THE YOUTH OF BULGARIA AND DRUG CONSEQUENCES - WE NEED TO HAVE THIS DISCUSSION
Project: „Awareness and creative thinking - the road to change"
Beneficiary: PULSE Foundation
Partners: Evris Foundation, Iceland, Pernik Municipality; National Police General Directorate, Ministry of Interior; Social Health Anternatives Foundation, Pleven
Financing: 29 929 Euro
Period of implementation: 8.06.2015 – 7.06.2016
Goal: Organisation of drug prevention campaigns among Bulgarian youth
With 17 years of history, PULSE Foundation has strong experience of working with victims of domestic violence and drug addicts. Willing to get involved in more initiatives targetting young people, 2 youth clubs are established to the Foundation - "Let's be friends" and "Pumas". This paved the road to a stronger focus towards prevention activities. Following a number of studies and filled questionnaires among students 12 to 19 years old, the team came to the conclusion that the threshold for start of drug usage has been lowered. This led to the idea for a project specially targetting young people up to 19 years old, in order to encourage a discussion on the topic but in a easy to understand way. The Foundation combines power with a number of partners including one from the Donor States - the Icelandic Foundation "Evris".
Veselina Georgieva and Kristina Georgieva (from left to right) are graduated psychologists and part of the PULSE Foundation team, that is working under the project. They tell us about the efforts needed so that the project can reach young people. With the help of young actors from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts a number of video clips under the title "My dear me" were shot telling true stories and sending a message for the young about the dangers of taking drugs. Five schools in Pernik and Pleven have hosted psychological theatre sessions where parents and children exchange roles and learn more about each others responsibilities. So called "Rooms of trust" were established in 3 schools where students can discuss issues and find support.
Successful partnerships - the key for a good project
The projects cherishes from the experience of a number of organisations and institutions working in the field of prevention. Among them is Evris Foundation from Iceland, a partnership established during a Matchmaking event held in May 2014. The Foundation is actively involved with its experience in prevention and takes part in a number of meetings with students. This also brings more ideas for future partnership initiatives that will be the topic of our next meeting with the team from PULSE Foundation.
From the youth and for the youth
Alexander and Martin are volunteers from "Pumas" and active participants in the project. Thet admit being already quite popular among the youth of Pernik and this helpes them take down the barriers of communication and have open discussion for topics that are quite far from the perception of the parents. Both share that for the young people it is important to know what to do in unusual situations, how to take care for a friend in need and to have a general knowledge abouth drugs and their consequences. For this purposes a handbook and an e-book have been developed under the project. They include stories of real people with changed names in order to provide realistic situations. The aim is to learn from the mistakes of others and make steps forward in life. In this regard, Alexander and Martin are commencing their university studies in Psychology this autumn. We wish them all the best in their endeavours.
Members of Youth Club "Pumas"