Rebuilding Lives and Communities in Eastern Europe

Education and College Project, Bulgaria

Our partner charity in Bulgaria, the Door of Hope works with some of the most marginalised and rejected, ethnic people. They mainly work in the village of Chirpan in Eastern Bulgaria. We send shoeboxes to them each year. Many of these 'homes have no electricity connection. They have no income to pay for it.  A low level of education joined to an inability to speak the Bulgarian language, causes many of the youth to drop out of school. Employment is scarce. Over 90% of village folk have no work. Sometime temporary work is found picking strawberries and potatoes in the fields. They are paid £6.00 a day! Running water and free medicine would be a luxury for this community.

The first foray into micro business was when Link to Hope sent out some sewing machines to Chirpan, Bulgaria with our shoebox shipment.  A small number of women were taught basic sewing skills and after the course, three of the girls from this impoverished community have found jobs in a small factory.  This has now led onto the setting up of the "Changed Life College".  On an open day last month, thirty young people from three ghetto villages, registered their interest.  Ages were between 13-23.  These young people have no practical skills, and also lack the ability of communicatin with people outside of their ghetto community due to language difficulties. Their background is Turkish and they struggle with having to learn Bulgarian.

These are some of the courses that are hoped to be set up:-

HOME MASTER COURSE: Plumbing, carpentry, small repairs and other familiar subjects that will help to qualify them for a job. Also Sewing, dressmaking, cosmetics, cooking and hygiene.  

INFORMATION COURSE: Understanding computers, smart phones and the internet at the same time as teaching the youth on the dangers of the internet.  It is anticipated that after a few months, students will tell others about the information they have learned.  "Retelling" is an important part of the programme. Languages are also high ou the list.  As well as learning Bulgarian correctly, some are eager to learn English which could carry them a long way in Bulgarian society.

SOCIAL SKILLS: A few of the youth who attended our Open Day could be termed as 'children in need' coming as they do from displace, neglected families.  It is therefore necessary to teach students how to communicate in society. How to respect other people. How to express themselves in a job interview. They will be encouraged in their dress sense and respect for the elderly.  The course will seek to establish self-esteem and help them to realise that they are "A person"

DISCUSSION GROUPS: Not just informing the youth about faith, but encouraging them to express their own thinkng.  Also reading and discussion of books which they have never had the change to do before.

Funds are currently being raised to fund this college and we will keep you update on how it is progressing.