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1-3Rasim from the family-type home for children in Byala and Raya – a volunteer, accompanied by Aleksandar Panayotov, took part in the autumn children’s rights school in Sofia from 16th to 21st September. This was the first of a series of initiatives which are pursued for young children throughout the country under Megaphone programme in which Equilibrium is participating.

Megaphone is a two-year programme that aims at children and young people who are volunteers or clients of organisations that are members of the National Network for Children.

This first stage of the initiative, in which Rasim and Raya took part, aims towards providing an understanding of child rights and, in particular, the right to express personal opinions and to participation. , It provides an insight into how NGOS involved with these subjects operate. An essential part of the autumn programme is development of the skills needed for forming, expressing and defending positions, giving feedback, working in a team and making presentations in front of a group. It helps provide the appropriate mindset for democratic participation and understanding of the importance of commitment and progress.

This work was challenging for the EQ representatives and especially for Rasim, who, only a year ago. was taken out of a home for children deprived of parental care and placed in a family-type accommodation in Byala.

His participation in this youth programme is an opportunity for him to escape the limitations of institutions, to meet new people and participate on an equal basis with them in the planning and organisation of different events.

This is an important step in Rasim’s development. Although he grew up in an institution, can now, thanks to alternative care, express his own opinion freely and share all that he has experienced.

After their successful participation in the autumn school for children’s rights, Raya and Rasim are now “megaphones” and are looking forward to other events: the spring meeting of Megaphone, the children’s and youth panel in the AGM of the National Network for Children and participation in the planning and implementation of at least one of the public advocacy activities of the network – the Report Card, the Golden Apple Awards and the youth forum ‘Voice it”. Both of them are already working in a team developing the commitments they made during the youth programme.