The Volunteer Initiative awards were announced for eleventh successive year at a ceremony at the Presidency of the Republic of Bulgaria on 20 December. The Vice President Iliana Yotova congratulated the participants and noted that the coming year will be very good as volunteers are the first visitors on the day of Ignazhden according to the tradition.
Reneta Veneva from NAVA told about the history of the competition and the nominations. Maria Petkova from Tulip Foundation spoke about volunteering as a personal choice of people with a will for good deeds, connection among people and search for new solutions in difficult periods.
The members of the Jury presented the awards. Manol Peikov from Publishing House ZHANET 45 started with a quote from Stoyan Mihailovski that “the evil comes fast as it goes down, the good comes slower as it goes upwards.” He spoke about the renovation and bringing back to cultural life of a 115 years old building of a Community Club St. St. Cyril and Methodius -1905 in Velingrad. With the efforts of many people with different skills the nearly ruined building is again open for visitors for concerts and events.
Diana Kovatcheva, Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, presented emotionally the activities of volunteers for reaction in cases of disasters, catastrophes and accidents of Emergency Rescue Plovdiv Association. They are engaged with cleaning the area of Boikovo village and Danov Hill, putting out a fire next to Yugovo, volunteer duty hours at hospitals, charitable actions for delivery of food packs to lonely living older in small villages, free trainings on paramedics help for students and teachers, first help training for people with hearing disabilities.
Alexey Lazarov, Chef editor of Capital Newspaper, spoke about Srednogoirski good-maker - an initiative of group of students from St. Paisii Hiledarsli School in Zlatitsa town. He invited the two boys who started the initiative to tell about their activities. In the beginning of the year two boys from Tsarkvishte village decided to clean up a nearby mountain area. They collected quite a number of sacks with garbage. Then they appeal to people from the local community to only leave their trash in the bins. And then numerous volunteers join them – students, young people, citizens. Every week they clan a different part of the mountain above Zlatitsa Municipality. Thus they collect tens of sacks with trash, put signposts, plant trees, search for adoptive families for strait dogs and cats.
This year were nominated 33 various initiatives in education, culture, ecology, sports, city living, social inclusion implemented by civil and business organisations, community clubs, schools, universities, touristic associations and voluntary groups. The best initiatives were selected on the basis of the results, the importance for the local community, the number and the involvement of the participants, the impact of the initiative for the development of the capacity of the volunteers and the team of the organisation, the financial effectiveness.