Funding source: Operational programme “Human resources development” 2014-2020, BG05M9OP001-2.009 “Find me”, priority axis 2 “Reducing poverty and encouraging social inclusion”
Leading organisation: Crime Prevention Fund – IGA
Scope of the project: Pazardzhik Region
Goal of the project: Facilitating the prevention of institutionalisation and encouraging social inclusion of children and youngsters at a disadvantage and risk who are accommodated at resident services.
Specific aims: Developing an integrated module programme aimed at forming skills for self-dependence, learning, working, and personal development. The programme will be applied through the participation of 30 children and youngsters at a disadvantage and risk who are accommodated at resident services in Pazardzhik region.
Target group: Thirty children and youngsters at a disadvantage at the age of 8 to 29 who use resident services at the territory of Pazardzhik region. They will be divided in three groups of ten children each.
1. Developing Integrated programme for individual and group work “Alternatives”. Modules of the programme: Individual: Module “Intermediary”; Module “Counsellor”; Module “Selection of talent”; Group: Module “Team Yundola”; Module “Alternative summer”, module “Solid basis for the future”;
2. Programme “Alternative” – modules for individual work.
Aim: Applying all individual modules of programme “Alternatives” aimed at forming skills for self-dependence, learning, working, and personal development of the target groups.
3. Programme “Alternatives” – training modules for group work.
Aim: Applying effective group trainings aimed at forming skills for self-dependence, learning, working, and personal development of the target groups.
4. Presenting the results – presenting the results of the Programme to the public.
Analysis of the achieved results; Conducting three events for presenting the results of Programme “Alternatives” in Pazardzhik, Velingrad, and Lesichovo.
5. Information and communication
Creating a link to the project on the website of the organisation; Making information signboards; Conducting an information event at the beginning of the project; Printing and distributing an information brochure.
“Alternative Summer” Educational Adventure Expedition
An “Alternative Summer” module was held in July and August. The children and young people were divided into 3 groups of 10. The expedition took place in the Momchil Yunak hut, near the village of Momchilovtsi, Smolyan region.
The participants acquired skills for effective communication in the conditions of an adventurous educational expedition through various activities including sports, tourism, art and ecology. They also built survival skills based on collaboration and interaction.
The main objectives of the program were: to identify the strengths of the principle of cooperation, trust and encouragement; acquiring skills for assertive behavior with peers and adults; psychological and social adaptation; increase of personal status in conditions of expedition to the mountains; building skills for effective communication and decision-making for future behavior, etc.
Children and young people acquired skills for independent living by cooking and coping with everyday situations, dealing with fears through a night hike, applied activities – woodworking and painting, survival in the mountains through role-playing games and exercises, sports, badminton, volleyball and board games, picking herbs, orienteering in the mountains and building survival skills, research and adventure.
The team that conducted the expedition has extensive experience in working with the target group.
Between July and August 2019 the three groups of the Team Yundola Module – part of the Alternatives program – took place. Based on numerous meetings with the children / young people, managers and teams of social services, groups were formed by the two experts involved. Appropriate programs were prepared for each group that were tailored to the individual characteristics of the children / young people. The difference envisioned in each program was that the passage of a particular route was consistent with the age and physical endurance of the children in the group. Thus, the same activity in the three groups was organized differently. The approach for each group was also different, given that in one group the children were under 10 years of age and in the other, teenagers. The third expert, the actress Maya Bejanska, was the leader of all three groups. The three experts worked in parallel in each group.
The module involves the creation of a team that, through the means of art, builds an environment of trust in which everyone can communicate and share their perspectives – provoking their imagination and creative thinking. The module takes the form of an educational and adventure program and includes entertaining and competitive games, creative activities, environmental activities, theater, applied techniques, rhythm and movement.
Solid Basis for the Future
In the period May-September 2019 the group module “Solid Basis for the Future”, part of the implementation of Activity 3 under the “Alternatives” project, was held. The two experts recruited to implement it are trained to implement the specific program within an international project of the IGA. The module is cognitive-behavioral and enables participants to explore their identities as well as make choices for their future. Each group passes 24 sessions of 4 hours each. The training structure includes: an introductory meeting; 22 sessions on the three central themes “Me and myself”, “Me and my relationships” and “Me and the community”, and a closing meeting. The design of the sessions is fixed and the content of the meetings for a specific target group is regulated. The program includes various methods of work such as group discussions, games and role-playing exercises. During the meetings, participants are exposed to new, positive prospects for their future.
Alternatives Project Advisers
Within one of the activities of the Alternatives project, individual meetings are held within the Advisor Module. Currently an expert psychologist has been appointed who works very successfully with the children / youth involved in the project, as well as a health expert. The need of individual children / young people to consult with a psychologist and health expert was determined by the mediators, based on their meetings with the representatives of the target group and the specialists working with them. It is extremely interesting to meet with a health expert who talks with the target group on many important topics related to the protection of their health and life, gives them information about common diseases, how they should act in certain critical situations, etc. Given the fact that the children are growing up in institutions, their meetings with the healthcare specialist are very rewarding, interesting and significantly enhance their overall health culture.
Mediators work with children from social services
Within one of the activities of the Alternatives project, a Mediator Module is implemented. Three mediators work with the children from the social services involved in the project. The main elements are:
– Initial interviewing and referral of children / young people to the Alternatives program;
– Preparation of a profile of the child / youth, according to their needs and needs for participation in the program;
– Including the child / youth in an appropriate module of the program and constant support for their participation in the relevant module;
– Including the child / youth in programs and resources existing in the area: clubs, groups, music ensembles, etc.;
– Accompanying them, as appropriate, in the modules of the program or in other programs and resources;
– Assisting, together with other mediators, the formation of groups to participate in the group modules of the program;
– Provision of mediation support in career guidance and job search – use of a specialized tool for career guidance;
– Provide mediation support for continuing education and completion of a certain degree: mediation with an educational institution or specialist in education.
At this stage, the mediators also run a program to identify cases of domestic violence with each child individually. The program was developed under another project of IGA. The topic is extremely relevant and, given that these children grow up in social services, it is necessary for every participant to be familiar with the problem.
Integrated programme for individual and group work “Alternatives”
Programme “Alternatives” aims for social inclusion of vulnerable groups and deinstitutionalisation of 30 children and youngsters accommodated at the residence services in Pazardzhik region. It is developed within Project “Alternatives” whose priority is to facilitate prevention of institutionalisation and encourage social inclusion of children and youngsters at a disadvantage and risk, accommodated at the residence services in Pazardzhik region.
The main idea of the Programme is to combine all past experience, expertise, and good practices of Fund IGA in one document in order to integrate all successful elements and approaches and develop new ones.
Programme “Alternatives” consists of 6 modules (3 for individual and 3 for group work) which are interconnected. Going through them, the 30 children/youngsters will get support in overcoming problems and deficiencies in their development.
The programme has an independent module at the “Entrance” and “Exit” which allows for measuring its results. The final assessment will be done through a survey and individual conversations.
The need for such Programme is based on the past experience of IGA in working with children and youngsters accommodated at the residence services. The organisation provides two such services: Crisis Centre and Monitored Care Unit.
The goal is to decrease institutionalisation and help the self-development and social inclusion of children and youngsters at a disadvantage and risk, accommodated at the residence services in Pazardzhik region.
The project is funded by the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund through Operational programme “Human resources development” 2014-2020.
Presenting Project “Alternatives”
Integrated module programme aimed at forming skills for self-dependence, learning, working, and personal development will be established within the project. The programme will be applied through the participation of 30 children and youngsters at a disadvantage and risk who are accommodated at resident services in Pazardzhik region
The project will finish with presenting of the results: conducting 3 events for presenting the products of Programme “Alternatives”. The children and youngsters will do theatrical sketches, musical performances, and an exhibition of items and photos.
The project will be funded by the Youth Employment Initiative and the European Social Fund through Operational programme “Human resources development” 2014-2020.