Health, Youth participation and empowerment

Youth activation through volleyball & camaraderie

Creating a unique team sport environment as a basis for a future development of an active and healthy post-pandemic youth community in the town of Svilengrad.


Who is behind this?

Lyubomir Apostolov

Association Sport club "Gram v raya-Svilengrad"



Idea pitch

Since March 2020, the everyday life of young people has changed a lot due to COVID-19 pandemic. Spending a lot of time at home, staying out of ordinary school and social environments, excessive usage of electronic devices all have lead to desocialization, lack of physical movement, losing motivation and hope for the future, depression. In this situation, we believe that team sports, and particularly volleyball, can play a major role in the activisation and re-socialization of local teenagers.

Where will your project idea take place?

"The Door of Europe" - Municipality of Svilengrad, South-Eastern Bulgaria

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

The project's main aim is to use volleyball as a basis for future development of an active, diverse and stable youth community in Svilengrad region. Volleyball is a unique team sport, which has the abilities to unite people, to stimulate and encourage teamwork, to create friendships and to foster mutual understanding. These qualities are extremely important and needed in order to develop an active youth community. For the past ten years quite many young people have left Svilengrad region for studies or work. In order to keep more young people in the region, we need to unite them and to give them opportunities to develop their personal and social skills, involving them in something bigger and more valuable for the whole community - making them part of a team both on and off the sport field.

Who are you doing it for?

The main target groups for the current project are young people, at the age of 10-17 years, living in Svilengad municipality. Our initial plan is to involve more than 200 youngsters in all project activities. In this number, we have included 50 youngsters who live in the villages in Svilengrad municipality, and who attend the only local village school, located in the village of Levka. We have also planned to include young participants from all the other local schools in Svilengrad. We plan to create a permanent volunteer project team of 15 youngsters, who have participated in the preparation of the project proposal and who will also particiate in the project's implementation. This will help them develop important organizational and leadership skills and improve their teamwork competences.

How do you plan to get there?

Our project's approach has in mind the negative COVID-19 effects on young people's lives. The activities are based on non-formal educational methods, centered around active participation and learning through doing.
1: In order to attract youngsters' attention towards volleyball, we will include open trainings and demonstrations in the local schools. The main aim is to provoke the interest and to attract young people to the sport field.
2: Organizing free regular volleyball trainings on weekly basis for youngsters at different ages (10-13, 14-16, 17-19), aiming at improving their physical condition and motor skills, but also at creating a friendly environment, in which they like to spend time.
3: Inclusion of activities, which are not connected only with sport - discussions, games, simulations, debates, etc. Thus developing a broad range of youth social skills and team spirit, resulting in implementation of series of future youth-lead volunteer activities for nature preservation, charity campaigns and support for people in need.
4: Creating an area, where youngsters will be able to meet "out of the sport hall", spend time together, have talks, share and develop ideas. Monthly face-to-face meetings with successful local people - businessmen, lawyers, politicians, etc. in order to learn from their experience and discuss local issues like how to keep young people in the region.

What are the expected results?

By implementation of the project phase, we expect to build a solid basis for future development of an active, supportive, responsible and open-minded youth community in our hometown. Right now the world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and we need to put a lot of work and efforts in order to overcome its negative effects for young people. At the end of the project we hope that we will have changed local youngsters' attitude and thinking by bringing them back together both at the sport field and out of it - through practicing volleyball as a sport activity, participating in different youth activities, making new friends, spending time together, planning local social initiatives and learning new things and developing personal and social skills and competences in the whole process.

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

We would like to explore the comradeship and team spirit that volleyball brings as a sport and to build the foundation of an active community of young people around it. Very often modern young people are not focussed enough, tend to spend a lot of time using electronic devices and don't pay attention to the things that happen around them. In order to change that, we would like to offer them a different kind of experience, which combines sport, exercise and movement with a friendly environment, youth spirit and participation in various non-formal education activities. This way we would like to turn their attention towards social issues or topics like local community or institution problems, policies on local/regional or national level, opportunities for youth development in our region.

Why is this idea important to you?

We are a team of 4 volunteer youth activists - Lyubo (35, English teacher and project expert), Stoycho (28, Deputy Director of a local school), Jivko (27, border policeman) and Rosi (27, psychologist). We met in 2010 as members of a former youth NGO in Svilengrad and started participating in local youth activities, campaigns and in international youth projects under EU programs. We had the luck to participate in more than 40 different projects and to go through incredible life-changing experiences, meeting a lot of people and acquiring solid knowledge, ideas and methods about youth work in EU countries. In 2020, we decided to establish SC "Gram v raya-Svilengrad" and to start working with young people in our home region in order to support their personal, social and physical development.

€ 33578,-

Total budget

€ 33578,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

1. Project team and management - 13 200 EURO
2. Visibility and publicity - 1 650 EURO
3. Volleyball training equipment - 11 378 EURO
4. Travel and accomodation - 4 500 EURO
5. Office expenses - 1 500 EURO
6. Costs for events and trainings - 1 350 EURO

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

First of all we would like to thank you for giving your time to read our project proposal. We are interested in all opportunities for youth development and we are open to any kind of advice, comments and feedback from other users, youth workers or project applicants.



Idea created on March 26, 2021
Last edit on April 19, 2021

Write comment