This project addresses a glaring lack of public speaking opportunities and education in the Bulgarian formal education system. By annually engaging 1000 Bulgarian high school students from various backgrounds in English-language public speaking and debate tournaments around the country, this project gives them the skills and confidence to express their convictions freely and effect change based on them. This experience will equip them to be competent future leaders in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian formal education curriculum puts minimal emphasis on teaching students practical skills and provides a negligible amount of public speaking opportunities at the high school level. For students, this leads to a pervasive lack of confidence in articulating their beliefs, nurturing a toxic culture of apathy and inaction at a young age. This project will affect 1000 Bulgarian high schoolers annually, providing much needed public speaking opportunities to students across the country.
BEST Foundation organizes several English-language public speaking tournaments across Bulgaria each year, which can be attended by any Bulgarian high school student. Speaking in front of a diverse group of peers develops the students' confidence that what they have to say matters, and doing so in English prepares them to be an active contributor in today's dynamic global community. This confidence manifests in them being proactive and dedicated changemakers in their communities.
By annually helping 1000 Bulgarian high school students develop their public speaking skills and increase their confidence in their beliefs, this project will enable them to be integral future leaders in Bulgaria and effect positive change according to those beliefs. Some of these students have already begun to make that change - cooking at a soup kitchen, leading classes at their local primary schools and kindergartens, and even holding charity events to benefit animal shelters and orphanages.