‘Be a Volunteer, Save the World’

“Be a Volunteer, Save the World” is a voluntary project involving 11 Bulgarian youngsters volunteering in Varna. These young people support five different associations. This is among the first projects of the European Solidarity Corps to be implemented in Bulgaria.

 Purpose of the Project

The aim of “Be a Volunteer! Change the World” is to stimulate the active participation of youth in community and volunteer initiatives at the local and national level. Our goal is to promote active European citizenship and European values in the local community.

Participants and Partners

This project includes 11 young people from Bulgaria who will volunteer in Varna. 10 will participate in a 12-month voluntary service, and one will only last 9 months. The volunteers will start their service in early February 2019 and will end at the end of January 2020. One only will start at the beginning of April 2019 and will end in late December 2019. Four volunteers will support the work of the SOS Foundation – Families at Risk. Two will be involved in Association Varna European Youth Capital2017. Three will help in the youth space HALE3 managed by AssociationAlternative Space. From the remaining two, one will work at the University of Economics – Varna, and at the office of Association FOR YOU.

Volunteers and Their Tasks

The volunteers are aged between 17 and 30. They are motivated to participate in the proposed activities. Besides, they are also open to working with different people in terms of their social background or ethnicity. They are interested in working with children and young people and willing to organize public events. Volunteers in this project have completed their education or are at the end of their training cycle. They wish to gain more practical experience.  These are young people whose education and/or interests are in areas, close to the topics related to the project ‘Be a Volunteer! Change the World’. Those are social work, art, culture, free time activities, education, European studies and more. One of the volunteers will be in a disadvantaged situation.

Organisations Involved in “Be a Volunteer! Change the World!”

During the project, the association FOR YOU will have the role of supporting and coordinating organization. It will be responsible for the preparation of volunteers and organizations, ensuring the quality of the volunteer project and ensuring the achievement of the goals and results. FOR YOU will provide an overall project evaluation, administrative and financial management of the project. Additionally, FOR YOU will also play the role of a host organization of 1 volunteer.

There are 4 other hosting partners – Varna University of Economics, Association Varna – European Youth Capital, SOS – Families at Risk Foundation, Alternative Space Association. They will be responsible for organizing quality volunteering activities in their organizations. They will also provide support for the implementation of the activities of their volunteers. All partners will participate in the implementation of the additional activities and conduct the activities for visibility and dissemination of the results.

Activities and Methods of Education Planned in the Project

All the volunteers in the project will improve their existing skills and acquire new ones through non-formal education methods. Most of the young people participating in the voluntary project will have tasks related to surveys of local, national and youth policies, work on international projects. During the project, 4 additional events will be organized in the country to promote volunteering, to create partnerships, to exchange experience in conducting volunteer initiatives and activities, and to attract young people to participate.

Volunteering Activities

The young volunteers will be involved in different activities, depending on which organisation’s work they support. The youngsters who joined Foundation SOS will be occupied with organising leisure activities for disadvantaged children and young people. Those youngsters are disabled, victims of trafficking and violence or children from their families, refugees, people with low education or living in poverty. The volunteers who are hosted by Association FOR YOU and Varna 2017 will be engaged with non-formal education activities, youth mobility promotion, as well as youth counselling, information campaigns and events on volunteering and active inclusion. The youngsters who join Alternative space will be responsible for the organisation of sport, youth, cultural events, creative workshops, marketing and advertising activities etc. They will also do photo and video shooting and processing, design and construction of sports equipment, reuse of waste materials and more.

Expected Results

Short Term

  • Helping young people to acquire professional and soft skills and support their future professional and personal development.
  • Encourage social inclusion and equal chances for young people with fewer opportunities
  • Increase the capacity of organisations at the local and national level to participate in such projects
  • Raise awareness of the local community and organisations about the possibilities of European youth programs, and in particular, the European Solidarity Corps
  • Sensitize people to the power of non-formal education, the opportunities for local and international volunteering and the opportunities for youth solidarity initiatives
  • Young people, including disadvantaged people, will acquire new skills and knowledge and support their transition from education to employment
  • Local organizations will improve their capacity to organize structured volunteering, work on European projects and work with young people
  • Raise in the number of volunteers in Varna and Bulgaria, and promotion of volunteering at the local and national level
  • Increase in the awareness and access of young people, youth organizations and the local community to the opportunities available for organizing and participating in quality European solidarity and volunteering programs and the role of the European Solidarity Corps. They will become aware of their role as responsible and active citizens of present and future Europe and will start thinking about European society and its values, tolerance and understanding of the differences in society as a whole will be fostered

Long Term

  • Engaging more programme participants to both local solidarity initiatives and volunteering, as well as European partner projects for exchange and volunteering
  • Support the efforts to create a national regulatory framework about volunteering. The synchronisation of the European standards for volunteering
  • New participants involved in the future actions of the program
  • Engagement will be created
  • New opportunities for cooperation between organizations in Bulgaria, the European Union and the Rest of the World will start
  • The common European objectives and tasks in the social field will be disseminated

This project is funded by the European Solidarity Corps – a programme of the European Commission.