Community events Bulgaria

Partner-Community Workshop

Mar. 27, 2012 - Mar. 28, 2012

The Big Foot partners met the residents of the municipality of Berkovitsa  in a community workshop held as a part of the "BIG FOOT" third project partner meeting,  held on 27 and 28 March 2012 in the city of Berkovitsa.

This workshop was held not only according to the specifications of the project deliverables, but also upheld the European principle for implementation of projects "from the bottom up”. The workshop aimed at discussing the problems of the local people, how adults could help young as they pass on the experience they have, and what can young people do for adults to help them adapt to the modern conditions of life.

The main objective of the workshop was to generate ideas and techniques and get a feeling for the area of intervention of the local experiment and to find an informal channel of communication between generations and engaging them in meaningful and mutually beneficial dialogue. Thanks to the effort of the hosting partner "Centre for Development of North-West Bulgaria", the event was well organized and it went through excitingly. In the meeting hall handmade baskets, teddy bears and other articles made of pine cones were exhibited, in addition to loom woven rugs and wall panels; wooden spoons and other handmade artistic products; views of Berkovitsa and icons.



 After summarizing the objectives of BIG FOOT Project, we continued the meeting with a short introduction of all BIG FOOT partners present and the workshop participants, followed by a discussion about how each one sees his contribution to the intergenerational dialogue, which would help to improve the quality of life locally and sustain development of the territory.

 Many different and conflicting opinions were expressed, which made the discussion very interesting and useful. Some of those present concluded that no matter what we teach the young generation they, they will not stay here, but leave for bigger cities and abroad. Another shared view was that the biggest problem in Bulgaria is that because of the previous governmental regime our country people have learned to wait and be told what to do, instead of taking an initiative.

During the transition in the past 20 years many factories were liquidated, that are now difficult to be recovered. One participant stressed that one of the most accessible means of bilateral inter-generational dialogue and exchange of experience and knowledge is through the rural tourism, where the wisdom of the adults will be combined with the enthusiasm of youth. However, in our area the rural tourism is not developed enough, so tourist facilities should be build and exploited. In the villages , certain traditions such as carpet weaving, manufacture of yoghurt, cheese and homemade foods, pottery, wood carving and carpentry, are still well preserved and if there are conditions for rural tourism, one could seek to develop local crafts and teach the young to do  them in an informal atmosphere.

One of the partners noted that on his arrival in Berkovitsa, he noticed that he could not find any street map of the city and the area, nor there are any post cards with views of Berkovitsa to buy. According to him we should start to improve the area with small and doable steps, and each of us should take responsibility for what is happening around. Some people noted that they would teach with pleasure the young, but that they themselves have nothing to learn from the young generation. Another of the participants said that we should seek forms of involvement of young people that are close to their mentality and entertaining for them, like the camp in the mountains, where not too long hours of theoretical training should be combined with practical work in local crafts. Another idea was that we should make color album of Northwestern Bulgaria in different languages.

Subsequent proposals were related to training in folk dances and songs; carpet waving; learning local  customs such as  kumichkvane  and lazarouvane; acquainting young people with places around the city, with their history, flora and fauna; the manufacture of art objects made out of pine  cones, etc. In conclusion, the hosting organization and the partners stressed that they are extremely grateful for the expressed opinions and suggestions and that the local partner will make sure that for the local experiment will be chosen an activity that will be most beneficial for all participants - young and older. At the end the local partner explained that in  addition to the spiritual and emotional benefits of meeting new people and building  new friendships, the most active participants will be rewarded with a visit to Greece and  the rock monasteries in the area of Meteora

We ended the event concluding  that  despite the gloomy present, the development of our region can be channeled in a positive direction if each of us takes personal responsibility for what happens around him  and  the joined efforts of everyone involved.



 Penka Rangelova, retired, currently occupied with agriculture. She has worked at one the many closed down factories in the city as chief accountant -   "Trud".

Nedyalka Angelova, also retired veterinary, said she wants her daughter and children to return from abroad and to be involved with agriculture such as growing raspberries.

Nina Nikolova, which represents a local non for-profit association “Philanthropist." Their main purpose is to promote tourism development in the northwestern corner of Bulgaria, to protect cultural and natural resources. Their other main goal is to help orphaned children, minorities and disabled people by teaching them crafts and making souvenirs from natural materials, such as pine cones.

Iliya Iliev, owner of a printing house in Montana and Chairmen of local community center.

Petko Pachev, currently unemployed mechanical engineer by profession, called himself one of the few traditional politicians in Berkovitsa. He worked 20 years in agriculture, and last - in the city maintenance department. Two terms was elected for a municipal councilor. Keenly interested in the fate of the city and the life in it.

Christo Tachev, a mechanic by profession. Now retired and involved in making art and household things by wood carving.

Georgi Popov, who is retired, who said he does not believe that the project could help, because as we all know, everything takes a lot of money.

Ivalin Tsekov, who lives in one of the nearby villages Kostenzi, engaged in agribusiness. Grows and processes soft fruits, which are characteristic of the region, moreover avid mountain lover and skier.

Zlatka Mihaylova, who is now retired, graduated art. For 50 years engaged in weaving carpets. Also she worked 30 years in the factory "Kom". For one month she specialized in Italy. Last year, together with her colleague, she trained children from the primary School "Vaptsarov."  The program was financed by a Hungarian foundation in the amount of 20 thousand Euros. She said, however, that she was disappointed with the way the project was run and noticed that children lost their interested in making crafts very quickly.

Dimitrinka Dimitrova, a graduate of a specialized class of applied arts in Chiprovtsi Art School. There she learned how to use loom for making the word famous Chiprovtsi carpets and unique handmade tiles. After this she has earned a degree in primary school education at Sofia University and is currently teaching. Together with Zlatka Mikhailova and the Foundation "Nangle" which delivered the looms, wool yarn and cotton warp, she has tried to convey her craft skills to children in the primary School "Vaptsarov." According to her in the beginning the project was successful, but not for long, because this work requires patience and hard work which makes it difficult for children. She is currently participating in the project "Success", which has the objective to involve children at risk in arts. Now this project is also involving the students of the primary school "Smirnenski" In Berkovitza. 

Antoinette Kresteva , the leader of folk group "Zlatitsa" from the village of Gaganitza, with the repertoire of over 200 songs. This group is known both at home and abroad. They have won many awards, including gold medals. Antoinette Kristeva said that their folk group would gladly participate in our meeting. The group presents with costumes from the 18th century, which would have been extremely interesting for all to see.

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