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High-TOUCH through high-tech!

Due to the state of emergency in Bulgaria and all around the world, we from The Bread Houses Network are adapting our activities for the months of the quarantine. We present to you the following online bread makings that will make your daily life a little more creative and diverse and your relationships with the loved ones more cohesive and appreciated.

Friend Bread – This is an event for those who have decided to build piece by piece a strong and stable friendship. We will invite you to draw in your flour the story of your friendship, the difficult and beautiful moments that you share together and turn your love into a nutritious and beautiful bread.

Price: 40 BGN / 20 EUR per two

Family Bread – Family bread is an event that all family members can participate in. Both small and big are taking part in the “Theater of Crumbs” method – they draw in flour on a theme chosen by the whole family and look for metaphors and lessons that hide in the ingredients of the bread. When kneading the dough, the overall rhythm is sought, and in the end, everyone forms their own unique bread.

Price: 50 BGN / 25 EUR per family

Love Bread – Love bread is an event for couples who have chosen to share the salt and the sugar in their lives with each other. We will again follow the method “Theater of Crumbs” to rediscover the story of your love – we will invite you to draw in flour, discover the metaphors that hide in the ingredients of the bread and, of course, knead and shape your couple’s unique bread.

Price: 40 BGN / 20 EUR per two

 

Traditional bread / pastry products – Kneading of authentic Bulgarian sourdough bread / banitsa or other pastry products with stories about Bulgarian traditions and customs. The activity is suitable for foreign residents, foreigners living in Bulgaria, as well as for anyone who wants to learn more about the Bulgarian traditions.

Price: 15 BGN / 8 EUR per participant

 

 

Fun Culinary – This is a storytelling and edutainment method aimed at children and young people by engaging them in culinary art activities: decoration of different meals, sandwiches, portraiture and book characters and playing with them in a story.

Price: 15 BGN / 8 EUR per child

 

Theater of Crumbs– The method involves drawing in flour and engaging bread figures and stories on a chosen educational topic. The participants go through all the steps of making bread by hand. An emphasis is placed on sharing, as a basic tool through which the participants learn: they share emotions, experiences, impressions. In this way they learn patience, creativity, creative thinking, the pursuit of knowledge, improvisation, finding solutions to real situations in a funny and engaging way. Working with dough enhances concentration and focuses attention, which is extremely important in the high-tech fast-paced world.

Price: 15 BGN / 8 EUR per child

 

Breads of the World – This event takes the participants on a journey to different countries and regions of the world, learning about the diversity of continents and cultures, and at the same time kneading a bread that is typical for these cultures. The recipes were collected by the cultural anthropologist Nadezhda Savova and the participants would have the opportunity to enjoy unique views of beautiful places around the world.

Price: 15  BGN / 8 EUR per child

 

How: Zoom, before the event we will send you a link to the online meeting

Duration: 1:30 – 2 hours

Payment will be made with a bank transfer and a copy of the transaction is to be sent in advance.

For questions and reservations: +359 887945813 or sofia@bread.bg

 

Online Solidarity Bread – a Response to the Needs of the Society

High-TOUCH through high-tech!

The state of emergency in Bulgaria and around the world has imposed many restrictions on our daily lives. But we at the Bread House Network believe that this should not lead to social isolation, but should rather to give us a chance to reflect on our way of life, on the truly meaningful things in live and the things which inspire us to do good deeds and to support the others and the people in need.

One of the important lessons we have learned over the past weeks is that the happiness of the individual depends on the happiness and well-being of the whole society. And if we use the metaphor of the bread, only combined into one, small specks of flour can turn into tasty and nutritious bread.

 

 

 

 

 

On 11th April, we organized the first such Online Solidarity Bread. With the help of high-tech, we tried to be as high-touch as possible, showing our solidarity to the community closest to us at the moment – our family, friends, neighbors, and even ourselves. We also discussed how to support homeless people and the extremely poor, who find themselves more isolated than ever during this quarantine.

Together with the social activists of Solidarity Kitchen – Sofia we organized one different online bread making, in which as always we kneaded bread and ideas and drew on the flour what makes us happy today. We also discussed how we can support the activities of our friends from Food Not Bombs – Sofia movement, who keep on sharing food and solidarity with the people in need. They told us that so far many people have already shared food and materials with them, but the difficulty in this emergency situation is the transportation of products. Therefore, anyone who has the opportunity to support them with transport and logistics is more than welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

The online bread making was done through the Zoom platform and an English translation was also provided. Some of the participants decided to bring their bread to Sofia Bread House, and later we shared them with the Solidarity Kitchen-Sofia.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and the upcoming events and stay safe at home!

Be the Change You Want to See in the World

Every change starts by ourselves – this was the message of the Social Entrepreneurship Competition ‘Innovation Station: Social Change Starts Here‘, organized by Better Community Club at AUBG. The three-day competition involved Generation Z (over 50 young people between 17 and 25 years old) as well as the biggest and most influential NGOs in Bulgaria in order to come up with brilliant and creative solutions to social problems. The Bread House Network was pleased to be part of this amazing competition as one of the mentoring organizations. To every team of 4 to 6 participants was assigned a case to be resolved in the innovative spirit of social entrepreneurship.

 

 

 

The cases were prepared by NGOs and each team received two mentors for guidance during the challenge; one AUBG lecturer and one representative from the invited NGOs. The teams had one weekend to work on their case and come up with an innovative solution to present to a seven-member jury at the end of the competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the teams in the competition received our support as well as the chance to develop their innovative solution through the prism of the game ‘Bakeries Without Borders‘, which allowed participants to go through the various steps of setting up a social enterprise and practically testing their idea. The inspiring stories of solving social cases around the world (part of game 3) charged the participants with confidence that the world could be a better place.

 

 

 

 

 

Our participation in the competition was not only emotionally charged but also very enriching, bringing us hope and faith in the future. The presentation of all participants was fascinating and the team who received the social case proposed by the Bread House Network ranked third in the competition. The first two places were awarded to the teams that solve the cases of the organizations Single Step and the Arete Youth Foundation.

Here you can find the final of the competition with all the presentations of ideas!

What do you think about social change?

‘Bread in the Dark’ as a Social Innovation – VIVA Project

There is nothing more beautiful than building a better world with like-minded people! People who can teach you a lot and at the same time are ready to listen to you.
This is the feeling we experience every time we work with our VIVA project partners. This time we would like to tell you more about our last international meetings with them, which was much more than a training, and the inspiration and activation of our own skills and potential.

The meeting took place between 17th and 23rd November and enabled more than 20 participants from Romania, Greece, Iceland, Belgium, Italy and Bulgaria to present their methods in the work with visually impaired people. The main focus was on enhancing the confidence and skills of visually impaired people, as well as the fact that in today’s world it is no longer sufficient to be competitive only on a national level, but also on an international one.
Participants went through a visual awareness training and discussed the importance of knowing the environment around them and what the factors to consider when organizing an event with people with special needs are. The topics discussed were various – from discussions related to social entrepreneurship to workshops for analyzing our individual strengths and weaknesses, from games for spatial and creative thinking to training in organizing events and the use of theatrical skills in our work.


We have also introduced two of our methods – ‘Bread in the Dark’ and the game ‘Bakers without borders’. Two events “Bread in the Dark” were implemented the “Bread in the Dark” team, who presented the initiative and shared their happiness of being involved in such an international project as VIVA. One of the mornings was entirely dedicated on planning how the game could be successfully adapted for visually impaired people.


We are looking forward to our next meeting, which will be from 3rd till 9th July but until then we will keep you updated about the events and initiatives of the project.


And if you are curious to get involved in our work or you have an idea how to adapt the game ‘Bakers without borders’, contact us at atanaska@bread.bg!

Rethinking inclusion across Europe

Bread Houses Network is happy to announce that it’s been granted the opportunity by the European program for Integration and Migration (EPIM) to further develop and scale across Europe its unique method for social inclusion through bread-making.

Through this support, EPIM hopes to contribute to unlock the potential and the capacities of civil society organisations to learn from, scale up, transfer, adapt and measure the social impact of promising bottom-up and whole-of-society solutions that foster migrant inclusion and social cohesion, to eventually inform European inclusion policies, funding and practices.

With this project, the International Council for Cultural Centers (I3C) aims to strengthen the Bread Houses Network’s social replication model.

Here is more information about the project and the other organizations that have been awarded.

New bread making initiative has started

We are happy to share with you one of our newest initiatives with which we have celebrated the end of 2019 – bread making in hospitals.

At the end of December, we organized a bread making in St. Naum’s Hospital, coming together with a wonderful group of active and smiling children hospitalized at the medical centre. We believe that our visit there has brought at least a little bit of joy and new experience to the difficult stay of the small patients.

The topic of the bread making was connected to the approaching Christmas and New Year’s Eve holidays and the positive emotions and moments that children want to experience outside of the the frames of neurology. As always playing the Theater of Crumbs, kneading the soft dough and decorating the breads brought a lot of joy and smiles. The opportunity to interact with such wonderful and ready-to-do children was a great experience for us as well. Bread making was turned into a real celebration as we were joined by the talented musician Konstantin, who with a guitar and some songs, turned the quiet hospital canteen into a space for sharing emotions and positive energy.

We hope to have the opportunity to realize many more bread makings around the hospitals in Bulgaria and to support more people in their hard times!

Theater of Ideas in Thessaloniki

Imagine a city where young people feel confident enough with many opportunities to prosper, where there isn’t such thing as marginalized groups and where the artists and the creative people are given the leading role of inviting guests and locals to co-experience the beauty, culture and history through a variety of events. Sounds too good to be possible? Well, nothing was impossible to imagine for the participants in the 4th creative workshop in Thessaloniki, Greece as part of the Erasmus + co-funded program The Pitch: Theater of Ideas, where they had to uncover the city’s best potential and show it in the form of a short presentation.

The week-long workshop was kindly hosted by the NGO Teatro Aratos, which provides theatrical courses and performances. Although the performance hall is small in size, the stage merges with the audience area thus giving the opportunity to experience in a more direct and intimate way the play. Lights on! Ready-set-pitch!

The program of the workshop carefully incorporated classical drama techniques to address and develop skills that will help participants to feel more confident to pitch their ideas in 30 sec. Every day started with an artistic representation by the participants of the past day which was followed by special warm-up activities. “Imagine you’re walking on a thin ice”- instructs us one of the leading actresses Maria Vlahou to raise our body awareness and interaction with the others- “now walk and watch out for a movement change and do as the rest”. After we feel ourselves and the others in the space, it’s time to let our voice out. “Mmmaaa…Open to the audience, find your low, normal and high voices”, tells us Kiki Spirou, another face of the creative force behind Teatro Aratos, whose vivid expressions were easy to follow. Breathing, moving, shouting and whispering- unfreezing body and throat- led us to the last but not least important feature of the good actor and public speaker: diction. “Like any other organ and muscle the tongue needs exercise too in order to form proper words”, continues Kiki,” Straight the back, relax the jaws and repeat tik-tak in different tempos”. T i k-t a k, tik-tak and the moment for the real show unnoticeably slipped in!

The lights shone over the anticipating stage and a suitable music background facilitated the process of unveiling the very best of each and every participant. We were airplanes, works of art, famous musicians only to reach our true selves. And Thessaloniki got transformed through each and every story (including fruit and Greek mythology festivals, living library tour, treasure hunting and open-air art gallery and theatre) told by the different characters, revealing a city bubbling with energy and offering better opportunities for life, work and entertainment for its people!

 

 

 

 

The Theater of Ideas will continue its tour in 2020 in Athens, Zagreb and will end in Sofia. Until then, catch up with the previous workshops in Krakow, Antalya and Maribor and watch the final pitch forum from Thessaloniki here.

 

Social entrepreneurship- mission possible?

Between the 13th and 16th of December the Bread Houses Network took part in the final evaluation meeting in Skopje, North Macedonia to reflect on the achievements and the moments for improvement of the Erasmus Plus co-funded program: DIVE 3: Zero to One > 1 to N, a collaboration between 12 countries on 3 continents. The focus of the program has been to explore how cross sectorial partnerships can enable a thriving environment for social enterprises.

In order to gain more understanding about SE, the project incorporated several types of activities in the partnering countries: study visits in Slovenia and South Africa, job shadowing in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Peru, implementation of 12 national events in every country and a final conference in Skopje, NM. Here’s how the Bread Houses contributed to the bigger understanding of SE in Bulgaria.

As part of the implementation of the national events in Bulgaria we conducted 5 debates, 3 workshops and 2 round tables. With the debates we wanted to start raising awareness about SE and its local status. For this purpose we invited representatives of NGOs and SEs like Caritas Bulgaria, Multi Kulti collective, Food not bombs, Foundation for social development and inclusion and academics from Plovdiv University. With them we dived in topics that aimed to define the SE and its role in cultural exchange and inclusion; what motivates and inspires SEntrepreneurs despite the numerous challenges; what are the main vulnerable groups of the Bulgarian society and how they could be socially included through SE and what are the 3 most important factors for sustainability of a social enterprise. The major conclusions reached were that social causes should be popularized and promoted more on media like TV news if people are to realize that there are such opportunities. Also, if the cause is valuable enough it will self-reproduce by engaging more and more people willing to develop the idea. Another conclusion is the importance of the business participation so that the effect can be spread to more users. Good examples for the Bulgarian reality are companies like Telus International and Experian. Sustainability can be achieved by developing a strong business model behind the SE, including effective ways how to get the message/idea through and to have realistic goal at the beginning of the enterprise.

After we framed the idea of SE during the discussions, we aimed a more practical approach with the workshops where students from different high schools were engaged in the creative process of building their own SE following the steps of our innovative game Bakers without borders. Youth is the main focus of the project so it was very important to have their opinion and orientation in the topic. Most of the students were already well acquainted with the idea of SE so having hands on practical tasks turned out to be more than exciting and beneficial. They collaborated in groups to agree on heavy social issues and how to solve them through the creation of SE. Their ideas were fresh , although not very realistic.

The highlights of the national events were the round tables where we tried to approach directly the question about cross-sectorial collaboration and its role in relieving youth unemployment. Based on the issued raised during the debates we wanted to invite the participants to share their ideas on how different sectors in Bulgaria can collaborate for a better social and job environment. Our invitation was accepted by the Municipalities of Sofia and Varna, Telus International, SE and NGOs like Concordia Bulgaria, Biodiversity, The Social tea house, Higher school of management, Institute for enterprise, sustainability and innovation, Center for sustainable social development and others.

 

 

 

 

Except for the great opportunity different sectors to sit together and discuss possible cooperation, another very important outcome was delivered. Namely, the need for the creation of an Academy for SE where social entrepreneurs or anyone who wants to develop as such to attend sessions and educate themselves, exchange experience, network and look for opportunities in the field. This idea was liked by everyone and is in the process of more precise formulation and elaboration. It was proposed by the business part (Telus International) which already funds numerous social projects.

Also, more practical and concrete conclusions/recommendations were made:

  • Very important for sustainability is each SE to revise the products and services it sells whether they cover certain standards for quality and to make the difference between fundraising and SE because they require different business models.
  • Related to the first- a clear objective should be set as well as a realistic business plan.
  • People with special needs to have access to qualification opportunities-crafts, professions. Some training association could be set to deal with this.
  • There is a need for a local organization to defend and support SE; also a place where start-uppers can contact for support, trainings, contacts, etc.

Whether the created enthusiasm and ideas will hold ground is about to be seen but one thing was achieved for sure: to move the waters and stimulate different sectors to turn more to each other with the realization that only together we can reach higher.

Award for the Most Innovative European Volunteer Initiative for 2019

And the Award for the most Innovative European Volunteer Initiative for 2019 goes to… Solidarity Bread!

We are happy to announce that the joint initiative of the Bread Houses Network and Food not Bombs was awarded in Brussels as the most innovative volunteer initiative for 2019 and enjoyed the interest and recognition of the dozens of European organizations that gathered for the Volonteurope Annual Conference with a focus on solidarity, democracy and social justice.

The Solidarity Bread initiative was nominated by the Tulip Foundation, which supported our application throughout the selection process. One month before the ceremony, only 3 initiatives were shortlisted from all of the nominations – SAFE Project (Sexual Awareness For Everyone), RUTIS the Portuguese Network of Senior Universities and Solidarity Bread of the Bread Houses Network. The three initiatives were to produce a short video and a presentation demonstrating innovation, social inclusion and impact on civic engagement.

Solidarity Bread is perhaps the most inspiring Bread Houses Network’s initiative. The first event took place in November 2017 and over the last 25 Saturdays of the month the initiative brought together a diverse palette of people – social activists, volunteers, foreigners, bread makers from the community, refugees, disadvantaged people, more than 400 participants. The bread is distributed and shared at the Solidarity Kitchen on Sunday as part of lunch. It is an initiative to share food beyond charity, in solidarity, with direct communication and involvement of people in the activity. The idea is that disadvantaged people have the opportunity to interact with other people, to share views, ideas and opinions on topics and to prepare their own bread.

Here is what the award judge – Gabriela Civico, Director of CEV European Volunteer Center – shared about our initiative:

“In this project, I saw how different European values ​​intertwine, uniting volunteers to put together bread, talk, listen, exchange ideas, and this always goes on to share not only food but also ideas and common activities that bring together community.

“People from different backgrounds and realities are involved in the initiative. And flour is not so expensive, which makes it easy to reproduce the project around the world, which makes it innovative in its universal applicability. “

Following the awards, the Bread Houses Network was invited to join a political debate on Europe’s values ​​today and civic engagement through volunteering. More information on the topics covered could be found here.

We take the opportunity to thank the hundreds of volunteers who join Solidarity Bread every last Saturday of the month and help build a more cohesive and strong community, and the Solidarity Club of Food not Bombs for the amazing partnership, which we also enjoy Tulip Foundation, which nominated and supported the initiative.

And we will be waiting for you on 21st December for the last Solidarity Bread for 2019!

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!