt that this had been one of the most emotional and significant summer vacation experiences. She loved everything about Muzeiko: the exhibits, the workshops, the science stories, the climbing wall, the children whom she played with, the Makerspace where she made her first animations…

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The 8-year-old H. does not know her biological father and has been having attention deficit & hyperactivity problems, and exhibits symptoms of dyslexia and dysgraphia. She is sociable and curious, but has difficulty concentrating and a hard time retaining information. H. has no friends at school and the other children tend to avoid her. She often feels anxious and lonely.

H. attended Muzeiko’s Summer Academy with readiness and enthusiasm, completing the full two-week course. She was extremely active in all games and tasks, asking questions and participating in every activity. The problems reported by mental health professionals and teachers did not prevent her from collaborating with the other children and pursuing all her projects. Although she purportedly had difficulties in establishing fruitful relationships with peers, H. was well accepted by the group and found friends in games and assignments.

  • A group of 10 children from the humanitarian program of the Council of refugee women in Bulgaria enjoyed Muzeiko’s exhibits and brain challenges, and left with a lot of ideas for fun science pursuits. 
  • Muzeiko has added 2 new interdisciplinary lesson kits linked with the educational content for primary age children to its free-access platform for teachers MyMuzeiko.
  • Moved by a recent technology-assisted research showing that there are many people with Autism Spectrum Disorders who do not leave the perimeter of 200 meters from their homes, next on our agenda is to develop and conduct autism-friendly initiatives for children. We’ll keep you posted!

Wishing you an unforgettably joyful summer,

Muzeiko’s team

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Dear friends and supporters,

We really hope and pray that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe!

In less than a month, our lives were upset by the global COVID-19 pandemic that came so shockingly unprecedented by its scale and impact… Hectic schedules, meticulously organized routines and well-laid strategic plans were swept away, leaving people, businesses and countries in turmoil of uncertainty and fear.

In this situation, we are not going to present you yet another positive progress report pointing out the number of children who participated in our programs thanks to your generous donations. We just have no activities to communicate… There have been two “flu vacations” and an emergency Coronavirus situation declared since our last letter to you.

Muzeiko has been closed for visitors since March 9th. Currently, members of our team live stream from the “childless” Muzeiko science and art shows on Facebook every afternoon (Mon – Fri). The new temporary exhibition with live reptiles and insects can be seen only online.

However, we still would like to reach out to you to report the good news of hope.

  1. There have been a number of donations for our cause to provide access to science for every child since the COVID-19 lockdown. And we want to THANK YOU for your continuing support! It is even more valuable, because we can realize that many people and organizations, such as Muzeiko, are struggling to survive, with no possibility to generate revenues.
  2. The new situation presented  inexorable evidence of the importance of health literacy and science progress. We live in an interconnected and interdependent world and everyone’s choices and behaviors matter. That is why our societies cannot afford to leave anyone behind. The urgent challenges we face, require people with education and competences to apply learning to real-life problems and create effective solutions.
  3. The current experience of dramatic loss of our comfortable lifestyles and modus operandi made us rethink our values and priorities, and appreciate what we have… It is a powerful lesson of solidarity, testing the humanity of hearts and minds. We cannot change the past, but we can work together for a better future.

Let’s walk out of this stronger, wiser and more caring for each other!

With love and warmth,

Muzeiko’s team

Muzeiko@Home: The superpowers of soap...
Muzeiko@Home: The superpowers of soap...
Muzeiko@Home: The secrets of trees...
Muzeiko@Home: The secrets of trees...
Muzeiko@Home: How rocks are formed...
Muzeiko@Home: How rocks are formed...
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Find the right food for each beak shape
Find the right food for each beak shape

Dear friends and supporters,

At the threshold of the New Year, with eyes looking to the future in the hope of more peace and security, we are sending you our sincere thanks for your support throughout the year.

With your help, in 2019 we reached a total of 224 children from across Bulgaria (Belogradchik, Montana, Vratsa, Vidin, Brestnitsa, Sofia) – coming from schools, social care homes and outreach services. Thanks to you, some of them could see a planetarium show and participate in science workshops to learn more about stars, constellations, planets, meteors and asteroids. Others had the opportunity to walk in the shoes of ornithologists and investigate (through experiments, observations of pictures and logical associations) the connection between birds’ beaks and legs and their food and habitats.

A number of the little visitors enjoyed Muzeiko’s Christmas science workshops inspired by Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer where they found out more about reindeer, such as: why the colour of their nose is red, what causes the change of their eyes’ colour during winter and summer, how they survive in the freezing cold of the Pole…

And we already have approved the applications of another 660 kids who would visit our science museum in the period February-April 2020.

The GlobalGiving programme is gaining popularity with schools and social services and we are flowing with inspiration and ideas for more devoted and sustainable work towards improving quality and inclusiveness in education. Latest European Commission’s monitoring report for Bulgaria showed a persevering trend that socioeconomic disadvantage is still a key determinant of poor skills and low educational outcomes.

It would not be an easy task, but we are determined to be among those who would contribute to changing this alarming tendency. It is knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes that enables people to approach problems and issues in an unbiased perspective, to make informed decisions, participate fully in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity.

We hope that you will remain our allies in these pursuits.

“The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing new things.“ (Jean Piaget)

With warmest wishes for a fantastic year ahead,

Muzeiko’s team

Show me your legs, I will know where you live!
Show me your legs, I will know where you live!
Make your own bird!
Make your own bird!
Are your star maps accurate? Let's Puzzle!
Are your star maps accurate? Let's Puzzle!
Make your own constellation!
Make your own constellation!
Visit of a group from a refugee and migrant centre
Visit of a group from a refugee and migrant centre
Adolescents from a social care home
Adolescents from a social care home
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Dear supporters and friends,

Immersed in the ups and downs of the new school year, which in Bulgaria started on September 16th, we would like to take stock of our recent achievements and undertakings. Last month Muzeiko – America for Bulgaria Children’s Museum celebrated its fourth birthday and, along with the cheers, it was a time for reflection and renewed resolutions.

Achieving greater equity in education is not only a social-justice imperative. It is also a way to use resources more efficiently, and to increase the supply of knowledge and skills that fuel economic growth and promote social cohesion”, Andreas Schleicher, Director for Education and Skills, and Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, wrote in one of his 2018-year publications. Unarguably, the statement is valid all over the world, however, to Bulgaria, as one of the European Union Member States with the highest dependency between student results and their origin, it needs to motivate urgent actions.

As you know, Muzeiko Foundation recently embarked on a new challenge to engage deeper around issues of social and cultural inclusion, with the intention of creating a safe and necessary place for children of diverse backgrounds.

On August 28th, we welcomed a group of 9 children from the Centre for social rehabilitation and integration managed by CONCORDIA Foundation. It is located in the infamous Sofia suburb of Zaharna Fabrika (Sugar factory), known for its vast gypsy neighbourhood. Despite its relatively small size, it was actually quite a difficult “cohort” to manage, as the kids were aged from 5 to 14, with mixed abilities and interests, very active, one of them was with emotional problems and autism. There was a 14-year-old girl who, according to the social worker, could not read nor write, she had dropped out of school years ago and CONCORDIA staff were working hard to trace her education history and last grade-completion certificate, so that she could go back in the system. She and another teenage girl, although impressed by the fancy ambiance of Muzeiko Science Centre, initially demonstrated no interest in the activities. They kept on tampering with their phones, making selfies and staring in the screens.

It required the passion and assertion of Muzeiko’s educator to manage the group, to win their attention and make them listen while playing and running around. It was evident that the children had rarely (if ever) been exposed to enquiry-based teaching approach and the role of little explorers that they were put in was new to them.

The visit was a test for the patience, professionalism and creativity of our staff. But towards the end of the experience, when all the group was made to sit down and recapitulate the key findings of their science adventure, and we saw the gleam of interest in the eyes of some of the kids (particularly the young ones), we knew that it was worth the efforts. Even the teenage girls – who tended to stray away from the science talks, were furtively listening to the educator, and finally felt relaxed, because we offered them a safe learning environment, free from judgement, prejudice, without punishment or stigma for wrong answers.

On September 5th, Muzeiko hosted a visit for another 8 children from a residential social service in Bozhurishte district, situated on the outskirts of Sofia. Unlike the previous group, they were motivated and disciplined – as a result of the hard work of their educators, social workers and carers, and were eager to see and do as many things as possible in the museum. One of the things that impressed them most was the Maker Space studio where they had the opportunity to learn the basics of computer animation – thus equipping themselves with a new life skill.

We would stop our narrative here, as we would like to express our gratitude for your generosity, because without our donors, these “small wins” would not be possible.

It is your trust and support that push us one step further to unfold our full potential. There is a lot more still in the pipeline and with your help, we shall work hard to achieve our plans.

Yours sincerely,

Muzeiko team

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Archaeology, Paleontology, Geology can be exciting
Archaeology, Paleontology, Geology can be exciting

Dear supporters and friends,

Almost three months have passed from our previous progress report and we wish to provide an update on the latest developments in our endeavors to invite traditionally deprived communities to participate in scientific enquiries and knowledge.

In the month of May, we hosted a visit of 78 second-graders from the depopulating town of Vidin in Northwestern Bulgaria. When asked what they liked most, an avalanche of answers ensued: earthquakes, space department, everything…. The teachers shared their plans to start project-based cycle integrating educational content from Physics, Astronomy, Math, addressing planets, solar system, galaxies, constellations, and the experience in Muzeiko would serve as inspiration. And the school would strive to find resources for more workshops in the children’s museum. However, once again, we had to acknowledge the bitter fact that there was a considerable gap between Sofia and the countryside in terms of learning opportunities and financial means.

Thereby, guided by the vision that education is to be empowering and inclusive for all, we launched a Muzeiko@School program aimed to reach out to children who cannot afford to visit Muzeiko and whose schools find it difficult to organize a field trip because of parents/guardians’ permission and bureaucratic formalities. This initiative also seeks to address children from social care services/ institutions who are deprived of parental care and/or socially and pedagogically neglected.

In these pursuits, we contacted CONCORDIA Foundation, which works with children aged 5-18 years and families from marginalized groups living in poverty, with mild mental and/ or physical disabilities, and those who have dropped out of the education system. We agreed to conduct a science show with a workshop in one of their centers, as well as to host a visit to Muzeiko for the children residing in another residential facility.

Hopefully, thanks to your good and generous hearts, our next project report will bring good news and share positive experience from our work with CONCORDIA’s children.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude for your donations and wish you sparkling summer mood with one of our favorite quotes from the Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman:

“Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn't matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough.”

Muzeiko team

Walking in the shoes of ancient people
Walking in the shoes of ancient people
Exploring the challenges of urbanization
Exploring the challenges of urbanization
Who says that construction is not for girls...
Who says that construction is not for girls...
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Organization Information

Muzeiko Foundation

Location: Sofia - Bulgaria
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Albena Koleva
Sofia, Bulgaria
$15,288 raised of $30,000 goal
 
175 donations
$14,712 to go
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