Community development, Social inclusion

Bringing community together

To build effective community partnership in one specific city neighborhood to prevent social isolation of drug users within the community


Who is behind this?

Elmira Nesheva

Center for Humane Policy Foundation



Idea pitch

Engage the community of Banishora neighborhood which is a part of Vazrajdane District at Sofia city in dialogue about the topic of drug use and issues that drug users face in the community. The aim is to bring together people who use drugs /PWUD/ and community leaders who usually are not in contact in their everyday life. Through engaging PWUD in activities for a better community would impact the community's attitudes towards this group.

Where will your project idea take place?

Banishora neighborhood at Vazrajdane District, Sofia, Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

While drug addiction is chronic, treatable health condition, the community of Banishora is more likely to think of addiction as a moral failing than a medical condition, Moreover, the community in Banishora neighborhood in which it is more likely to meet people with drug addiction /who also are homeless, poor, socially isolated, ex-prisoners/, had significantly more negative opinions about them than those with other health problems. Consequently, this community is more opposed to policies that might help drug addicts in their recovery. The societal challenge that the project will face is a conflict of values between traditional view of community life as a closed and self-sufficient unit and new demands of the modern society - as an open and supportive to those who are in need.

Who are you doing it for?

Through the project we are going to meet three main target groups: 1) people who use drugs and visit Pink House, which is the only structured free of charge program for people who use drugs in Bulgaria, and which is located in Banishora neighborhood, in Vazrajdane District; 2) local authorities - the Mayor of Vazrajdane District, at which territory is Banishora neighborhood, and other other key persons from Sofia Municipality; 3) community leaders from Banishora neighborhood - Kindergarten and School principals, teachers, parents who are in the school's/kindergarten's boards, neighbors.

How do you plan to get there?

Project' s activities:
1. Communication with Local Municipality /Vazrajdane/about the needs for improving public spaces in the community of Banishora neighborhood.
2. Setting up a group for implementation of activities. The " action group will be composed by people who use drugs and are clients of the Pink House.
3. Implementation of the activities: cleaning the garbage from the streets and parks in the neighborhood; re-painting fences and benches of the public buildings /schools, kindergartens, others; planting trees and flowers; mowing lawns.
4. Visualization of the work that had been done through social media channels.
5. Organize an "Open doors" day for neighbors and representatives of local authorities.
6. Providing round table " We can live together better" for discussing needs and ways for support of people who use drugs and how community should respond.
7. Setting up a stable partnership and regular communication with people from the community - signing a Memorandum for mutual cooperation.

What are the expected results?

We expect that at the end of the project phase the Banishora community' s attitude towards people who use drugs will be changed. Regarding to evidence based best practices people are more responsive when met and know individuals with drug related issues and are familiar with their personal stories, and after encountering user perspectives. This is the main trigger for changing their minds and attitudes.
Moreover, when community sees that these people have abilities and even talents, and they want to contribute to the community will be a crucial for social change at local level. However, we expect that after the end phase of the project local community and local authorities will be more supportive and aware with needs of people who use drugs.

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

Our project will strength active citizenship because it contains two main elements of active citizenship: the first is: "be active, face the problem, and communicate for resolving using the available sources" and the second which is: " listening to other people, reading information and checking your bias, because it’s not your community, it’s our community".
We are going to use " see something, do something" model, where citizens participate in their communities by identifying problems and creating solutions rather than complain and avoid the problem. Moreover, through gathering together and involving in common activities two completely different groups of people, we will raise awareness and knowledge about the issues which people who use drugs face and about support that they need of.

Why is this idea important to you?

Our team brings together leading activists and professionals in the field of drug addiction and drug related issues in Bulgaria. Our main goal is to ensure governmental answers for the issues of much marginalized people who use drugs, and to find ways to improve their existence. Started in 2016, our team's mission is to put the highly sensitive issues of drug use on society’s agenda; to test and implement the best evidence-based practices, and to provide alternative professional practices and interventions to stigma and punitive approaches. Since 2019, the Foundation had started to manage the Pink House-the last remaining program for drug users in Bulgaria, located at Banishora neighborhood, for covering the basic needs of these vulnerable members of community.

€ 25100,-

Total budget

€ 25100,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1. Expenses for activities' materials - 2500 EUR
2. Expenses for visualization and promotion of project activities - 3000 EUR
3. Personnel costs - 10040 EUR
4. Expenses for motivation of PWUD - 3200 EUR
5. Office expenses- 560 EUR
6. Public relations expenses - 2300 EUR
7. Elaboration and dissemination of videos about the implementation of project activities - 3500 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would be glad to receive constructive and realistic comments on the projects idea, which will help us to improve our work and will inspire the team for innovative ideas.


Pink House



Idea created on April 22, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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