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DIVE 3: ZERO to ONE is bigger than 1 to N: INTERNATIONAL SE CONFERENCE in Skopje

 

DIVE 3: Zero to One > 1 to N or when doing completely new is more than doing only what you are familiar with. The notion refers to Peter Thiel’s premise, that doing something, someone is already doing, takes you from 1 to n, but when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1 – this enables leaders to emerge with unique solutions and businesses to rise above competition.

“DIVE 3: Zero to One > 1 to N” is a capacity building project financed by the European Union, under the Erasmus plus program, capacity building in the field of youth. From 24th till 28th October the hosting organization Youth Alliance organized an international conference in Skopje, Macedonia gathering NGOs, social entrepreneurs, youth workers, policy makers and different stakeholders from more than 12 countries from the whole worlds. The project included partners coming from the following countries: North MacedoniaYouth Alliance Krusevo, RomaniaEuroDEMOS, Greece Association of Active Youth of Florina, Peru – Social Work Lab, Costa RicaACI – Costa Rica, South Africa Belle &Co, Portugal Intercultural Association for All, ItalyDemostene, Slovenia N.K.L., PolandAssociation of the European Centre for Youth Initiatives(ECIM), NicaraguaJóvenes Ambientalistas.  The Bread Houses Network was part of the conference and we came together to discuss cross-sectoral collaboration in social entrepreneurship. See conference programme here.

The idea of the whole conference was roaming around the concept of ‘zero’ or what social innovations to develop in order to reach future ‘zero’ world: zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero carbon emissions.

We had 4 days of intensive discussions about the role of the social entrepreneurship in tackling problems as youth unemployment, poverty and carbon footprints. The days were divided in morning panels about the local Macedonian reality, noon panels about international good practices and experience and afternoon panels about coming up with policy recommendations in the field of social entrepreneurship.

The first day of the conference was dedicated to the youth unemployment. The guest speakers were representatives of the financial sector in Macedonia, the Fund for Innovations and Technological Development and the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy in North Macedonia. They shared their experience about the nowadays phenomenon of the young underemployed people who even if being employed in some company are not using their full potential and are not receiving the proper remuneration for the capacities they have. Some of the most successful programs and initiatives for supporting the youth (13-19 years old) were presented as a big part of them provide incentives for developing innovative solutions in the social entrepreneurship.

Some good practices were also shared from the side of universities in Macedonia and Portugal who are introducing real case scenarios connected to the social entrepreneurship in their academic program. Their researches estimated that by 2025, the world would lose more than 5 million jobs due to automation and the market needs to react accordingly to the needs arising. Therefore the university is encouraging students to identify real problems in the society and then based on the theoretical knowledge they have to find solutions. In this way students are developing both their empathy and entrepreneurial spirit.

The role of the NGOs in supporting young people in developing new skills and improving the already existing ones was identified as crucial. According to a research the millennial generation is facing some problems when it comes to finding the motivation to start something new and youth workers have noticed that the millenniums need more encouragement when it comes to being socially active. As we all know young people are a reflection of the society so this leads to the conclusion that we need to work more on finding the reasons for that.

The second day of the seminar was focused on the topic of poverty and social entrepreneurship. One of the conclusions of the day was that nowadays we are witnessing a state of poverty that it not only poverty in terms of income but also poverty in terms of values which have interrelation in between. It is important to remember that poverty is just a state in life and it doesn’t define you as a person, does not give you a different name. Our partners from South Africa, Peru and Slovenia shared their experience when it comes to poverty. The conclusion of the day was that at the moment the competition law is putting the price above the quality. However, if we want to live in a fair world in which we value the efforts of the individual people, we need to work towards a society for which values and causes come before the price of a product. And the social enterprise is one of the ways to appreciate the quality as such.

During the last day we were able to get to know some local Macedonian initiatives which stimulate the fight with the carbon emissions through the work of social enterprises. You can learn more about the initiatives here Treebank and Everyone Fed. Later partners from Costa Ricca, Nicaragua and South Africa shared their experience in reducing carbon emissions. Some of them shared that in this field you need first to recycle your own ideas because often what we do in the environmental protection is not resolving the problems but translating them into other problems. In order to solve the problem of consumption for example, we need first to learn from it and understand its reasons. According to one of the social entrepreneurs the plastic today is not the problem, the problem is us, the people.

A South African saying goes like this: ‘I am what I am through you!’ The beauty of these words brings so much truth and hope for the creation of stronger and more open societies. We need to learn from one another and develop ourselves through the others. Just like the bread – we mix ourselves together in order to become a little bit better and put our soul and heart in the dough!

Discover your Why

The incredible journey to unlock our full potential through artistic and theatrical techniques as part of The Pitch: Theater of ideas project (see Projects section) continued in Maribor, Slovenia between the 9th and 13th of September.

Through various methods presented by the host of the workshop – Prizma Foundation – we tried to understand more about ourselves, our fears, limitations and to get a bit closer to our personal strength. We painted and shared personal stories, created a “personal canvas”, in which we portrayed our qualities, discovered the meaning of life through the IKIGAI technique, and trained the teamwork skills among the fresh nature of the Pohorje area.All of this fits in with the motto of the workshop – Discover Your Why – and in addition to developing our personal potential, we aimed to offer innovative solutions to the long-term youth unemployment in Maribor. Among us were four unemployed youths who shared their stories and difficulties in finding a job, and after the end of the event their faces glowed and expressed more optimism. Our ideas, like at the end of each seminar, were presented to a jury in 30 seconds and broadcast live on youtube.

The increasingly dynamic and unpredictable world we live in requires equally dynamic and creative solutions to the problems of the professional and personal realization. Thanks to projects such as this one, coordinated by the Croatian Tresnjevka Cultural Center, people from vulnerable groups, as well as anyone interested, can develop skills in a non-conventional and fun way. The next “performance” is due in December in Thessaloniki, Greece – prepare for a real theater!

Cape Town, the socially responsible city

 

While in Bulgaria the social entrepreneurship is a modern concept and is taking its first steps as the government is shrewdly pushing for it, in Cape Town, South Africa it is tangible everywhere. Many products have mentioned that their revenue will support one cause or another, often you can spot signs of donation places for clothes or books. But more interesting were the meetings with various social entrepreneurs who shared with us the results and challenges of their endeavors.
But as a start, what kind of support can a person get to start a social change through their work? There is an International Development Company (www.idc.co.za) owned by the South African Government as part of the Economic Development Department. Its purpose is to finance various economically sustainable projects in different fields and thus to provide jobs. A separate team is engaged in social entrepreneurship, which is to build co-operation between the public, private and community sectors to increase investment and jobs in South Africa and other African countries. Over the last 5 years, they have approved over 1000 applications for funding worth over € 4 billion, have created over 300,000 jobs, with 32,000 in rural areas. The company is self-sustaining by investing in loans and equity as well as loans from commercial banks and other lenders. Another non-profit company supporting the development of the SE is the SEAcademy (www.socialenterprise.academy/za). They have developed different training programs for people and organizations who want to increase their social impact and become financially independent. Their certificates are internationally recognized. Founded in Scotland in 2004, the Academy has trained 8,000 individuals and 1,700 organizations to develop as social enterprises.
The next places we visited help and invest in the younger generation. LifeChoices (www.lifechoices.co.za) “invests in youth to make choices that change the world.” Behind this “modest” self-description, there are years of trial-and-error to find the truth that “we can only increase social impact by transforming our approach from a non-sustainable non-profit to a business-centered one.” They implement a holistic model to support young people from vulnerable groups, covering education, health, family sustainability, leadership skills and employment. Except through donations, the income to fund these services come from advisory services, paid student tuition, and commercial activity. In addition, they participate with a 20% stake in the companies whose development they support. For the past 14 years, they have positively influenced 200,000 people. Innovation edge (www.innovationedge.org.za/) is another initiative that invests in pre-school education as a first step towards a successful life. Includes children from 0 to 6 years of age living in poverty. Support financially and strategically innovative ideas in education through convertible loans and equity investments. One of the successful ideas so far is EarlyBird Educare @ work- a workplace pre-school center sponsored by employers of parents in need. Another interesting venture, committed to a better future for young people, is the Gangstar café (www.gangstarcafe.com). After the touching story of one of the former gangster employees, we realize that this is a business with a more special mission. All proceeds are used to provide employment and support for ex-offenders and youth who want to leave gangs and crime. They have a joint venture with the 18 Gangster Museum, a one-of-a-kind Gangster Museum in Africa. This innovative museum aims to show young people the treacherous path of gangsterism by seeking to offer a positive alternative. The organized tours are led by ex-gangsters who share their experiences and how their lives have turned around. They are looking for ways to be more self-sustainable.
Our next stop was at the Scalabrini Community Center for Migrant and Refugee Integration (www.scalabrini.org.za). They offer programs to support every aspect of the lives of those in need – from legal advice and finding work through English courses to providing basic goods – medical care, shelter, and a school for children. They organize courses and support specifically targeted at men and separately for women. Some of the services are paid for, the free ones rely on a grant from the US government and the local lottery, as well as from their own initiatives: a guest house (not advertised enough and not working at full speed at the moment), rental of premises, paid services . The Government’s Department of Social Development is funding a home for refugee and migrant children.
As an organization with a special attitude to bread, we were extremely happy to visit the next three businesses. Potential Baker without Borders Zikhona Madubela founded the Street Side bakery in the ghetto-like district of Kayelitsha with the idea of helping people with lactose intolerance through the production of biscuits and other produce lactose free. From the cheerful and enthusiastic story, we would never have guessed that the bakery in question was located in a wooden one-room shack that also serves as a home. But that doesn’t stop Zikhona from being the only one in the area with such an idea and helping young artists pursue their dreams. And her dream is to help her community more through the magic of bread. Our lunch this day was provided by Spinach King (www.spinachking.co.za/), a company also focused on healthy eating – especially with spinach. Through its unique products it aims to make this useful plant more accessible. And the spinach bread sandwiches were really amazing! Another bistro with a social mission is Brownies & Downies (www.browniesdownies.co.za/). In addition to being a coffee and snack bar (with the most delicious brownies!), it also functions as a training center for people with intellectual disabilities. To support the mission and activity, they rely primarily on donations and sales revenue. But they are proving insufficient, especially with rising Cape Town rental prices. Whether orienting towards a more business-centered model, rather than the social one, will help this city spot of acceptance, remains to be seen.
Our extremely intense and diverse tour concludes with another very important aspect of life in Cape Town- art. Spier Arts Academy (www.spierartsacademy.co.za) in association with Spier, one of the oldest wineries in South Africa, offers 3 years of full-time mosaic and ceramics training. The program also includes business skills for graduates to start their own businesses, studios or successfully promote their works. The training is free of charge and all other costs are covered. For this, the selection of trainees is extremely strict (out of 1000 applications, 28 are accepted, of which more are dropped in the course of training). One of each (www.oneofeach.co.za) is a design studio founded by a mother designer and a businesswoman  daughter. They want to spread the beauty and history of Africa through their unique handbags, belts and bracelets that are made of  leather and traditional African fabric. The fabrics are purchased directly from manufacturers in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Congo, thus supporting them and promoting their craft. They separately train for free and hire young women from vulnerable groups. They export to the US and 17 other countries. Pauline acknowledges that her experience and expertise in the business field helps her, but more important are the personality traits and her desire to help through her work. The Guga S’Thebe Cultural Center hosts a creative workplace – Our Workshop – where young talents can be trained and can create under the experienced guidance of professionals. They recycle materials such as cardboard, plastic bottles and computer parts by incorporating them into their art, thus supporting environmental campaigns.
As you can see, social entrepreneurship in Cape Town is as diverse and dynamic as people living in the city. The extremely professional approach to the endeavors and the great enthusiasm, despite the difficulties, are admirable. But the most important reminder is that social entrepreneurship is first and foremost the natural need to give back to society what you have taken, but with added value.

This visit was possible thanks to Erasmus + project Dive 3:Zero to one>1 to N coordinated by Youth Allience Krushevo and Belle&Co. SA. About the previous study visit on SE in Lyublyana, Slovenia, you can read here.

 

BHN at the International Symposium on Bread in USA

As our mission is to spread the bread-making as a universal tool for social positive change internationally, we always experience tremendous joy when our bakers without borders initiate or take part in such events.
We joined other bread enthusiasts at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA in mid-June as a participant of the third annual ‘On The Rise’ International Symposium on Bread. In coming together with other ‘bread-heads’, we were able to share about our methods and mission, learn more about bread from specialists and enthusiasts, and eat some very delicious bread!
Our Chicago-based crumbassador, Morgan, spent the days of the Symposium sharing information about the many ways that the BHN has used bread-making as a method for fostering social inclusion, community building, and alternative art therapy. She also held a bonus workshop for Symposium participants, which included approximately 35 people engaging, watching, and enjoying our methods of bread for social change! Our workshop started with a Theatre of Crumbs event with the decided theme of ‘diversity’ to lead its conversations, drawing, and shaping! While the bread puppets were baking, Morgan led an overview of the other two sub-games included in our Bakers Without Borders board game – showcasing the social-enterprise model and the potential for using kitchen utensils as musical instruments. The participants learned the ways that our game can assist them in engaging individuals within their communities in creative, powerful, and innovative ways to make a positive impact!
In short, aside from getting ‘breaducated’ on relevant challenges within the bread, flour, and grain industries, we also came together to break bread with a diverse group of individuals committed to the power of bread!

Diverse together in Sofia and Plovdiv

We, at Bread Houses Network, love to gather and unite people from different backgrounds to experience the variety and beauty of life through making bread or other exciting art or culinary events. That’s why we’re very happy when opportunities like the following take place in Bulgaria. We are proud to organize series of culinary events between the months of April and August 2019 as part of the project Diverse together- sharing of bread and stories, Plovdiv 2019- European capital of culture. More about the idea of the project you can read in our Projects section. The events are 9 spread around the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv and Varna as we just closed the project in the first two.

Our culinary journey started in Lebanon with a non-traditional recipe for an Easter cake and some special Lebanese sweets. Dates, honey, spices- all that subtle exotica of the Middle-eastern country brought to us thanks to the chef Hani Tauk who also specializes in french pastry and owns one of the best bakeries in Sofia. Next, to balance and broaden our taste receptors we opted for American raspberry pies which made us feel the joy of life more! Thanks to Casey Angelova, who is a culinary blogger and a farmer of pure organic products among the picturesque gardens of Kyustendil, we enveloped the juicy raspberries in a gentle crispy butter dough to have this magic melt in our mouths. Bulgaria being on the crossroad between the west and east, has a bit of oriental influence in its cuisine. But it’s nothing like the original so we decided to end our Sofia events with another Middle eastern fair of flavors and invited our guests to Lebanese (yes, we love that country and cuisine!) appetizers and a special tea. Salha and Rim were so kind and smiling all the way through the process of showing us how to prepare the most famous Arabic salads- humus, baba ganush and tabule. And the pistachio baklava for desert…A fantastic end of a colorful Diverse together culinary sessions!

 

 

 

 

Plovdiv wasn’t a less of experience: we flew in our imaginations and through our taste buds to India, England and Italy. Culinary workshops were never that exciting, especially when you start around the Inian oven tandoor and bake amazingly fresh and tasty naans filled with equally mouth-watering Indian dishes. The chef Pramod Singh kindly guided us through his exotic culinary world and we expressed our gratitude and excitement through the Theater of crumbs. Our exploration continued in Anglia school whose director Keith Kelly from England demonstrated a fast but exciting recipe for a Sunday morning breakfast (or any other part of the day)- Yorkshire pie. With only lemon juice and sugar or strawberries and cream, even with a salmon and cream cheese- we couldn’t get enough! The grand finale of the Plovdiv culinary series happened in the chocolate factory Gaillot where the French pasta expert Florian Dulliard taught us how to prepare a fresh pasta ourselves. Quite easy, it turned out! And delicious with freshly made marinara and pesto sauces! You can guess the desert- bits of bio chocolate but you’ll become too jealous so I’ll stop here.

 

More to come as we leave for Varna next month!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make America inclusive again through bread-making!

Our active and enthusiastic Baker without borders Morgan Murphy just came back from an exciting event related to successful practices in social inclusion. Here’s what she shares:

“We journeyed to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for three days earlier this month for the Welcoming Interactive + Welcoming Economies Convening conference. The event brought together over 400 leaders who are committed to making America more welcoming and more inclusive. We shared our board game and information about the Bread Houses Network and our methods with diverse experts and participants. It was so energizing to be around like-minded individuals who recognize the importance of collaboration, innovative solutions, and empathy building in order to foster inclusion.

Those attending the event shared their successful practices and inspiring stories of welcoming communities – we were excited to learn about their work and to share the many ways that bread-making can be used to bring diverse people together to promote community cohesion, creativity development, and addressing local issues!”

We’re looking forward to more exciting bread-making and sharing events in the USA!

Dive into Slovenian social entrepreneurship

Between 13 and 18 May the Slovenian organization N.K.L. hosted a forum on social entrepreneurship in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The initiative is part of the DIVE 3: Zero to One> 1 to N project, where the Bread Houses Network is a partner.Visits were organized in various socially oriented businesses, as the tour started at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology. We were surprised to find out that there is a separate Directorate for Entrepreneurship and Technology. It aims to support the international competitiveness of Slovenian enterprises by developing policies and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. There are about 260 companies registered as social enterprises in Slovenia, most benefiting from the Ministry’s financial assistance and membership programs. It supports startups, SE, educational laboratories and access to employment through tax refunds, public auctions, and more. Also, the ministry has helped to provide a space free of rent, left from a bankrupted store, to one of these companies- Preoblikovanje, which produces wood-based furniture for zero carbon footprint. They employ 8 people, 5 of them from vulnerable groups.

Some organizations, however, do not feel that support. Judo Club Sokol teaches about 60 disabled people by offering them special classes. Funding is a problem, as more Paralympic disciplines have been subsidized than the special Olympics. They receive approximately EUR 1,000 a year of funding from the ministry.

The following visits filled us with enthusiasm and optimism. Two of the companies recycle used items and clothes and sell them. Smet-Umet makes bags, toys, and other items as they like to focus on the amount of rubbish that is produced and how it can be transformed into useful and beautiful things. Drustvo verjamem vate sells donated clothes and second-hand toys, and recycles them to make new clothes, which they also sell. They have employed 7 people, some of them with special needs. They also have a day center with a café where people with special needs can create and learn basic skills. Stara roba -Nova roba is also a second-hand shop that sells various donated goods in good condition. They hire former drug addicts and / or homeless, helping them with social inclusion. They have started with an EU grant but are now 100% self-sustainable as they can pay salaries and rent.

School and university students are the focus of next businesses. Makerlab is part of the University of Ljubljana and is a place where students can develop their own projects with expensive equipment such as 3D printers. They have social entrepreneurship in the form of FabLabs, which has them throughout Slovenia, so that young people in remote areas can also access technological training. They are funded by the university and through small membership fees. Zavod 404 is the first youth center in Slovenia for technology and research. It aims to provide young people with the opportunity to acquire technical skills and interest in entrepreneurship and research. They organize frequent workshops for students and their teachers in the field of electrical engineering, woodwork and others.

As you can see, Slovenia’s social entrepreneurship environment is favorable, and regardless of whether they have the support of state institutions or not, people’s striving to contribute to the environment and to support people in need is a sufficient impetus for creating a meaningful business model.

All Different, All Equal

Youth unemployment has been a serious issue in Europe for some time as the trend since 2015 (20,3% unemployed youth according to Eurostat) is to decrease it (in 2017- 16,8% unemployed). Not that positive situation is observed in Turkey: in 2015 youth unemployment rate was 18,6% whereas in 2017 was 20,7%. This increase has posed a threat to the self-esteem of the young people as well as to the country economy as a whole. Tackling problems of such a scale often requires innovative and out- of –the –box approaches.

Bread Houses Network has the honor and pleasure to be part of such creative project as the Erasmus+ “Theatre Pitching for Employment”, which was organized by Akdeniz University between the dates of 6-10 May 2019 and focused on youth unemployment problem in Antalya/Turkey. The workshop called “All Different, All Equal” tried to use theatre techniques to empower young people and help them present their ideas in a more effective way. Led by the talented actors from the private theatre Kirmizi Kalem Sanat, we could experience various Image theater methods, developed by Augusto Boal as a social change tool, also known as the Theater of the Oppressed. The project aimed not only at developing a stronger self-image and social awareness but also at the ability to present the idea for 30 seconds called pitching. You can watch the final forum here.

The project “Theatre Pitching for Employment” is coordinated by the Trešnjevka Cultural Centre in Croatia and implemented together with five partners from Poland, Greece, Slovenia, Turkey and Bulgaria. It’s aiming at improving the access to employment of people from unprivileged group (e.g. people with disabilities, unemployed, stigmatized people, and ethnic and/or religion minorities). Each partner country will hold a workshop based on educational theater techniques and pitching. The first workshop took place in Krakow, Poland where the Polish organization Multicultura introduced the partners to a method of collective poems writing – a unique instrument which can be used for empowering marginalized groups and expressing their social messages. You can watch the poem here.

The next workshop will be in Maribor, Slovenia between 8 and 14 September 2019.

 

BHN dives deeper into social enterpreneurship

Between 28.03 and 03.04.2019. the second stage of the Erasmus + DIVE 3: Zero to One> 1 to N project took place in Florina, Greece. The main focus of the meeting was to build partnerships between the participating organizations and generate potential project ideas in the field of social entrepreneurship and the fight against youth unemployment. More about the project here.

Following an intensive introduction to the Erasmus + project structure, partner organizations were inspired and united around various ideas on how to support the development of unemployed youths in their respective countries. The Bread Houses Network, as a good example of social engagement and entrepreneurship, initiated a project on how to link organic farmers and migrants in the partner countries of Italy, Greece, Poland, South Africa and Bulgaria through the organization’s methods . This will solve the problems of various farmers’ organizations, such as lack of labor, and migrants will have the opportunity for vocational training and employment in a fast-growing sector.

Another exciting project where the Bread Houses Network will take part together with Italy and Greece is to give a contemporary look to the disappearing traditional crafts – how to make them more attractive to young people so they want to learn and develop their own business.

There will be more interesting meetings and events to come as we “sift” and “knead” these opportunities for a better chance for the young people.

The biggest American university on the Balkans hosts a bread making event

The founder of the Bread Houses Network Nadezhda Savova – Grigorova inspired a big community event in the American University in Bulgaria, based in the city of Blagoevgrad  – a bread making which brought together more than 40 students and faculty, local social organizations and public officials. Following the steps of the “Theatre of Crumbs” method, they shared their vision about a more dynamic and united Blagoevgrad. Since the beginning of this academic year Nadezhda is an Anthropology professor at AUBG.