Naturalistic Intelligence Training Course

The story, the tools, the reflection and laughter moments | By Mariana Ivanova If you would rather skip the story and go directly to the tools, here is the booklet pdf with tools I chose to share from my experience and from the training.  It all started Two months before I heard about the training, I thought, “Hmm, this sounds interesting, but is this really for me?” Then the universe began guiding my path in different ways. I met an interesting man named Adrian, a teacher from Holland, in Bansko, Bulgaria (where we both chose to live). A few days later, we watched a documentary called Fantastic Fungi together at the Altspace coworking space. This movie really brought me back to my strong connection with nature and…

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EmpACT4 Training Course Testimonial

EmpACT is a series of training courses aimed at increasing organizations' capacity at project management, digital skills, facilitation, etc. It's a program run by Coconutwork and today we share the testimonial of Simona - this year's participant at EmpACT4, representing Zarika and Bulgaria. EmpACT4 was a two-part Erasmus+ training course, coordinated by Coconutwork, with the goal of enhancing youth workers' facilitation skills and providing organizational management knowledge that can easily be applied and adapted to the needs of different target groups. Thanks to the Zarika Association, I had the privilege of being part of both parts - the first near Cabris, France, in March, and the second in Nea Makri, Greece, in May. Meeting like-minded people from more than ten different countries and working together to improve…

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Brainstorming brunch: Fueling change one brunch at a time

Our first brainstorming brunch went productive and delicious in Blagoevgrad! With members of our community in the town, we discussed what the needs and problems of young people are, gathered feedback and experiences from young people in our circles from different places, and began to think about how we could do research locally, regionally, and even on a national level. For the delicious part of our brunch, we trusted Hangout Blagoevgrad, and the place enchanted us with delicious things to eat and original drinks such as lavender latte. After the first brainstorming brunch, it is clear that one becomes much more productive on a full stomach and in a nice environment, so we are also looking for other local businesses to support in its next editions.

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Ruraland Youth Exchange Recap

In the heart of Tortorella, nestled in the scenic Cilento region, 30 young minds coming from 5 countries across Europe got together for the Ruraland Youth Exchange. Here, amidst cobblestone streets and rolling hills, a vibrant cultural exchange happened. Participants kicked off with ice-breaking activities, sharing expectations and fears while forging bonds through games like "human bingo" and rhythmic dances. They delved into the essence of rural life, painting vivid portraits of their hometowns and immersing in trust-building exercises. Explorations extended beyond the village as participants met with local artisans, marveling at Laura's sculptures and Giovanni's metalwork. They savored the flavors of artisanal beer and danced and singed to the rhythms of folk music. Each day brought new adventures, from scenic hikes through Cilento's mountains to cultural…

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Care for Change Training Course Testimonials

Care for Change was an Erasmus+ training course about the topic of conflict transformation through NVC and embodiment. Here's what one of the participants we sent, Anabelle Moghadam, shares about her experience. I am thrilled to share my experience with this one-week project, which exceeded my expectations in terms of depth and engagement with the topic.  The title "Care for Change" truly resonated with me from the beginning, reading the infopack, and when actually there I was deeply moved by how the trainers embodied the principles of nonviolence with such authenticity. Their genuine commitment set the tone and created an atmosphere that allowed our group to make remarkable progress in understanding and making the first steps in applying NVC skills in such a short time. What stood…

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EuroYouthVoice Erasmus+ Project Testimonials

The participants representing Bulgaria and Zarika Association returned from the EuroYouthVoice youth exchange in Latvia, which took place between April 2 and April 10, 2024. The EuroYouthVoice project aims to resume young people's interest in civil and democratic processes in Europe, which leads to an awareness of the importance of participating in the European elections in 2024 and its promotion in their communities. As a result of their participation, young people have created the Instagram page @evrofen, where they explain European political processes in an accessible language. Follow them! We asked the participants for reviews of their project experience, here are their answers. How would you describe your 3 -word experience? Nikola: fun, instructive, adventure Gabriela: growth, fun, unforgettable Valentin: unforgettable, fun, memorable Svetoslav: interesting, exciting, memorable…

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RiseUpEU Erasmus+ Project Testimonials

Our team representing Bulgaria is back from an exciting project in Cuevas Bajas, Malaga, Spain! RiseUpEU: Empowering Youth Voices in EU Elections. The youth exchange took place between March 21 and 29, 2024. This project focused on the topics of European elections, voting, active citizenship, which brought together young people from Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain! Let's read the feedback and impressions of our participants: Emil: My experience at the Erasmus+ project was enriching and educational. I got more familiar with voting, campaigns, and elections. I met new people and got to know them better. Last but not least, I put my English in use, which was my main point of the project. Hristiyan: My experience at this project was also great. I stroke up…

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Training Course: Naturalistic Intelligence in Youth Work

What? Zarika Association is excited to share with you this wonderful training course on the topic of naturalistic intelligence in youth work, which is hosted by our partner organization Zavod Aspira. Naturalistic intelligence, as recognized by Gardner’s theory, encompasses the ability to understand and appreciate nature deeply, allowing individuals to fully immerse themselves in natural environments. The primary objective of this training is to empower youth workers and leaders to foster naturalistic intelligence within their respective youth communities. By honing the skills necessary to engage with and appreciate nature, participants will gain valuable insights into creating enriching experiences for young people. Where? Trbovlje, Slovenia When? 20/05/2024 to 26/05/2024 (incl. travel) Who? 2 participants 18+ from Bulgaria Why? Participants in this TC will: Connect with nature and get…

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ACT Training Course – Adaptability and Creativity through Theater

Here we are, sharing a recap of an incredible week in Bansko, Bulgaria, where we had the privilege of hosting ACT - Adaptability and Creativity through Theater training course! 🎭 ACT was a 7-day training course for youth workers to use theater as a tool to cultivate adapting-to-change skills. Life is a constant adaptation. From changing jobs to starting university or ending a relationship, we are constantly having to say goodbye to things as they were and welcome the new and unexpected. In the training, we focused on cultivating the skills we need to navigate these moments of transition; and on gaining awareness of our own relationship with change and uncertainty, and on creating a playful and supportive environment to practice embracing the unknown. Participants explored how…

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Be the Change – Social Entrepreneurship Education for Youth | Project Results

The "Be the Change" project, a KA2 small-scale partnership initiative co-funded by the European Union and executed by Zarika Association, Zavod Aspira, and ICAD Foundation, has successfully concluded with remarkable outcomes. The project aimed to promote and support social entrepreneurship in small towns and rural areas in Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Poland, fostering a positive impact on local communities. This article highlights the key results achieved through the collaborative efforts of the partner organizations. Mapping of Social Businesses One of the primary objectives of the Be the Change project was to conduct a comprehensive mapping of social businesses in Bulgaria, Slovenia, and Poland. The mapping exercise aimed to identify and understand the landscape of social enterprises, providing valuable insights into their activities, impact areas, and the challenges they…

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