The project took place in the historical city of Karlovo, in central Bulgaria from the 25th of September till the 3rd of October 2021. The host partner of the program, Young Active Creative NGO from Bulgaria, along with the partners from Greece, Hungary, Germany, Italy, and Romania completed that European puzzle. Each organisation sent a team of fully engaged participants. In total 42 young participants were involved in this youth exchange and were given the opportunity to learn and share a lot of new things. 

Youth had the chance to meet, discuss and exchange ideas through non-formal activities and interactive games for the democratic values and how active are young people about the social problems in their local communities and what could be done in order to create a better future for all of us.

The objectives of this project were:

– promoting active citizenship and participation, analyzing how EU policy can foster shared planning youth-oriented

– fostering interculturality as an instrument of cooperation, inclusion and tearing down marginalization

– spreading EU democratic values to strengthen gender equality, respect for human rights social justice and individual freedom.

Their journey started from the first day that all arrived in Bulgaria. A nice welcoming dinner with all the participants was a great start for the project and the next day a new week full of energy was about to begin. The week had a variety of activities such as acts about differences and isolation from society, questionnaire to the residents of the area and a try to see how difficult could be the everyday life of people with special needs. 

Throughout the week the young participants discovered new skills and prepared themselves for social realization through the knowledge, enjoyment and protection of human rights & freedoms in accordance with the laws of a democratic society.

Furthermore, the young participants were lucky to see and learn about the customs and tradition of Karlovo, for example the competition for Miss Rose, because Karlovo is famous for the roses and its products from them. They also gave their suggestions through the activities about what could help Karlovo to be more attractive to youngsters that live there and how could be improved. 

In addition, youth saw the beautiful waterfall that was on the mountain of their area which was a great opportunity to escape from the routine of the everyday sessions and be part of nature. Also they visited another city, Plovdiv. With their new friends they walked through the city in its special architecture in the old town, the parks and in the main part of it.

The project was an unforgettable experience that enabled Greek participants to develop themselves, both individually and collectively and helped them to establish themselves as active participants in public life. Bardha, Vivien, Dimitris, Pelagia and Panagiotis were the members of this amazing Greek team whom we really wanna thank for all their contribution and collaboration throughout the project! 

Vivien from the Greek team said: “We gained inspiration, new friends with interesting personalities, discussions, experiences, photos, smiles and funny moments that we will remember every time we smell a rose.”

We as EKO, we are very grateful for that amazing opportunity given to the Greek team and we thank our partner Katya Aleksieva-Stoynova and all the rest members of the hosting organization Young Active Creative NGO for all their hard work and for creating such an impactful project!