On December 1st and 2nd, a workshop was held in Sofia on the topic “Opportunities and barriers to parental activism in Bulgaria”. The meeting was initiated by Tanya’s Dreams Fund and organized by the Civic Initiatives Workshop Foundation(CIWF). The donor has shown interest in supporting a long-term national programme to increase the capacity and build a movement of organizations and individuals practicing parent activism. CIWF currently facilitates a process of consultation and joint planning of the programme with the participation of a wide range of stakeholders. The workshop is part of this process.
Svetla Mezhri – Director of the Complex for Social Services and Galina Bisset – Executive Director of Equilibrium took part as panelists in the working meeting.
Svetla Mezhri took part in the first panel as a member of the team that contributed to research done by the Know How Centre (New Bulgarian University) which studied for 1 year the question “Is there parental activism in Bulgaria?”. The researchers presented the methodology and principles of the study, as well as its results, which will be presented in detail in a report.
One of the three short films “Being a parent” was also presented, revealing the perspective of a Roma family, which moved the participants and warmed up the work in groups.
Partners of the “Voices of Vulnerability” project organization took part in the panel at the invitation of “Equilibrium” – Kremena Stoyanova from “Parallel World” Plovdiv – parent of a youth with intellectual disabilities and creator of the Plovdiv parents’ organization; Valeria Draganova, Maria Hristova and Boryana Klimentova from “Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria branch”, who were accompanied by mothers with whom they work in the field. Each of them presented the perspective of both the parent and the professional and explained what unites them and how they understand parent activism.
There is much work to be done in developing a national programme funded by the Tanya’s Dream Fund to support and develop parent activism in the country. The workshop laid the necessary foundation for this, taking into account the many and varied points of view and especially those of the parents themselves.