NEW! We recently launched a series of children’s books titled “The Adventures of NadEzhko, the hedgehog Baker Without Borders.”
In each book within the series, you can read about worldwide adventures and life lessons. As you follow the travels of NadEzhko across the globe, the adventurous hedgehog baker, you learn many intriguing traditions, from music and dance to various crafts and foods, and you grow wiser and open-minded. You can find more about the books and purchase them here: http://thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net/books/.
“Bakers without Borders” is a non-competitive educational game for all ages and different cultural settings, uniting people from all walks of life due to the unique power of bread as a universal symbol of sharing. With three sub-games, it can be used as a social business model and a guide for therapy and transformative life-long education. This innovative product has been developed by Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova the Founder of the Bread Houses Network.
Visit the game’s website: http://thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net for more information and order your copy today. Percentage of all proceeds from the sales of the game are donated to the Bread Houses Network (www.breadhousesnetwork.org) to support its social programs for free bread therapy sessions with people with disabilities and traumas in Bulgaria and other countries.
Breezy Willow from Ireland, a friend of ours and creator of the Bake Bread for Peace initiative recently visited St. Vincents all boys school in the Glasnevin Neighborhood, Dublin. During her two-day stay at the school, Breezy played the “Bakers Without Borders” game and used the Theater of Crumbs method to work with five groups of boys between the ages of 13-17. The focus of the bread-making activities was resolving conflict. Here is what Breezy shared about her visit to the school and the potential of collective bread-making events to be used for creating peace:
“We talked about the conflict we have in our own lives, for example conflict with teachers as a result of not having homework or assignments completed on time, we talked about how such conflict could be avoided, leading to a more peaceful life. Some of the boys were having trouble with being bullied, name called and such things, this led to a really honest conversation between everyone and even some of the boys who had been bullying others made some commitments to change. We talked about conflict at home and causes of it. Once again we were able to identify areas where the boys realized they could change something to bring more peace into their family relationships. When we played The Theater of Crumbs, I was blown away with the stories that some of the boys came up with.”
In the unusually warm Saturday of February 17, the Sofia Bread House was filled with flavors and tastes from the Middle East. Together with our close partners from the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria we organized an event titled “Breads of the East” in which women from Syria and from Syrian descent revealed some of the secrets of their traditional cuisine to Bulgarian participants. The event attracted great interest and managed to confirm the Syrian proverb “Even a small house can hold a thousand friends”! Everyone has the opportunity to try out their skills and make a fluffy “fatair” with cheese and spinach, an aromatic sambusak with olives and crunchy sweet cookies, sprinkled with sesame.
This was the second “Breads of the East” event, organized with the financial support of the German civil society organization Shoes for Bulgaria – Aktion “Schuhe für Bulgarien”.
In the second half of February, we launched the “Bakers Without Borders – B(re)aking Bread and Borders” project, supported by the Niwano Peace Foundation, Japan. In the coming months, young people from several ethnic minorities will “mix” and become friends with Bulgarian youth. Each group will take part in three different workshops – a bread-making event on the topic “Who am I?” and based on the Theater of Crumbs Method, in which the participants will knead bread and use their imagination to create an improvised theater with bread figures; Kitchen music – creating text and melody of a song with kitchen tools; and playing the “Bakers Without Borders” game for social entrepreneurship. All workshops will be led by the team of the Sofia Bread House and we will be inviting the participants to share their views, stories, dreams, as well as the challenges in their communities and possibilities for addressing them. The project ends on 21 October with an Open Door Day, when participants will prepare and present traditional dishes and share them with relatives, friends, classmates and the local community. The event will also include a photo exhibit with moments of the project events, a concert with the songs created during the Kitchen Music workshops and an exhibition of bread figures and sculptures. You can find more about the schedule of the events and sign up from Sandra Topalska at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +359 885 039 071.
In mid-February, the Sofia Bread House team met with Gergana Hristova, founder and driving force of the Bulgarian school in Milan, Italy. Gergana came from Italy specifically to learn the methods of the Bread Houses Network. During her three-day visit, Gergana became acquainted and trained in the programs, methods, and the social-entrepreneurial model of the organization. She participated in specially organized bread-making events – an event titled “From Grain to Bread” with students from the Progressive Primary School, bread therapy with the Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration “Annunciation”, bread-making in the dark with the Vox Populi Documentary Theater Studio. We wish her success in her bread-making endeavors and welcome her to the Bakers Without Borders platform.
At the end of January 2018, Milena and Lily from the Sofia Bread House team took part in visual awareness training on the project “Applied Theater in Support of Children and Youth with Visual Impairments,” funded by the EU and more specifically the European Social Fund Operation Programme on Human Resources Development. Participants in the training were educators from the country. The highlights and themes of the training included strategies for working with visually-impaired children and youth, the impact of visual impairments on children with such impairments, how and with what resources to support their development. The practical sessions included a workshop on safely guiding people with impaired vision in their surrounding environment, simulation exercises, as well as a theater seminar for young people with impaired vision. The Welsh expert Nicola Crews shared hеr rich experience in managing the risks of organizing activities for visually impaired children. And later, along with other trainers and organizers of the event, she participated in a “Bread In the Dark” event аt the Sofia Bread House. Bread In the Dark is a method for community-building and personal transformation, in which facilitators with visual impairments and sighted people make bread in a darkened environment and share their thoughts on important topics.
At the end of January, 2018, the Bread Houses Network took part in the No More War festival, an initiative of CVS-Bulgaria in the framework of Service Civil International (SCI) PATH project. The festival’s main focus was on peace in its micro and macro dimensions. During our participation, a group of young people who are CVS participants in different countries (such as Bulgaria, Belgium, Spain, Kosovo, Germany, Italy, Serbia), made bread for peace. While making bread, the young people discussed what peace means to them, what supports and impedes peace. During the event we also presented the Bakers Without Borders game.
On January 18 we played the “Build a Bread House” educational game on social entrepreneurship with 60 youngsters from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia. By using the stages of growing wheat, we discussed how we can create a Bread House in their communities and which social groups can participate in the functioning of the Bread House. The youngsters visited the Sofia Bread House and played the “Bakers Without Borders” game as a part of the project “Youth Social Integration Through Social Entrepreneurship” funded by the Erasmus+ Program and implemented by the Bulgarian Memory Foundation (Bulgaria), together with the Bulgarian-Macedonian Friendship Association (Macedonia) and the Citizen Association “Grupa liperalnih, ambicioznih i solidarnih“ (Serbia). The goal of the project is to develop entrepreneurial skills through informal education and to contribute to youth employment.
In December, Zdrava Vodenicharova our team took part in the 8th Mont-Blanc Meetings international forum in Archamps, France. The goal of the forum is to promote Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) within a pluralistic economy around the world with a specific theme of SEE: The New Efficiency. The event was a gathering between social and solidarity economy actors from 5 continents, and consisted of plenary sessions and collaborative workshops. It presents various stakeholders and leaders in the field of economic and social change in sharing ideas about economic innovation and development. Our organization was one of three finalists that received a special invitation and an award to present about our methods at the forum. The other two finalists were Scol’ERE Carbon Bursary (Canada) and the Federative Co-operative of Senegal’s Horticulture Actors (Senegal). Attendees of the forum were inspired and fascinated by our work. Apart from the international recognition that the Bread Houses Network received, our organization was also awarded free coaching sessions for organizational development from Coach Around The World, as well as access to tools that allow to facilitate organizational assessment, strategic and operational planning, international and external communication from CERISE. Zdrava from our team was also able to present the “Bakers Without Borders” game (http://thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net/) during the event.
In the first half of November, the Sofia Bread House held the first of a series of bread-making events that mixed children from the local community with refugee children from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The event was co-organized by the Sofia Bread House and the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria and was funded by the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The motto of the series of events is “We are all made from the same dough” and their goal is to bring the mixed groups of children together to make friendships and learn to understand those who are different. The events will continue between November 2017 and January 2018. Below are photos from the first event.