FIT project mobility to Ruse, Bulgaria, 3rd-7th of April

At the "Zora" kindergarten - services for children with SEN, Ruse, Bulgaria

In the beginning of April the partner organization from Bulgaria “Initiatives for Civil Society” organized the 2nd mobility in terms of the FIT project. The mobility took place in Ruse, Bulgaria, also called as Little Vienna, famous for many first innovations in Bulgaria and located only around 70 km away from Bucharest, Romania, which facilitates different possibilities for cross-border collaboration projects. Therefore most of the project participants took a flight to Bucharest and had a chance to cross the first of the two bridges over the Danube river connecting Bulgaria and Romania the Ruse-Giurgiu Bridge – formerly also known as the Friendship bridge opened in 1954.

The mobility programme was intense, full of interesting visits, excursions, cultural activities and exchanges.

Day I: Welcoming and informative visits

The day started with a visit to the Europe District Information Point in Ruse co-financed by the EU through the European Regional Development Fund and established with the aim to provide easy access to the information about EU cohesion policy, NSRF and funding opportunities. The Information Point’s activities will continue till May 2015, but during our visit they made a presentation shortly described main activities and best practices in Ruse. By now in the region there were already 111 information events organizedwith more than 3800 participants, also different common initiatives in collaboration with children and youth, study tours abroad and public presentations. The Information Point also makes the updates of the best practices and conducted projects on the EU Structural Funds Portal (Single Information Web Portal) and on the Unified Management Information System for the EU Structural Instruments website. There are finalized already around 123 projects related to the city reconstruction and modernization, introduction of the new technological equipment, social rehabilitation and integration. In collaboration with the Union of the Blind in Bulgaria there were organized range of activities for the blind – cooking, Braille alphabet, mobility and orientation classes, entertainment therapy and phonetic library. In the Lomovete – rock mountain bird protection center – the bird’s conservation center in the village of Nisovo was built, Egyptian vulture and Black stork species were traced and marked and the floodplain meadow was restored – the Black stork’s habitat. The social company – soup kitchen “SPOT” was organized that provided daily meals for over 100 people and created 17 new job openings and employing 12 workers from the risk group. Currently there is being built the center for the three family-type accommodations which will provide home for 36 – 42 children and youngsters with disabilities aged 3 to 18 years. Also the artists are not forgotten, in September 2012 the festival of contemporary urban culture ‘I, the City’ was organized with more than 40 different events in 10 days, but the “Home Services Unit” is providing care for the ageing people with limited abilities or unable to care for themselves (adults living on their own).

This visit was followed by a meeting with the Vice Mayor of the Ruse Municipality Strahil Karapchanski who introduced us Ruse’s three main development directions – cross-border collaboration (Ruse is a border town with Romania), culture (Ruse is considered the Free Spirit of Bulgaria) and birth place of the writer, Nobel prize winner Elias Canetti. Furthermore the municipality also applied for the Bloomberg’s Mayors Challenge 2014.

After the lunch break the participants visited the kindergarten “Zora” (“Sunrise”) with the services for the children with special education needs (SEN) and the “Center for Work with Children” (“Kомплекс за социални услуги за деца и семейства“) with the services for children at risk. The center not only organizes different activities for children, but also supports them by providing a temporary place at the center to live throughout the year.

Rest of the day the project participants worked on the FIT portal and ICT tools reviewing the current implemented functionality and suggesting improvements and changes.

The day finished with dinner at the traditional Bulgarian restaurant “Chiflika” introducing to the project participants the traditional Bulgarian food serving it with fire performances and the traditional dances which one could also try and learn.

Day II: Trip to Veliko Tarnovo and Transfiguration Monastery

Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval capital of the II Bulgarian Empire, also referred to as the “City of the Tsars (Kings)”. The city impressed with its rich nature – the Yantra river and the three hills of the old town -, the architecture having some remembrances with Italy and Turkey and the provoking and creative graffiti. The history of the city can be discovered at the multimedia visitor center “Tsarevgrad Tarnov” (Youtube video) opened last year and which features 29 wax figures of the historical persons of Veliko Tarnovo.

The next destination was the Transfiguration Monastery founded around 11th century AD, but fully destroyed after the conquest of the Ottomans and renewed only in 1825 by father Zoticus of the Rila Monastery by means of donations. The monastery is rich with icons and frescoes. One of the best known is the “Circuit of Life” painted by Samokov master painter Zahari Zograph on the outer wall of the church. Nowadays monastery serves as a library and museum. More information about the monastery here (in Bulgarian).

Day III: Work on FIT Portal, ICT Tools and Discussing Other Organizational Issues

During the last day of the mobility the work on the FIT portal continued, partners came up with several specific Flash games scenarios and topics to be covered. One of the main topics that is not enough addressed and covered according to the parents and professionals working with children with disabilities is sexuality. Having said that the biggest challenge of  “what are the best ways to present and to teach the sexuality topic to the children with disabilities?” remained open to discussions and further investigations.

Also the dates of the next mobility visits to Latvia and to Italy were agreed:

  • 25.09. – 28/29.09.2014 – Art workshop seminar in Latvia;
  • 25.03. – 28/29.03.2015 – “Record the reality” workshop for developing digital media skills, presentation of interactive films and developing the methods (meeting for teachers and invited guests) in Foligno, Italy.

The work on the project will also continue in between the mobility meetings and further conference calls were already agreed upon during the last day.

About the project “Fascinating ICT Tools for People with Disabilities” (FIT):

The goal of the project is to develop and deliver ICT tool consisting of different modules as: educational tasks and tutorials, interactive digital films, registered workshops on Art Therapy and Recording Reality – creating internet magazine, all based on a simple communication, in easy to read text.

Project partner organizations:

  • Polskie Stowarzyszenie na Rzecz Osób z Upośledzeniem Umysłowym, Poland (NGO, Website)
  • Social Innovation Centre, Latvia (NGO, Website)
  • Zespół Szkół nr 6 w Rybniku, Poland (School, Website)
  • Initiatives for Civil Society, Bulgaria (NGO)
  • Associazione VIAINDUSTRIAE, Italy (NGO, Website)
  • Instituto Politecnico de Santarem, Portugal (University, Website)

Read more about the project here.

SIC also received the certificate of attendance:

FIT Certificate of attendance

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