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Elder & Nettle | Civic Europe
Arts and cultural activities, Community development

Elder & Nettle

Center for Lifelong Learning and Skills


Who is behind this?

Mariana Assenova

New Culture Foundation (NCF)


Who is joining forces?

Community Center Izgrev 2019 - Gorna Bela Rechka Vilagge


Municipality of Varshets


Ravni BG


Izgrev 2019 - free place for education, culture, health, mutual care, quality of life. Ravni BG, 30 organizations for democratic values, human rights, sustainable development, freedom of speech.


Idea pitch

We are the Region with the poorest living standard in EU. We are going to change this statistics. Trough non formal education, functional medicine, culture and food, permaculture and earthworks in our programmes designed for all ages - children, youth, middle aged and elderly people. And the Northwest of Bulgaria will turn into the ecological, cozy and desirable place to study, work, create and live, it deserves to be.

Where will your project idea take place?

Gorna Bela Rechka village, Varshets municipality, Montana region, Northwest of Bulgaria.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The North West part of Bulgaria is constantly heading the Eurostat reports as the Region with the poorest living standard. The Socio-economic profile of the region on the web page of the EU Commission describes fully the challenges we address.
Lowest socio-economic performance in EU, Eurostat (2019):
- lowest GDP - €3.5bn, 6.7% of the national GDP - only 4600 euros (South-Western region of Bulgaria - 11,700 euros);
- lowest regional GDP per capita, in terms of purchasing power standards - only 31% of the European Union average (to 628% in UK);
- lowest employment rate with a steady decrease – 58.8% (national average of 67.7%);
- highest unemployment 11.3%, double than the country average of 5.2% - due to the increased migration of young people.

Who are you doing it for?

The proposed project includes various target groups from the region and those that can be attracted - children of preschool and school age through innovative methods and non-formal forms of education; their parents, who seek their development by returning to their roots and seeking change in their lives - new challenges and a new way of life related to nature; older people in the region who want to have a dignified life and active antiquities - new creative skills, active lifestyle and computer knowledge; the Roma community ( kids and people) - literacy in different directions for an equal start in the community; young people and youth workers involved in empathy and learning in nature; attracting migrants to dwell in the region and open new working places.

How do you plan to get there?

The proposal is developed in four directions and for each separate instruments are indicated: Permaculture and EarthBuilding - workshops, seminars, movie screenings and camps for all ages; Education, Youth Work and Ecocentric Development - 4 seasons school. Sessions to strengthen the links between children, parents and teachers. Youth Workers and Teachers' training in innovative educational methods, tools and approaches. Seminars and workshops for elderly people in IT, languages and literacy; Functional medicine - health coaching training for specialists and seminars for all ages; Culture & Food - International Festival of Memories GOATMILK, Centriphery - an inclusive EU project. Monthly workshops in Arts for beginners in all ages. Classical, Jazz & Etno concerts .

What are the expected results?

The main result of the project will be changed statistics for the Region. An increase in various indicators among the locals and the attraction of new settlers in the region.
Indicators are set for each individual targets:
- up to 40 children passed the seasonal school and up to 20 trained youth workers;
- up to 150 adults have undergone training offered at the center;
- up to 30 families (children and adults) from the Roma community have participated in non-formal education and literacy programs;
- over 50 elderly people have gone through art, literacy and computer skills sessions;
- over 200 people have participated in the Goat Milk Memories Festival and the Centriphery project;
- up to 10 new jobs have been created;
- 5 to 10 new families living in the region, incl. migrants.

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

The Center for Lifelong Learning and skills Development will support various target groups in 4 areas - non-formal education and ecocentric development, functional medicine, culture and food, permaculture and earthworks. The center will offer programmes for all ages children, young people, middle aged and elderly people.
Programmes and courses offered will be distributed in the whole region - in the center, distantly (online), in different small towns.
Attracts young families with children to move to small towns around. Opens new working places for people. Distinguished lifestyle for elderly people.

Why is this idea important to you?

New Culture Foundation operates in Northwestern Bulgaria since 2003. All educational and cultural projects developed and implemented since then were aimed at solving problems in the Region. Depopulation, poverty, abandonment, poverty, lack of economical opportunities, low self-esteem were some of the topics addressed. We believe the North west Bulgaria is a clean, ecological, cozy and desirable place to study, work, create and live. This is the reason we want to draw the attention of people looking for a new way of life to the region.

€ 61700,-

Total budget

€ 48900,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1. Travel & accommodation - 7 200
2. Personnel costs: 4 people + experts fees + artists fees + technical + services - 30 500
3. PR & Communication & Dissemination - 5 000
4. Print (design, layout) - 5 200
5. Office rent and consumables - 1000
6. Reconstruction - 7 500
7. Materials & equipment - 5 300

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

Any comment or idea are welcomed. Any educational method already implemented will be of help. Any inspirational approach already tested will be appreciated.




Mariana Assenova


Ilko Asenov

Idea created on May 27, 2020
Last edit on May 27, 2020

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