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Bread Encounters – Bread Houses Network’s licensee and the way they spread kindness through bread

Although 2020 is not the best year to call, it definitely brought us plenty of changes and opportunities. This summer we launched our online training platform Bread Therapy and started training people around the world from the comfort of their homes through our new digital product. One of our summer licensees was Sibyl Leon who was so inspired by our methods that she created her own NGO and is already using bread therapy in a quest for bringing a positive social change in her community.

Last week her organization Bread Encounters held their first bread therapy with children living in transitional housing. Here we are sharing with you Bread Encounters’ story about their last bread therapy activity with children in ECTLC campus. Enjoy their inspirational article!

” Our mission is to spread kindness and create human connection through bread. On Saturday, October 24, 2020, a historical day, we did just that!

BREAD Encounters held its first baking activities on the ECTLC campus which houses 400 residents in a transitional housing program, over 100 of them children. When we originally met with Director of Family Services James Merino and his lovely wife Claudia (Program Coordinator), he mentioned to us that that they had few programs for children at ECTLC. Since our programs can be tailored to a variety of audiences, it was decided that our initial programs would focus on the children.

Sabine Friedrich-Walter, BREAD Encounters’ Program Director, decided on a outdoor “pizza on the barbeque” baking event with selected children, while I (founder of BREAD Encounters) had the opportunity to lead my first official bread therapy session since getting certified by BREAD House Network in Sofia, Bulgaria this summer.

While Sabine was off to a bit of a rough start in the morning due to some initial hickups with the set up, once everything was in place, her pizza workshop for the kids (which included some unique pizza cookies) was much enjoyed by both the participants and their enthusiastic teacher!

 

My own class was not until the afternoon and I had the pleasure of having the support of my dear friend Ret. Navy Commander Tim McCully, the current Rotary Club of Point Loma President. Although by his own admission not the artistic type, Tim kindly participated in our flour drawing and the kids enjoyed hearing his explanation of the character he drew, the Dread Pirate Roberts. The premise for the flour drawings was to chose a favorite character from a movie, book or video. In the sharing part of the class, the children talked about their characters and what qualities of their characters made them their favorite. We learned about “The Good Egg”, Fusion Droid and even Captain Hook made it into a flour drawing. Since he generally is not recognized as a good character per se, I asked young Malachi how he came to chose Captain Hook. His explanation was an interesting one: He acknowledged that Hook was a bad guy, but that he was very impressed with the great acting skills of the person who portrayed Hook in the movie! We also learned that Fusion Droid and The Good Egg would not get along with each other if they happened to end up in the same universe. Who knew?

Malachi was not one of our assigned children for the class but he stopped by our class room and looked like he really wanted to participate and so, after procuring a face mask for him, we had him join the class. And a good thing it was! Otherwise we never would have learned about Captain Hook’s great acting skills!

During this part of our class we had some visitors in the form of a film crew who came to take some footage of our bread therapy session for ECTLC’s upcoming Virtual Gala in November. After all, ECTLC is the pilot for the first BREAD Houses Network program in a Transitional Housing Center!

Saturday was also designated International Bake Bread For Peace Day and I shared with the children that a lady in Ireland named Kelly Breezy who founded this event, was aware of our baking event today. One of the children told us that his teacher showed them a world map and I suggested that he look up Ireland when he went back to online class on Monday. He was also going to look up Bulgaria which is the country that BREAD Houses Network is located.”

If you already feel yourself full of enthusiasm, we encourage you to read the whole article HERE and learn more about Bread Encounters’ latest initiatives!

For those who want to learn how to become part of our Crumbassadors network, do visit our newest online educational platform BREAD THERAPY! We hope to hear from you soon 🙂

Let’s Go program for social enterprises

The declared state of emergency and the restrictive measures imposed due to the spread of COVID-19 have led to a change in the business environment and to an increase in social needs in our communities. The consequences of the crisis have affected the way we operate in the medium and long term, and at the same time, we, the social enterprises, are called to offer sustainable solutions to address issues of public importance, most of which existed before the crisis but which have been deepened as a consequence of it.

It was in the context of the crisis in June that our friends and colleagues from BCNL offered us a focused and intensive support, which addressed the specific needs in view of our plans for development and helped us clarify many ideas that had emerged in recent months.

Together with 14 other civil society organizations, we joined the program, which lasted 3 months (June-August) and which provided individual support to all 15 organizations. A team of mentors works with each social enterprise (experts in various fields: financial planning and sales, marketing and advertising, organizational and legal issues). The online meetings included individual sessions with mentors to set goals and tasks. Throughout the period we received specific advice and expert support from 4 mentors from the Business Institute, 9Academy and Unicredit Bulbank.

The business idea we worked on together with our great mentors was the launch and distribution of the latest product of the Bread Houses Network – the innovative online training platform on unique methods developed by Dr. Nadezhda Savova-Grigorova – Bread Therapy™ (https: / /breadtherapy.net/). The purpose of the platform is to enable people and organizations from all over the world to be trained in our methods of Bread Therapy™ in an online environment without having to travel thousands of kilometers, as this has been our practice so far. An entirely new set of video lessons and an educational manual on Bread Therapy was developed, describing in detail all 23 methods and programs (13 social programs and 10 unique paid services). This new product has allowed us to follow the mission and goals of the organization, constantly evolving and offering new tools for building a fairer and better world.

Participating in the Let’s Go Program has given us the opportunity to define the steps we need to follow to allow our methods to reach more people and communities and bring more sustainable social change globally.

We thank our wonderful mentors from the Business Institute, 9Academy and Unicredit Bulbank, as well as BCNL for the extremely professional organization and support throughout the program. We will keep you updated about the development of the platform and about the welcoming of the new Bakers without Borders, joining our global family!

Launching our new online training platform www.breadtherapy.net

We are happy to announce that we just launched our specialized online training platform www.breadtherapy.net with the mission to enable more individuals and organizations around the world to get trained in our methods online, without having to travel to our headquarters for on-site training. We have developed a whole new set of video tutorials and a complete Bread Therapy Toolkit (180 pages) describing in details all of 23 methods and programs in total (13 free social programs and 10 unique paid services). Please contact us for more information, ideas, and inspirations on how you can make a difference in your community and country implementing our know-how. Join our global family!

Adapted online sessions on Bread Therapy

Despite the quarantine in which we live, we continue to successfully support our friends from the family-type accommodation center in the village of Vidrare. In April, we launched online adapted Bread Therapy sessions with them. Now more than ever there is a need for support, conversation and sharing of emotions, thoughts, and why not bread.

Through our methods we respond to this need and stay close to people. We managed to get together for 3 consecutive weeks and learn how to make Easter kozunak, biscuits and a wonderful ‘sun’ cake following a local recipe.

Easter in Solidarity

#High-TOUCH through high-tech

Easter brought light and joy in our lives! It was an opportunity to indulge ourselves in thoughts about good deeds and solidarity. Therefore we also did it, a day before Easter, together with Food Not Bombs – Sofia we decided to make not just an Easter but a solidarity Easter kozunaks with the idea to express our support to both the nearest and dearest, but also to those who do not have a warm home where to prepare traditional sweet breads.

The kneading was marked by the sign of sharing – sharing of the emotions and the events which interest us these days; of traditions and recipes from different parts of Bulgaria and France; of thoughts about the ‘revival’ to come after the state of emergency is cancelled and last but not least – sharing of the already made and baked kozunaks with people in need.

Our wish is to be more cohesive and human in our relations with the others and not to forget that the mutual assistance is magical and not make us brighter and better people!

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.