“Beyond the fears and hesitations are the really good stories” – Katerina from “Uspelite”

Smiling, full of curiosity, and wanting to discover. This is Katerina, a volunteer under the European Solidarity Corps Project at  UspeliteBG. Good news hunter and storyteller. During her volunteering, she is an ambassador of positive example and takes her first steps in journalism. She believes that the world is a place with unlimited possibilities. Here, Katerina tells us about the chance to write inspiring stories for the writer and the readers.

Hello! How are you?

Hello! Thank you.

Introduce yourself in a few words!

My name is Katerina Vasileva, 20 years old. From Blagoevgrad, but I currently live in Sofia. I am a 2nd-year student, majoring in Political Science. Apart from that, I am interested in various humanities subjects such as philosophy, literature, and history. For the last two years, I have been involved in journalism, and I plan to stay in this field in the future. Writing is my passion, I feel completely myself while doing it. I love to tell stories and arrange the pieces of the puzzle in each of them so that I get a complete picture to present to people.

Have you been a volunteer before?

Yes, I spent several years in the Bulgarian Youth Red Cross – Blagoevgrad, which I joined at the beginning of high school. During this time I participated in various training and volunteer actions in Blagoevgrad, and I was especially interested in the topic of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle. Later, together with Bulgarian Red Cross – Blagoevgrad, we organized a series of literary readings and various literary events and competitions in a local bar, which I think were quite successful and definitely changed the cultural environment in our city, where such events were not common before. In general, this is my experience with volunteering so far. Of course, when I meet a cause that I am excited about, I try to get actively involved in order to contribute as much as I can to a positive change in the world.

Tell us about the place where you volunteer!

This is a wonderful place called Uspelite.bg – the largest positive media in Bulgaria. In fact, the place itself would not be so special if it were not for the team that works daily to maintain it as a center of positive and inspiring news that builds a different attitude among readers and users. Uspelite.bg is an interesting and different phenomenon in the media space because it presents a special point of view, which is focused on the solutions of the problems, instead of the problems themselves; to the positive, instead of the negative; to inspiration, instead of despair and helplessness. This is what I recognize in this media because I want in my future journalistic and human experience to be part of the solution to the problems I see in the world. In Uspelite.bg I saw that this is possible and that there are other people who share this ambition of mine.

What motivated you to apply for this project?

First of all, the fact that I recognized myself in this mission. I am also motivated by my desire to continue to develop in journalism, to try new things, because so far I have not focused so much on positive and inspiring news. This was my biggest motivation – to go outside of my comfort zone, to challenge myself, to talk to new people, to meet new stories, and to tell them in a way that people can find a part of themselves in them.

Tell us about your experience as a volunteer! What were your main tasks?

My job was called Good News Hunter, so that was my main task – to look for good, inspiring, and positive examples in the public space that deserve to be reflected and whose story needs to be told in order for this good example to pass on and inspire other people to work for a positive change. In this sense, my main tasks included reviewing various information sources, from which I had to select news that are suitable for the concept of Uspelite.bg. I had to write news, prepare articles, conduct interviews, and adapt the received materials so that they become as accessible as possible for the readers.

Were there any challenges you faced during the project?

Yes, there were definitely challenges. I consider myself a rather anxious person who has had problems speaking in front of and with people over the years, but I understand that I have to overcome this because of the field in which I have chosen to develop. Uspelite.bg helped me a lot to overcome my personal fears, hesitations, and worries, which I experienced in the past and which I continue to experience today – before each conversation and interview, before each new acquaintance. This was the most challenging part of the job for me, but I showed myself that I could overcome it. Moreover, it is worth it, because, beyond the hesitations, fears and worries are the really good stories that deserve to be told. And I have a strong desire and motivation to overcome myself.

Do you have a favorite moment of your volunteering?

I can’t find a specific moment to call a favorite. Every day offered me something new, which surprised me, inspired me, and motivated me to move forward. But definitely, the conversations with the people I had the opportunity to meet through the project were the most valuable things I will remember from my stay in Uspelite.bg.

Over the past months, I have had incredible conversations with even more amazing people, in which I have discovered a new attitude towards the world around us, towards the people with whom we share this world. A new attitude to the environment, to the past, to art, to memories – to everything that is valuable in life. This certainly does not answer the question of a “favorite moment”, but I can call it a favorite process of awareness and building a different perspective on me and on the world around me, which I hope to continue to develop, appreciate and carry in itself even when the project will be over.

Доброволка от София по проект "Европейски корпус за солидарност

Has the pandemic affected your project?

Here I would ask, “What hasn’t the pandemic affected in the last year and a half?”. Concerning my work, it impacted the interviews that needed to be done online. I did not always have the opportunity to achieve this most authentic touch to the person whose story I am telling. Of course, I was able to have some of these conversations live, but not to the extent I wanted.

There is another effect of the pandemic, which I consider to be a universal result – that we all feel more or less isolated and closed in on ourselves. This is a reflex caused purely by the desire to preserve one’s own essence – to close oneself when you do not have this opportunity to open oneself to the world. In this sense, the pandemic definitely affected me. I further developed this desire for isolation, and when you are in the position of a journalist and a person who must speak openly about the things that are happening around him/her, it’s complicated. Talking to people about these things can be really challenging. But I believe that I have more or less managed to overcome this obstacle in the last six months.

What would you say to young people to motivate them to volunteer?

I would tell them that the world today is full of opportunities – especially for young people. We live in such a time and we are part of such a generation, before which there is no end to the horizon. We can get where we want, do whatever we want. Of course, the pandemic is currently complicating these processes, but the possibilities have not changed. So do not hesitate to seize each of these opportunities in which you recognize yourself, because in this way you will develop as individuals and you will be able to move forward to the goal you have set. The most important thing is not to hesitate, because hesitation, anxiety, fears – these are the main brakes on the people of our generation. When we overcome them, the world will be open to us and we will see how much we can give to it. This is the strongest motivation for me.

What awaits you after the end of the project? What are your plans for the future?

As I mentioned, I am currently a student, so I plan to focus on this role for a while. Of course, I will follow the message from the previous answer and I will try to seize every opportunity that may arise along the way. Recent years have convinced me that such opportunities are never lacking. I plan to continue to develop in the field of journalism and try different dimensions of it. I am very attracted to working in radio, I also deal with podcasts and of course writing articles. So after the end of the project, new journalistic and academic challenges await me, and certainly many positive emotions and steps towards the person I hope to gradually become in the future.


The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.