Preventive work with children and youngsters
28.09.2007
The working meeting was organised by Tulip Foundation and took place on 28 and 29 September in Sofia.

Prevention is extremely important for the development of young people in any community and for overcoming some difficulties and problems accompanying the process of growing up. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for organisation from all over Bulgaria to share their experience, good practices, difficulties they have faced in their own preventive work with children and young people and help each other to become more efficient and successful in their work. 

More than 60 organisations declared interest in taking part in the meeting. Representatives of 30 of those organisations from Lovech, Targovishte, Varna, Blagoevgrad, Haskovo, Veliko Tarnovo, Gorna Oriahovitsa, Russe, Malko Tarnovo, Berkovitsa, Pleven, Burgass, Sliven, Zgorigrad, Pirdop, Smolian, Pavolche, Razgrad, Pazardjik and Sofia, which are currently implementing projects aimed at prevention in the community discussed during the two working days different forms of preventive work with children and young people, methods of involving the parents and the families in the planning and implementation of the activities and possibilities for cooperation with the local authorities and the state institutions.

There were representatives of NGOs, which work with different groups of children and young people in small towns and villages as well as in big towns and cities. Their activities are aimed at prevention of school dropping out, social isolation, aggression, violence, trafficking, antisocial behaviour, AIDS, drug abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, etc. Some of the organisations work with children in the community, others with young people at risk, children and young people leaving the state social institutions, Roma children, children with antisocial behaviour, etc. Among the activities being implemented by the organisations are consulting; training in social skills and vocational orientation and training; outclass activities such as music, dancing, folklore, interest clubs; various competitions for paintings, posters, essays; preparation for school; various performance activities like theatre; ecological initiatives, media and environmental campaigns, etc. 

The participants unanimously pointed out that among the important elements of efficient prevention with children and young people are the innovation and interactive methods and technologies; motivating and including the children and young people in the process of planning and implementation as well as giving them the freedom to choose and be creative; sustainability of the activities. Some good practices were discussed mainly about the use of various methods and approaches among which were: discussions, forum theatre, programmes based on peer learning, training films, performances and other public events, different art techniques, home visits, individual programmes.

Among the main difficulties in the preventive work with children and young people the following were mentioned: involving the parents and families and reaching and attracting to prevention programmes of children who have dropped out of school. These two components play an important role in the context of prevention in the community where the family and the school are the basic elements in the process of children’s social development.

In the second day of the meeting the participants discussed various possibilities for cooperation and exchange of experience among them systematic exchange of information, working visits, trainings, etc.

The represented organisations stressed on the importance of the National Strategy for Children 2007 – 2017, developed by the Government as a main political document regarding the welfare of children in Bulgaria.

 On the basis of their long term practical experience in working with children and young people the participants as well as a number of other civil organisations prepared concrete recommendations about the strategy which were presented in written to the attention of the Prime Minister, respective ministries, state agencies, commissions in the Parliament, the Prosecutor’s Office and civil organisations. The participants expressed also their readiness to contribute experience and resources for improving the conditions for development of children and young people in Bulgaria.

List of the organisations with a brief summary of their activities is presented on the web site of Tulip Foundation (www.tulipfoundation.net). Any organisation that wishes to be included in the list and to participate in future working meetings and exchange of experience is invited to fill out an information form and send it to Tulip Foundation by e-mail or ordinary mail.;

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