Interfaith youth camp and academy aim to build bridges of tolerance among young people, mutual understanding, acceptance and respect for the variety of faith traditions, generations and cultures. Training the youth how to live together, communicate more effectively and be more welcoming to "the other". Establishing a relationship with the arts which are known to transcend boundaries of any kind. Improving communication skills and acquiring knowledge for conflict resolution.
The intercultural camp and academy will take place in Plovdiv - one the oldest cities in Europe
Bulgaria is a post-socialist country. We are facing problems with civic engagement and low human rights awareness and understanding. Our focus are young people from several parts of the country and from different religious/ethnic backgrounds and minority groups. Living for a week together, having training sessions, workshops and art activities, they will learn to live together, communicate better and be more tolerant to “the other”. Another thing that is to be gained from this experience will be to establish an intimate spiritual relationship with this different community. Children will learn that in its essence dialogue means keeping one’s faith and tradition while being enriched by the built interfaith friendship.
Our aim is to bring together for a week 50 young people (13-17 years) from different parts of Bulgaria, of different ethnic/religious traditions, minority and marginalised groups. Having good partnership relations with Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Muslim, Armenian, Jewish religious leaders and local organizations we will select our participants by recommendation from them and with an online interview, questionnaire and application form. Every participant should state his/her motivation and contribution to the program. Certificates will be given to all those who accomplish the camp and academy. Beneficiaries are all those young people and their local communities.
Within the period of seven days youngsters from 13 to 17 together with their leaders will have a chance to learn about different religions traditions - Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox, Muslim, Protestant and Jews. They will be building together bridges of tolerance, mutual understanding,acceptance and respect for the variety of faith traditions, generations and cultures. Along with that they will pass the Civic academy. During the academy participants will improve their communication skills, teamwork and conflict solving through non-formal learning methods - trainings, experiential learning, simulations and so on. Civic academy will be organized by Institute for Social integration (ISI). ISI has 18 years of experience in organizing various trainings in the civil sector.
As a result of this project we want to make an impact on two levels. Firstly, we hope that our participants will increase their knowledge about different cultures, that they will become aware of the needs of minorities and marginalized groups. Empathy and knowledge about good practices for intercultural youth work would increase.
Secondly, we hope that they will develop active listening skills, media/video production skills, organizational, project management and leadership skills and we will equip them with good skills on active civic engagement.
The project has as its main objective the creation of a more tolerant society. That would be achieved by teaching the participants how to tackle local challenges which have emerged as a result of prejudices and discrimination of religious and ethnic community members. We would double the desired impact by providing relevant transferable tools to the participants as for them to offer solutions in their respective communities – where they live, work and interact with others. The acquaintance with the different communication channels, in addition to representatives from the local authority, will have a positive effect on both the democratic vision and active citizenship of the locals.
Confrontation is getting more violent as social division and crisis in spirituality are exacerbating. The most effective mitigation and prevention measure is actually a community investment in social impact: nurturing a culture of understanding and cooperation from the early years of a human. This is why BRIDGES together with Institute for Social Integration are going to cooperate for the next edition of the “Bridge-Inter-Cultures”- interfaith youth camp + academy, an unique methodological tool which could be further developed and applied in other contexts of interfaith work with children and youth.
Funding requested from Civic Europe
Travel and accommodation participants - 11000 EUR
Personnel costs (project manager, coordinator of the project and accounting) - 6000 EUR
Trainers - 5000 EUR
Office expenses - 3000 EUR
Photographers - 1000 EUR
Public relations and media - 2000 EUR
Office materials - 1000 EUR
Promotional materials, incl. preparation and printing (t-shirts, brochures,vinyls) - 2000 EUR
Toolkit and exhibition panels - 3000 EUR
If any other organization from the platform has conducted a similar project, we would appreciate recommendations for the better realization of ours. Sharing of good practices, comments and the like is more than welcome.