The European Volunteering Service round 1 featured Frank Mgimwa from Tanzania, Sinethemba Mashiane from South Africa, Kugonza Jackline from Uganda and Yash Chaudhari from India were at Open Space Foundation Bulgaria that commenced on 1 Sept 2019 to 31st Jan 2020 under the FIRE Project.

Their main activities included: Learning how to transform their ideas into a reality by the formation of project plans, working on project planning and proposal writing including searching funds for the formed projects. Frank and Sinethemba taught music to Roma kids and participated in a few music concerts, while Yash Chaudhari worked on developing the study at home website and app which is to be used for publishing the content taught in the three non-formal training courses.

Challenges faced were: too much coldness during winter, Jackline said, “In Uganda we used to complain about coldness, but it was actually not cold, here I have been putting on 5 jackets but still felt very cold and almost froze the moment I went outside.” In addition, to some Bulgarians being overwhelmed to see a black person. Sinethemba said, “it really broke my heart to find people here who dint know that black people exist

The project accumulated many benefits to our organizations in the consortium in several ways such as:

  • Project planning and proposal writing skills are to be used to develop the organization ideas and realize them into a reality, this would also earn the organization more funds and impact more people, for example, Jackline developed a project to raise funds to support education.
  • Presentation and public skills gained will be used to advance and promote the local organization and project. Sinethemba said, “I have greatly improved my public speaking skills, the first time I tried to present CACPIR in Training Course 1 I suffered a panic attack but now I’m able to talk confidently in Public, thank you Pepa and everyone for supporting me to develop this area of my life.”
  • Jackline’s Computer skills greatly improved, she said that before she used laptops on to watch movies, but during the project realized that a computer could be used to accomplish a number of important tasks.

The team visit some NGO-s in Bulgaria and Turgovishte town to learn good practices. The exchanges and analyzing together all these experience rise their capacity and give them ideas what they can do in their countries.

One of the volunteers propose training course for the staff members and customers of the center working with roma people in Sofia. Here is her proposal:

More about the Hosting organization Open Space Foundation: here