Human rights, Youth participation and empowerment

Circle of Support

Creating a supporting environment for vulnerable youths living in social services in order to protect their rights and better include them in the social processes that are relevant to them

Creators

Who is behind this?

Gergana Encheva

Gavroche Association

http://www.gavroche-bg.org

Bulgaria

Idea

Idea pitch

Youths living in social services, as well as youths with disabilities don’t know their rights and are often excluded and discriminated. We will teach them to be a part of the social processes, to understand their civilian rights and know the local institutions by participating in meeting and discussions with citizens, representatives of local institutions and specialists. This people will share their experience with dealing with hardships and will support the youths to develop new skills.

Where will your project idea take place?

The project will take place in Varna, North-Eastern Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The young people who have grown up without a family, including Roma and people with disabilities, living in our resident social services have limited social interactions outside of the services and their respectful working environments. They have no experience in discussing issues which puts them at risk of being manipulated and discriminated. On the other hand, the city has a lot of volunteers, groups and specialists that can help them. A big part of the citizens are not informed about these people’s needs, they don’t understand the difficulties they face and the vulnerable young people don’t take take initiative and don't participate in the social life as much as they should. We want to put them together in discussions to help them to learn more about each other and develop new skills.

Who are you doing it for?

8 young people who have grown up without a family, including Roma and people with disabilities, living in our resident social services. They have few friends and a small circle of contacts. The lack of experience and social contacts prevents them from standing up for themselves, making them easily discriminated. They often feel left out and lied to and wish to be accompanied and aided in everyday life.
15 volunteers – citizens of different ages, with different education, experience and professional skills who want to learn more about the vulnerable youth’s needs and difficulties.

How do you plan to get there?

1. We will conduct a survey of the youths and the volunteers and use the information we gather to evaluate the needs. Together, we will choose the topics that will be discussed – human and civil rights, discrimination, social communication, active participation in social processes, decision-making, etc.
2. We will do three workshops a month in an informal environment. The participants will discuss the issues the young people face and how to solve them. We will look at different strategies and relevant information. We will invite specialists who can consult the participants. We will motivate everyone to share their opinion and actively participate in the discussion.
3. Every two months we will organize a meeting between the participants and representatives of different institutions where we will share what we have learned during our workshops and the issues we have discussed.
4. We will conduct three meetings at the young people’s workplaces where we will get to know their employers and the teams they work with. We will share the issues the young people face with them and discuss how we can help them get better integrated at the workplace and protect themselves from discrimination and being neglected.
5. Good examples – we will share a participant’s story. We will talk about how they deal with the hardships they face, how they protect their rights.

What are the expected results?

8 youths will have learned more about their rights, the institutions and will be able to analyse the issues of their social environment, give their opinion on matters that are relevant to them and take active part in solving problems. More than 40 meetings with different participants will have taken place. Ideas will have been shared and the opinion of the vulnerable people will have been heard. Citizens and representatives of at least 4 institutions will have learned more about the issues that the vulnerable people face in overcoming social exclusion, discrimination and combating inequalities. The citizens’ engagement in helping vulnerable youth and protecting their rights will have increased. The good examples of solving problems and dealing with hardship will have reached more people.

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

The meetings and discussions will give these vulnerable youths the opportunity to acquire knowledge and skills in order to improve their abilities to take part in the processes that are relevant to them and look for solutions to the issues they face in their everyday life, as well as feel more confident in themselves and share their point of view with specialists and institutions. Taking part in these meetings will give the volunteers and the local institutions the opportunity to learn more about the issues of vulnerable young people. They will learn how to help them, how to better analyse hardships and having acquired a better understanding of these youths, they will know how to include them.

Why is this idea important to you?

Project manager - one of the founders of the organisation, have 25 years of experience in managing projects and social services for children, youths and families.
Psychologist -16 years of experience in helping children, youths and families acquired by working in a shelter for homeless children, day care center for street children, protected homes for orphans. Has done workshops with students and volunteers and organize campaigns for support for vulnerable people.
Social worker - 15 years of experience in working with vulnerable youths in protected homes, supporting them to develop life skills.
We have seen that providing shelter, food and work is not enough. In order to lead an independent life, the youths needs to have more social skills and to be encourage for active participation.

€ 20000,-

Total budget

€ 20000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Personnel cost – 16 500 EUR
Material expenses – 300 EUR
Meetings – 3000 EUR
Office expenses 200 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We would appreciate any additional advice on how to better include the local institutions and make them hear the vulnerable people’s voice.

Team

Gera

Idea created on April 26, 2021

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