Social inclusion, Youth participation and empowerment

Be active, be free

Civic education, mentoring and networking for youngsters in the Sofia region, Bulgaria. Cross-sectoral cooperation promoting civic engagement, active citizenship, social inclusion for a better future


Who is behind this?

Yana Traykova

Bulgarian foundation for research, education and entrepreneurship (Bfree)


Who is joining forces?

Leader Academy



Idea pitch

Part 1-10 days training in topics such as leadership,active citizenship,self-awareness,diversity,social inclusion,the core idea of democracy and many more in a rural area close to Gotse Delchev.Part 2 will bring people from different backgrounds together to help the youngsters develop projects to help solve locally rooted issues in their communities.Young people will have the opportunity to meet people from the business,NGO and local authorities for the purpose of discussion and project ideation

Where will your project idea take place?

Venue in the Pirin Mountain area Popovi Livadi called Inter Resort Pirin and Sofia, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Our experience in working with youngsters shows that those from smaller settlements often have less opportunities and hence low: self-esteem/desire for risk-taking/motivation,significant fear of failure and tend to be pessimistic about their future.The mindset of the elders contributes to this,as they’re not welcoming towards work in the NGO sector and volunteering projects.The youngsters who want to do something with an impact on their community often hear "find a real job".Volunteering and experience in a NGO is tend to be more highly appreciated on the labor market.The lack of good examples and supporters in the local communities increase the possibility for them to give up on the idea of active citizenship and not consider it at all although it has an impact on different levels.

Who are you doing it for?

The target group of the project is young people between 16 and 29 years of age from the Gotse Delchev vicinity. The town of Gotse Delchev lost its importance with the development of Blagoevgrad as the administrative, cultural and educational center in Southwestern Bulgaria.

The lack of opportunities and initiatives in the region affects the development of the youngsters. We want to change that, because when young people don't have a powerful 'why' that drives them, it’s easy to throw themselves into negative habits, negative jobs, relationships, and behavior.

The aim is subsequently to have the participants go back to their hometowns and carry out a project, which will help for the creation of a civil society or at least to start discussion on a local level.

How do you plan to get there?

In the region there is a big ethnic group called Pomaks who live separately in a very isolated environment where young people don’t have access to opportunities - we would like to focus on their inclusion. The 10 days training and then the 3 days networking and practical workshops will give them confidence that they are capable and heard:
1.The methods which will be used will develop the analytical, creative and critical thinking of the participants.
2.By an example they’ll learn that few things could motivate them more than having a positive effect on other people.
1. Information campaign - online and offline to attract participants and raise awareness
2.The 10 days training bootcamp follows a well-established methodology for building leadership qualities, including indoor lectures, seminars, discussions, games, outdoor activities, group and individual sessions, practical tasks, workshops and other innovative methods for motivation and learning (experiential learning, game-based learning etc)
3.The 3 days event will help for developing ecosystems at the local and regional level, and expanding the scope of civic activities through the realization of new projects and attracting new audiences.
4.Mentoring for 3 months & Creating an “Alumni Club” group on Facebook with the following benefits: continuous exchange of knowledge and experience; keeping in touch.

What are the expected results?

During the project the youngsters will have the opportunity to create a vision for their future and meet other active people, with whom they can build real, meaningful, sustainable relationships and develop projects to engage the community actors. We believe that with the right strategy, plan and support, the success of the youngsters who have gone through the program is inevitable. Success for us is: more open-minded, confident and active citizens, who work proactively for positive change; establishing a culture of living in diversity; using a wide range of opinions for creating the best solutions.
To be more specific, we believe that there would be at least 1 or 2 bigger projects and many smaller initiatives realized from our participants in their hometowns and villages.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We believe that everyone has the right and the potential to act responsibly as a citizen and to take on advocacy for his or her interests and the interests of the community. And we know that the youngsters need just a little bit of courage, support and inspiration to do so. First the participants will discuss the needs and challenges in their communities, then with the help of non-formal education they’ll learn about impact, social inclusion, democracy, diversity, leadership, networking, cooperation, communication, fundraising, advocacy, campaigning, volunteer management. Then we’ll meet them with experts who will educate, inspire and help them to act. Experiential learning has the most long lasting impact and building a network of like-minded people helps for multiplication of the results

Why is this idea important to you?

Y. Traykova-founder of Bfree-Her professional career is with a focus on more youth engagement,the development of intercultural competence,social intrepreneurship,culture and education.
A. Iliev-a youth worker since 2012.Co-founder of Leader Academy - works for academic,career and personal development of young people between 16 and 29.
Y. Ivanova is very active in four NGOs where she works in the fields:leadership,entrepreneurship,culture,sustainable lifestyle and urban environment.
E. Georgieva has extensive experience in project and financial management, diplomacy,marketing and consulting
*It’s not the full list
Civic Education and Social Inclusion are topics that are very dear to what we have been doing.

€ 28050,-

Total budget

€ 28050,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Accommodation - 6000 EUR
-group of 25 - 30 people in Inter Resort Pirin for 10 days
-group of 25 - 30 people in Sofia for 3 days
Travel - 1000 EUR
Rental - 2500 EUR
Lecturers - 3000 EUR
Mentoring - 2000 EUR
Catering - 1000 EUR
Administration - 10000 EUR
-project manager for 9 months
-project coordinator for 9 months
Interactive online platform (website) - 1000 EUR
Publicity and communication - 500 EUR
Photo and video - 800 EUR
Other unexpected expenses - 250 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Would you implement this project in your countries?
How would you engage the different groups for a dialogue?
Any other advise you have for us?




Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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