Over the past 3 months, we’ve seen some exciting developments at Step for Bulgaria that we wanted to update you on.
1. We have completed our Human Rights training project, funded with the help of the CEE Trust for Civil Society, which covered about 70 teenagers living in orphanages in 6 Bulgarian cities (Sofia, Plovdiv, Berkovitsa, Gabrovo, Silistra and Varna). At the closing events, the participating youth and volunteers presented artwork, computer presentations and public debates demonstrating the new knowledge and experiences they have developed thanks to the 2-month training. Each of you can see some of those in the video produced about the project here. Please spread around the word about it so more people can recognize the importance of supporting underprivileged youth in understanding and knowing how to defend their human rights.
2. We have continued the year-long life skills education program with the last theme for this year: professional skills. On this topic some of our most experienced volunteer trainers are engaging their students from orphanages in Sofia, Berkovitsa and Plovdiv on designing and implementing group projects. Each project has been conceived by the students at each location. The main purpose of the project is to deliver a final product/service and to help the participants develop and practice key professional skills each of them has identified as important for their career orientation and first professional experiences. Given these directions, our students in Sofia have decided to write and publish a book that reveals true facts and experiences of children living without parental care in social institutions. The Plovdiv group has decided to create a tourist guide about Plovdiv. The students in Berkovitsa have been working on a magazine publication. The final products of each group will be presented at a special celebratory event in early July, where we hope to have as a honorary guest the vice-minister of Social Affairs.
The Sofia group has already presented a preview of the book to external audience in early June and has received some very useful feedback. In addition, this helped us connect to a professional publishing house which might be interested in publishing the book. The organizers of the TEDxBG conference have expressed their interest in purchasing several hundred copies of the book to distribute to conference participants next January.
3. As the summer is quickly approaching, we’ve been looking to identify internship opportunities for the most serious and devoted participants in the life-skills program. We’ll aim to finalize internship schedule and plans within the next two weeks, so we can have at least 5 children guaranteed with professional training and exposure this summer. We have already found a placement for one of them, who has started work as an assistant –cook at a seaside hotel thanks to our partners at Trivia Tour.
4. Thanks to the hard work of our volunteers and board members, we have applied for and won a grant from the Bulgarian Foundation: Workshop for Civil Initiatives which will cover 80% of our program costs for next year (~15,000 EUR). We hope we can raise the other 20% with your great help and continuous support.
Thank you all for maintaining your contributions and providing spiritual support when we need them the most! Without you, our work and our students’ personal growth and development as responsible and successful adults would be impossible! Thank you!
Step for Bulgaria management team
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