As a benefactor of the Velux Foundations, Equilibrium participated in an event described as a “cluster” conference that brought together those Bulgarian organizations whose ambitious projects are supported by the Danish organization.
Velux board member Jens-jergen Pedersen explained that the event was designed to bring organizations together, to provoke future cooperation and to reveal the impact of their work.
Equilibrium was represented by David Bisset and Fani Merakchiyska the coordinator of our project that will lead to the creation of the country’s first Early Childhood Resource Centre. This will be a facility in which a multidisciplinary team will use dynamic, informal and highly inter-active methods when working with families, educators and childcare professionals in order to nudge attitudes and practices in Bulgaria in the direction of universal family support by showing models representative of Europe’s most progressive practice.
Having just returned from Gothenburg where an Equilibrium team learned about Swedish open pre-school, a service designed for parents and children, David explained the way in which the principles enshrined in national policy are understood by practitioners, academics and students who are studying to become social workers or teachers. There is a common language that ensures a coherent approach and a profound commitment to public service. This contrasts markedly with the incoherence and brittle authoritarianism of early years’ childcare and education in Bulgaria. Despite talk of “integration”, the Bulgarian system fails to cater for the full range of intelligences and learning styles never mind learning difficulty, disability or minority ethnicity.
During the conference, Galya Bisset revealed how deinstitutionalization is pretty much on course to ensure that all institutions are closed by 2019. In this context, it becomes apparent that the next frontier for NGOs concerned with social progress is the education system that needs to be overhauled from top to bottom – nursery to university – to ensure that all children can develop a love of learning during infancy that allows them to fulfill their true potential within a system that nurtures talent and multiple intelligences.
As new legislation has recently been introduced in the field of education, NGOs have both been provided with a challenge and given an opportunity to work together to make big change happen. There is little doubt that Equilibrium’s new undertaking has huge significance within a new surge of initiatives several of which were showcased in Varna.