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The Founder of the Bulgarian School in Milan Became a Baker Without Borders!

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.

We Learned More about People with Visual Impairments

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.

Participation in the No More War festival

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.

We Played the “Bakers Without Borders Game” as Part of an Initiative Sponsored by the Erasmus+ Program

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.

   

The Bread Houses Network Was Awarded Participation in an International Forum on Solidarity Economy

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.

We are collaborating with the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria on a project funded by the UN High Commission for Refugees

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.

We are launching a series of children’s books

We are launching a series of children’s books written and illustrated by our founder and president, Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova, cultural anthropologist (Princeton University) and “Traveler with a Mission of the Year 2012” of the global National Geographic. The books are separate from the game Bakers without Borders, but related to it. They go under the general title of “The Adventures of NadEzhko, the hedgehog Baker without Borders”. You can learn more about the books and purchase them on the website of the Bakers without Borders game: http://thegame.bakerswithoutborders.net/books/.

We recently took part in the Hands On! International conference

In October, the annual conference of Hands On! International (http://www.hands-on-international.net/), the international association of children museums, held its conference in the Czech Republic. The title of the conference was “The Future in Children’s Hands – Informal Education as an Instrument for Social Change.” During the conference we had the opportunity and pleasure to present the game “Bakers Without Borders.” Our most faithful and supportive crumbassador Yana Doncheva, made bread with 35 participants from all over the world on the topic of tolerance. The bread workshop that she led was part of the module presenting good practices for social inclusion and engagement.