In December 2018 the BHN team was joined for two weeks by Jana and Sylvia – two energetic students from the University of St Andrews, UK travelling through Europe to visit and work with different food-related projects having a positive environmental or social impact.
They created a great video telling what is a Bread House and recorded an interview with Zdrava and Sandra from the Sofia Bread House. The interview became part of Jana and Sylvia’s Travelling Foodcast – a podcast on inspiring food-related projects aiming at positive change!
The two students also supported our team in the organization and holding of bread making events and participated very actively in workshops with refugees, Roma children, people with disabilities and other groups. As part of their stay in Sofia they discovered other social initiatives related to bread, but also organized a networking event for local activist “Food as a tool for change” at which they presented the initiatives and NGO’s they visited during their travels.
In September 2018 the BHN team had the great opportunity to participate in the first FedEx Global Leadership Corps program in Bulgaria, aiming at supporting civil society organizations. The project was implemented in partnership with the international organization PYXERA Global and engaged four more Bulgarian NGO’s: Humans in the Loop, JA Bulgaria, Citizens and Trust for Social Achievement.
Within the program three experienced FedEx experts worked with the BHN team for a month: Noki Martin (financial exert from FedEx Services), Wes Milligan (communication expert from FedEx Freight) and Sarah Subick (organizational development expert from FedEx Express). Their goal was to strengthen the BHN team by examining its business plan and by helping to build up the professional capacity of the organization. Based on interviews, observed events, SWOT analysis, RACI analysis, review of all available written material, financial material, and web presence, the FedEx team submitted recommendations for improvements in the existing work processed but also for introduction of new work activities within the organization.
Between 12th and 15th July Zdrava Vodenicharova from the Sofia Bread House visited Ulm, Germany and took part in series of events part of the project Tastes of Danube – Bread Connects. On July, 13th the conference “Intangible cultural heritage in the Danube Region – a national asset or a contribution to European identity?” brought together more than 100 representatives from 13 countries in the Danube. Apart from lectures about cultural heritage as a contribution to European identity, partner groups of the project reported their experiences with the method “Bread making as a social event” of Bread Houses Network in which they were trained and certificated in October 2017 in the Sofia Bread House. In the evening, the Danube-Networkers celebrated their 10-year anniversary at Haus der Begegnung in Ulm. On July 14th Zdrava visited the old, but still very active community oven in Seissen village where together with other participants and the mayor Barbara Rüd baked traditional breads. The afternoon was spent in the unique Museum of Bread Culture in Ulm.
The highlight was the Danube Bridge Breakfast on 15th July located at the historical bridge Herdbrücke which connects the two parts of the city. Citizens from Ulm and Neu-Ulm and the surroundings, as well as people from different Danube countries were invited to the event to taste small snacks and to talk about everyday life, cultures, interests and experiences. The activity on the connecting bridge illustrated the uniqueness of the Danube neighbor countries as well as the goal of the organizers to live in a peaceful and solidary Europe united in diversity. Most sincere thanks to Carmen Stadelhofer and her team!
Between 4th and 7th July Sandra from the Bread Houses Network participated in the seminar “Experiencing a fairer and more caring society” organized by All Together in Dignity – Fourth World – an international non-governmental organization and a movement of solidarity among and in collaboration with the most excluded families around the world . The event brought together more than 30 people from Romania, Macedonia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Poland, France and United Kingdom. All participants are working in organizations or participate in informal initiatives aiming at supporting, including and working in cooperation with people living in extreme poverty. During the three days of presentations, discussions and workshops the participants were aiming at finding out how a fairer and more caring society can be built, based on the thinking and experience of people from the most vulnerable groups.
During the event took place two bread makings based on the “Theatre of Crumbs” method developed by the Bread Houses network. The participants presented that part of their work and those initiatives that in their opinion contribute the most to building a fairer society. They also shared the challenges they meet in their day-to-day social work as well as what helps them overcome them and what motivates them to continue despite all difficulties. Once again the bread making proved to be a great tool for fostering discussion and for including even the shyest participants in the exchange of points of views and personal experiences.
For the second year, the Sofia Bread House took part in the Solidarity Fest which took place on 23 and 24 June in front of the Sofia History Museum. The event was organized by Caritas-Sofia in cooperation with Multi Kulti Collective and CVS-Bulgaria. The goal of the festival is „to emphasize the importance of solidarity in the widest sense – between different groups of people, between cultures, generations, between man and nature.”
This is why the Sofia Bread House took part with an event from the „Solidarity Bread” series, which is being organized since September 2017 together with the initiative Solidarity Kitchen of the Food, not bombs – Sofia citizen movement. As it was raining on the day of the event – 23 June, the bread making was located in the Sofia Bread House and not in front of the Sofia History Museum. Same as every month, activists and volunteers, among which unprivileged people made bread together. On the next day the breads became part of the free lunch for people from vulnerable groups, organized by the „Solidarity Kitchen” in the Solidarity Club on 51 Georg Washington St. The bread making was based on the „Theatre of Crumbs” method and gave the chance to everyone to express their vision of solidarity.
We want to thank the photographer Lora Dimitrova for the powerful pictures from the event! Take a look at the whole album here.
In June, in Prevala village, about 130 km from the capital of Bulgaria, a new Bread House was opened! It’s located in the old community bakery in the village, equipped with a wooden oven.
The Bread House will be combined with a manufactory for natural jams and syrops, which employs women from the local community called „Sinevka”. Maya Kirilova from the nearby town Chiprovtsi is the founder and owner of the enterprise and the new space for community bread makings. In 2015 Maya and a friend of hers opened a small workshop in the old village bakery, which was renovated thanks to the help of the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme.
The new Bread House is aiming at reviving the bread traditions in the village – by the organization of community bread makings and the production of artisan bread. Soon, the new social center will have a hall with weaving looms where will be organized workshops for passing on the traditions.
In May, the team of the new Bread House underwent training in the main methods of the Bread Houses Network. As a part of it, a community bread making was organized with ladies from the local folklore dances club and the village. The topic of the event was „What does bread mean for me?” and the participants shared their childhood memories and what were the bread related traditions in their families.
With the Bread House in Prevala, the Bread Houses in Bulgaria become nine. The rest of them are located in Sofia (2), Plovdiv, Zlataritsa, Gabrovo (2) Lobosh village and Svilengrad.
On the sunny Saturday of May 26, the Bread Houses Network joined Tulip Foundation’s initiative Days of Good Deeds organized in the last week of May and aiming at demonstrating the importance of volunteering, as well as the role and the power of volunteers.
We took part with the Solidary Bread event, which is organized in the Sofia Bread House every month since September 2018. The initiative is carried out in partnership with the self-organized activists movement Food, Not War – Sofia, which organizes Solidarity Kitchen for disadvantaged people every Sunday. The Solidary Bread events involve a large number of volunteers – together they prepare bread which on the next day becomes part of the Solidarity Kitchen’s free lunch distributed at the Solidarity Club on 51 Georg Washington St. The event involves both activists and people from disadvantaged groups. Every bread making is devoted to different topics related to the cause of solidarity towards disadvantaged people – issues such as poverty, peace, active citizenship and others are discussed. Thus, besides taking part in bread making, the volunteers have the opportunity to express their opinions and to unite around new ideas for cooperation.
On May 26, within the Days of Good Deeds, the bread making was called “Colorful and Solidary Bread” and three types of bread were made: with olives, greens (nettles, rumex and spinach) and dried tomatoes. The products were provided thanks to the support of the Tulip Foundation. The volunteers got creative both in combining the different ingredients and by drawing in flour. The theme was dedicated to the “colorfulness” of our society and to the question of how we manage in accepting and appreciating it.
We would like to thank to the Tulip Foundation for the possibility to take part in the initiative and for their support, as well as to all volunteers who took part and shared their time and creativity!
The Bread Houses Network Team and the Sofia Bread House have the pleasure to invite social activists, social enterpreneurs and all interested in community events and development of social businesses, to take part in a Social Еnterpreneurship Training in Summer 2018.
Here you can find an invitation and a short presentation of the training.
We, the International Council for Cultural Centers and Bread Houses Network have been awarded for our innovative methods in social entrepreneurship by the global United Nations Intercultural Innovations Award 2016. Our unique social business model – bakery and cultural center in one has been widely recognized globally, with more than 40 people from 6 continents trained to implement our services and products in addition to developing their own innovative ideas.
Don’t miss this opportunity 🙂
Between 15th and 17th of May in the Sofia Bread House took place training for the team of the starting Latvian social enterprise Ramala, which will combine a Bread House and cafeteria. Ramala will be created by the Crisis Center for Victims of Violence in Ventspils, Lithuania. It will employ people from vulnerable groups and organize various events for community gathering, but also for popularizing the town of Ventspils as a tourist destination. During the three-day training the social workers Ruta Šenkevica and Līga Priedoliņa participated in bread makings with refugees, with disabled people from the Center for Social Rehabilitation and Integration “Annunciation” and joined the Roma-Bulgarian group organized in the frame of the B(re)aking Bread and Borders project. They also challenged their senses in order to experience the Bread in the Dark method. They also got to know in detail the basic method of the Bread Houses Network Theater of Crumbs and its applications for community building as well as for organizing paid events. The training included practical guidelines for using the Baker Without Borders educational board game, which is a great tool used to develop social business ideas as well as to discuss important social issues.
We welcome the Ramala team in the Bakers Without Borders community and we look forward to to the opening of the first Bread House in Latvia!
Between 3 and 5 May 2018, the Bread Houses Network was presented at the 27-th edition of the International Educational Forum and Game Market in Potsdam – an important and popular event on games as tools for education and children and adults development. The Market is being organized by the Youth Organization of the German Protestant Church and includes workshops, seminars, lectures, but also a big and rich exhibition of various educational games.
The motto of Spielmarkt 2018 was “Less plays more” – a message that the task of pedagogy of play is to re-establish the natural ability of playing. The event attracted more than 4 000 visitors among which pedagogues, educators, animators, children and parents, but also people with special needs.
As a new exhibitor at the Market, the Bread Houses Network had its stall where Zdrava and Sandra from the Sofia Bread Houses presented the mission and the projects of the organization, but also its social entrepreneurship model. The visitors had the chance to participate in two bread making workshops, at which they shared stories and memories about their favorite games. The Bread Houses Team organized also two workshops devoted to the development of social enterprises which were based on the Build a Bread House game, part of the Bakers without Borders educational tool.
Moreover, Zdrava and Sandra had the chance took part in an International Expert Forum with “Play meets Pedagogy” aiming at exchanging ideas and improving the understanding of the different approaches, experiences and interpretations of the term Pedagogy of Play, across national and institutional borders.