Education and research, Youth participation and empowerment

School of Empathy

Bringing emotional intelligence to children at school and fostering intercultural dialogue, integration of discriminated children, and emotional wellbeing of both students and teachers.


Who is behind this?

Agita Jaunzeme

School for Emotional Health


Who is joining forces?

Кадърѣ Медия


Open Sofia Foundation / Open Bulgaria



Idea pitch

Schools in the Plovdiv countryside and in rural areas are characterized by low participation in social, civic, and political life; in this way, children lose their interest in education, lack trust in institutions, and there’s poor community cohesion.

We want to address this by creating a network between various schools, providing teachers with free professional coaching sessions, and offering children non-formal education activities to introduce them to empathy and emotional intelligence.

Where will your project idea take place?

Plovdiv region, both in Plovdiv municipality and in towns and villages in the region around.

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Rural areas around Plovdiv are characterized by poor social inclusion; people are disillusioned towards institutions and have limited access to cultural and social events. Children in rural areas don’t see school as a positive environment, and they often end up demotivated. Exclusion is very common and teachers often feel helpless.
We want to change this perspective and increase students’ enthusiasm and trust in school as an institution and a safe place to learn. We want to do so by a combined approach: non-formal education to children and free professional coaching sessions to teachers.
With our initiative, we aim to connect schools in Plovdiv and in rural areas nearby to create a network and start a constructive and long-lasting conversation about the mental health of the children.

Who are you doing it for?

We plan to work with primary school children, their parents, and teachers.

We plan to organize non-formal education methods to introduce children to empathy, creativity, respect, and emotional intelligence.

In addition, we want to offer free coaching to teachers. We plan to execute several activities with them to see how a teacher’s overall well-being can impact children’s wellbeing. We want to organize regular meetings with teachers and parents to foster parents' involvement in children's education. Our aim is to connect schools in the Plovdiv region (both in Plovdiv municipality and in the surrounding villages and towns), to connect children from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

How do you plan to get there?

1. We have a list of 15 potential schools;
2. Contact schools via email. Reach out to schools in Plovdiv and in towns and villages nearby:
- Explain our idea, our goals, the execution process, and we make a call to collaboration;
- Survey the school and recognize the issues related to exclusion and mental health and current measures;
- Arrange with the school possibility to work with 1-2 teachers and classes;
3. Agree with the schools on the process, starting date, availability of the class, teacher, and execution time;
4. Do a preliminary survey with children, parents, and teachers. The surveys will be different for each target group and will help us understand the class’ situation and the issues they face;
5. Start the main activity (over the period of 6 months):
- The teacher has a mentorship/coaching session and psychological support (on a weekly basis);
- Children will do non-formal learning activities;
6.Over the whole period we continue with bi-monthly surveys to understand the progress and results of the project;
7. Connect the schools:
- Organize meetings between different schools to connect them;
- Establish a network with all the schools involved. So that they can cooperate even after the end of the 6 months;
8. After finalizing the project, present the results to the school. If agreed upon, we will publish the results on social media.

What are the expected results?

1. Children will be introduced to topics such as the importance of mental health, emotional intelligence, empathy, inclusion, self-esteem, and self-care.
2. Teachers educated on mental health and emotional intelligence will be ready to provide the necessary support to the children in need.
3. Children will become aware of their role in society, and there’s a higher chance they’ll become active citizens when they grow up.
4. After the end of the project, civic education activities and workshops can become a good practice that can continue regularly.
5. We will have a clearer understanding of how our initiative can improve well-being and inclusion at school. This can provide information and the possibility to execute such a project successfully in other schools, regions and countries.

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

Children are the adults of tomorrow. We believe that after this project they'll become more self-confident and proactive, and there’s a higher chance they’ll become active citizens when they grow up. We will involve teachers and parents in our activities with the aim of supporting children development.
Thanks to the creation of a network among different schools in Plovdiv and in the countryside, children and teachers will feel more connected, empowered, and motivated to participate in civic and social life.
To make a long-lasting impact, we'll establish a long-term cooperation between us and the schools - further ideas can be discussed and implemented. We can implement this methodology and involve other schools in and outside Bulgaria to create a wider network working on a common goal.

Why is this idea important to you?

We’re a group of youth workers and mentors who have been living and working in Bulgaria for several years. We all believe that school has huge power in creating a tangible impact on the community, but we also think that schools in our region face several issues. Teachers often lack motivation and emotional intelligence; as a consequence, they have low empathy towards students, who don’t see them as “role models” anymore.

We want to empower both teachers and students to make school a happier and healthier environment, which can give the basis for social inclusion and active civic participation. After our activities, children will be more motivated to take part in social and civic events, and teachers will have a more solid understanding of their role and responsibility.

€ 27000,-

Total budget

€ 27000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Materials for workshops - 1440 EUR
Coaching for teachers - 5760 EUR
Mentorship for the team - 960 EUR
Transportation - 1080 EUR
Project manager - 3600 EUR
Marketing Manager - 1200 EUR
Main Trainer - 3600 EUR
Second trainer - 3600 EUR
Third trainer - 3600 EUR
Administration / accountant - 500 EUR
Public advertisement (banners, posters) - 720 EUR
Unexpected expenses / misc - 940 EUR

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

It would be great to know your feedback about our idea and to connect with organizations working on a similar project. We want to create a supportive network and establish new cooperations to make a greater impact!


School of Empathy


Idea created on April 24, 2021
Last edit on April 25, 2021

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