Welcome to the world’s tastiest game!

“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.

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Bread Houses Network is a finalist for an award by the United Nations for Intercultural Innovations

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The Bread Houses Network is among the ten finalists for the Intercultural Innovation Award given by United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group. By supporting sustainable and innovative, intercultural grassroots initiatives with the potential for expansion and replication, the Intercultural Innovation Award aims to contribute to peace and to building more inclusive societies.

Launched in 2011, the Intercultural Innovation Award is the result of a unique public-private partnership between the UNAOC and the BMW Group. This year the competition was very high – the ten finalists were selected among close to 1000 applications from 120 countries. The final rankings will be announced during the 7th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 26th of April.

The awarded project “Bakers without Borders – Game and Network” is about replicating the 7-year long experience of the Bread Houses Network with community bread-making events as tools for intercultural dialogue and community cohesion, across more than 20 countries on 5 continents. “Bakers without Borders” (thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net) is an interactive, non-competitive board game which is the first to present real cultural anthropology in the format of a game for people from all ages and backgrounds. Playing the game helps people unite in community bread-making events and experience creative brainstorming sessions on social problems, social entrepreneurship, and the transformative exchange of personal stories linked to different cultures around the world. The project will support the adaptation of the game into Spanish and French (available in German) and its distribution in at least four new countries where cultural cohesion is needed.

During one year, the selected initiatives can enjoy invaluable expert know-how and resources from the BMW Group and UNAOC. In addition to receiving monetary support, the finalists will have the opportunity to participate in training activities and workshops covering diverse subjects such as strategy and planning, implementation analysis and media training, as well as to become a part of the exclusive “Intercultural Leaders” network.

You can learn more about the Award here.

Check out UNAOC’s Facebook page here.

Launching our GAME “BAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS” in Germany

In November we are officially launching our new educational inter-cultural and inter-generational gameBakers Without Borders (thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net), which is ready in German.

The game will be available for sales starting in December through our partner, Lutz Geissler, and his famous bread-related blog, https://www.ploetzblog.de/.

Also, you could read more about our organization and the game in German at the blog of our other main German partner, Vasilena, at her blog www.microbusinesshero.de. Read here the first part of the interview, the second part coming up soon: https://microbusinesshero.de/social-business-aus-leidenschaft-wie-brotbacken-menschen-vereint-teil-1/.

Write to us or directly to Lutz or Vasilena if you are interested in the game. The game has a primary social mission, because in addition to families, it is perfect for people with disabilities, traumas and depression, and various social institutions (orphanages, elderly people’s homes, hospitals, rehab groups and centers, etc.). Also, schools and kindergartens can greatly benefit from it.

If you are such organizations, networks, or know of networks that can be interested, we will be grateful if you connect us. Become with us and through the game better than changemakers - ChangeBakers! :-)

BHN launching the new platform BAKERIES WITHOUT BORDERS at the International Bread Festival in Austria in September

by Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova

In March 2014 I had the chance to visit Austria and its Alpine part around Salzburg for the first, as I was invited there by a network of life and career guidance organizations, which help the social integration and career guidance of low-income immigrants and refugees. They wanted me to train them in the alternative career guidance method “3S: Sifting-Shaping-Sharing”, which I had developed to orient students and young people towards socially-responsible and creative professions: we do this by a mix of collective bread-making with three role games and many metaphors, story-telling, and imagination of potential future professional and personal paths.

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I thought that I will have to do the workshop in a standard room with a few school desks put together as a table. However, what was my surprise, when in the late afternoon Kathrin, the organizer, asked me: “Are you ready for an adventure? The workshop will be high in the mountains, in a mountain hut!” I was so excited!

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We drove almost 2 hours from Salzburg, but since it got dark I could not see the surroundings. The last portion of the road started winding up a steep mountain until we reached, literally, the very last house before the peak. Below us there was a valley with little dots of lights, sprinkled like light-bugs, and in front of us a wooden house made of round pine-tree logs. Inside, a wood-fired oven was burning and warming the place, effusing the aroma of baking bread, and a smiling blond woman gave me a strong hug. “Hi, I am Roswitha. And this is Schule Am Berg, School in the Mountain, where I teach school children from around Austria traditional bread-making with sourdough!”.

As I was meeting the other people and their children gathered for the workshop, suddenly an African man entered with a huge smile. Roswitha was so surprised to see him on such a freezing, late evening – he was one of her students, a hobby baker, and it so happened that he also worked helping refugees settle in Austria, as he himself had once been a refugee, escaping poverty and violence in Africa. He had come to surprise and see Roswitha, but imagine his amazement at hearing about our workshop – he was the perfect person to join and also get trained in the 3S method!

So, it all felt like a dreamed fairy-tale: an amazing place with amazing, inspired people, who God somehow brought together on that cold night high up in the Alps. The participants agreed that the method can be very useful in their work with refugees and immigrants, since bread-making creates a common language and equality and can easily open sincere discussions about past and future goals in life.

When saying good-bye to Roswitha, she assured me that she would invite me to come back for the big international Bread Festival in Rauris, the village, which she organizes every two years.

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And so she did: in September 2015 I was back to Rauris for the International Bread Festival, together with my husband Stefan, because Roswitha wanted us to lead a large workshop for 40 people with the Theater of Crumbs method. We arrived again the same way as my first time to Roswitha’s School, late on a cold night, and as we entered the warm house, another amazing group of people expected us: Albanian folk musicians and bakers, who were singing songs, which sounded familiar to what I had heard in 2011 when I was in Albania. And, indeed, it turned out that they were from a region where I had been, and they were Orthodox Christians, which was a tiny group in Albania, a largely Muslim country. What was the chance that I would meet them in the Austrian Alps?!

During the days of the festival, I was so happy to see the Albanians make “burek”, a pastry filled with cheese that is the same as the Bulgarian burek or baniza, and bake it in a special oven, looking like a hot clay plate with a metal lid, covered in coal. The Albanians call it “frushnik”, we in Bulgaria call it vrushnik“vrushnik” – how many similarities, even if our languages are completely different! At the same time, Austrian master bakers were making all kinds of breads, pretzels, and other specialties, and baking them in a few intriguing metal mobile ovens, which reminded me of the mobile oven we built for the homeless in Brighton Beach, New York. Well, certainly a small world – and all united around bread-making!

 

After our workshop in the Theater of Crumbs method, many of the participants were so inspired and said that they will immediately start trying our the method in their communities or work, especially since in Austria there is a widely spread tradition in the villages for families to have their own wood-fired breadovens and to every now and then open them to other members of the community to come and bake there. And now, they had a great method to do the baking in a much more engaging and inspiring way, across ages and cultures.

During the Bread Festival, I also had a lecture on the first, Conference day, about the vision and various programs of the Bread Houses Network. I presented the BAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS global platform and also the very new educational inter-cultural and inter-generational game Bakers Without Borders, which attracted so much interest, that it is currently being translated in German.

And, finally, after meeting so many open-hearted bakers, inspired to do good in their communities, after the festival we launched a new online platform, BAKERIES WITHOUT BORDERS, specially for socially-oriented bakeries: www.bakerieswithoutborders.net. Join one day!

 

Bread unites two future European Capitals of Culture

In the beginning of July, the Bread Houses Network welcomed a representative of the Italian town Matera – European Capital of Culture for 2019 to continue their successful cooperation with local artists. For a visit of the Bread Houses in Sofia and Plovdiv – the other  European Capital of Culture for 2019, came Andrea Santantonio  – a director, photographer, and a big fan of the cultural and unifying aspect of bread making. Since last year, Andrea has been cooperation with the Bread Houses Network developing a European Cultural Route “Bread Route” connecting both Europeran Capitals of Curture in Bulgaria and Italy and all the countries in-between. The long term vision is to establish a Bread House program in Matera.

More information about the Bulgarian part of the Cultural Route “Bread for Social Change” can be found here: http://www.breadhousesnetwork.org/travel-with-mission/

First steps towards a social franchise outside Bulgaria

In the last week of May, Albert Smith, an artist and baker from Birmingham, United  Kingdom visited Sofia Bread House and Social Enterprise with the aim to lay the foundations of the first Bread Houses- Social Bakeries outside Bulgaria. Through the Slow Food Network   Albert got interested in the unique model of HedgeHope bakeries and came to meet the Founder and President of the Bread Houses Network in person. During this week, he learned the ropes of the Bulgarian sourdough rye and einkorn wheat breads and got introduced to several of the community baking methods of the Bread Houses Network. Albert also participated actively in the traditional Saturday community baking and impressed everybody with his bread decorations, which he learned from his grandfather – also a baker.

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Originally from South Africa, Albert has been living in the United Kingdom for the past 15 years. He started a small community bakery – Ubuntu Handmade Bread (http://www.ubuntubread.co.uk/) and recently combined bread with another talent of his – comedy and story-telling. In his acts he uses  bread as a performance tool. Albert plans to establish a social enterprise – community bakeries inspired by the bread house model in Birmingham and South Africa and believes that the current situation in South Africa is ready for bread to be used as a tool to empower the people especially in Johannesburg.

You can learn more about the social enterprise model of the bread houses and the social franchise here: www.breadhousesnetwork.org/social-enterprise/

The Bread House model selected as a good practice by the global AGENDA21 for Culture

Ms. Catherine Cullen, President of the global organization AGENDA 21 for Culture, a network of cities and their Culture departments, recently visited the Bulgarian city of Gabrovo, which was selected to be one of the world’s pilot cities to implement culture as one of the 4 main pillars of sustainable development. Gabrovo was selected alongside Bogotá (Colombia), Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais, Brazil), Mexico City (México) Concepción (Chile), Gabrovo (Bulgaria), province of Jeju (Republic of Korea), Talca (Chile) and Vaudreuil-Dorion (Quebec, Canada) (see more here http://www.agenda21culture.net/index.php/newa21c/pilot-cities). During her visit in Gabrovo, Ms. Cullen visited the first Bread House in the world and was impressed by the model of the mix of a social enterprise and community cultural center. Indeed, the Bread House was listed in Ms. Cullen’s report as one of the three main and most innovative cultural initiatives and models that could be shared from Gabrovo with the world. Here below is the excerpt from the report:

“A very interesting project has emerged known as the Bread Houses led by local, independent group of artists. Using some community houses as a base, a team of artistic and social actors has created a unique way of bringing different people together: socially disadvantaged, old, young, or those suffering from illness or a handicap. The idea is to invite people to learn to make bread together, bridging ethnic, cultural, socio-economic and religious divides. This in turn leads to various innovative multi-disciplinary art projects. The team is also engaged in a lively international network, “The Bread Houses Network” that has partners throughout the world, and defines its collective bread-making and accompanying art forms as sustainable ecological education. The leading, artistic team of this project had many questions to ask about the newAgenda 21 for Culture as it is totally engaged in, I would say, all four pillars of sustainable development and keen to continue developing cross cutting innovative actions.”

AGENDA 21 for Culture prepared a report featuring the Bread Houses Network here: http://agenda21culture.net/images/a21c/bones_practiques/pdf/pilot_GABROVO_ENG.pdf

Request for help

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Dear Friends,

Bread House Network and our newest bakery “Nadezhko”, located in Sofia, 12 Beethoven St. are turning to all of you with a request for help!

Ludmil Hristov Benchev is an inspector at the “Agency for Food Safety” in Sofia. He is one of the most disciplined and loyal young employees.
Unfortunately, he has been suffering from chronic tubulointersticialen nephritis, also known as analgesic neuropathia.
The diagnosis was determined by Dr. V. Minkova in November 2013 at Aleksandrovska hospital – Clinic for neurology and transplantation. One year later after a variety of medical tests, his decease has progressed to a point in which his lungs function only with 50% of their capacity. The conclusion made by the doctor is that Ludmil Hristov Benchev’s lungs are worsening too fast, in comparison to the medical indicators and they are irreversible.
The next step for his treatment is hemodialisis, which is in no case a treatment with positive consequences. On the contrary, its a fact that people who have been treated with himodialisis have become not only unable to work but also part of the long waitlist for transplantations.Many are the cases when people who had been waiting too long never received the necessary transplantation in the end.
The only alternative Ludmil has is a transplantation of an organ from an unknown donor. Unfortunately, his parents had deceased, and he has no relatives with compatible organs.
An intervention like this, done abroad varies from 50 000 to 60 000 Euros.
This is why we are appealing to you, so we all could help Ludmil, and raise funds for his life saving surgery.
If you want to donate to this good cause, we are attaching the bank account number.

IBAN BG65SOMB91301055740203, BICSOMBBGSF, Municipal Bank, Ludmil Hristov Benchev.

Thank you for your support!

The Mobile Bread House takes part in the Windows of Soul

The Mobile Bread House takes part in the Windows of Soul,  annual artistic event  in Trenton, New Jersey. The event brought many artists together with local low-income youth and the mission of the Mobile Bread House, along with other events, was to create a space for co-creativity and positive vision of the future of the area without violence and drugs.

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CHANGEBAKERS at EMPATHEAST

In time of crisis arises a special need of rethinking and reorganizing our environment in order to meet the social needs and deficits which are visible under the weakened system of governance. These social deficits can be filled and that is the event EMPATHEAST is all about: Forum for Social Change and Open Education in Eastern Europe, where the Bread Houses Network will present its bread-methods, Theatre of crumbs and Bread-building.

The main objective of EMPATHEAST to firmly put Bulgaria and the Balkans on the world map of social innovation and social entrepreneurship. As a region which deals with a dysfunctional political, economic and social system on a daily basis, the Balkans are a unique ground where social innovation can solve old challenges in a new way. For three days from November 14th until November 16th EMPATHEAST will gather together leading lectors and practitioners in the field of social change in order to create a space in which we will learn from each other, experiment with creating new models and celebrate the availability of approaches such as Design Thinking and Art of Hosting in a non-conference format. During the Forum, Plovdiv will become the setting in which seemingly foreign subjects will be transformed into pleasant and accessible starting points for reflection. EMPATHEAST will challenge your creativity for social change through lectures, installations, games, concerts and performances, stimulating collective intelligence and systems thinking. It will demonstrate the meaning of “public visioning” (creating a shared vision) and will reflect on intuitive and empathic leadership, self-organizing civil systems, ethical finance, energy independence, human centered design.