House of Children – Social Enterprise Project

Buy a brick for the House of Children in Bulgaria and help us start a social enterprise to empower children and youths after care

They did it!


On 4th Dec 2015 we successfully raised

£135

with

5 backers

in

42 days



 

Buy a brick for the House of Children in Bulgaria which will serve as a focal point for all organizations working with and for children and will provide trainings and interactive learning on civil and children’s rights. A place for learning, playing, inspiration and sharing ideas. The House of Children will be run as a social enterprise and will engage young people leaving care – including Bulgaria’s remaining large scale orphanages.

You can help us to empower the children and youths of Bulgaria and create brighter future for all of us. Because we believe that the change in one child changes the whole Bulgaria and maybe the word.

Buying a brick for the House, you will help build the future of Bulgaria.  

 

Who We Are

We are the National Network for Children. The biggest Bulgarian non-for-profit organization uniting more than 130 grass-root member organizations working with and for children and families across the country. Established 10 years ago the National Network for Children is working to improve policies and practices for children and parents in Bulgaria. We seek to learn from our partners in international networks – like EuroChild, ISSA (International Step by Step Association) and ChildPact - and to share our experience regionally and internationally so that others can learn from us.

In 2014 the organizations working within the National Network for Children have reached 94,141 children. Most of these children have disabilities, have been the victims or violence or have no parental care. We have supported 6729 families in need and 3134 professionals working with children.

NNC has been at the heart of a movement in Bulgaria leading to significant reforms across the country which are leading to the improvement of child welfare. These include supporting the closure of large institutions for children, improving new education legislation and creating a range of new social services for children and families acknowledged by the government and local authorities. We are proud of our work to date but know there is some way to go before every child in Bulgaria has the education and care they need.

 

Why the House of Children is needed

Nearly 52% of children in Bulgaria live at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Over the last three years approximately 2000 young children were placed in institutions every year, though the vast majority of children in them have at least one parent or other family members who could care for them: they are placed because of poverty or for some reason their family cannot cope. In the last three years, approximately 7100 children each year were also reported to be in conflict with the law.

Children raised in institutions are deprived of opportunity to have a normal life. As a result, most of them struggle to integrate into the community, to hold down jobs or build their own family life. Many live on the streets where or get into trouble with the police, easy prey for organized criminal gangs and forced into desperate measures to make ends meet.

Even for many of those children who are not in care, the Bulgarian education system does not leave them well equipped for life. Children do not acquire soft skills and are not familiar with their civil rights or obligations; there are no ‘citizenship’ studies or civic education – a huge gap in a relatively new democracy such as Bulgaria. 

Recent research shows that 51% of young people in Bulgaria do not believe they can influence public life or initiate real change. Only 10% of young people are aware of their civil rights. Most young people do not participate in public life or any volunteering activities. Adolescents are mistrustful of the way in which their public institution’s work - 64% of them do not trust the Parliament. 27% of young Bulgarians are willing to leave the country.

All of this leads to the alienation of young people and social dislocation which deprive the country of the opportunity to build itself.

We want to change that! We would like to make children and young people believe in themselves and in their country. We want to help them make sure their voice will be heard and they will take their future into their own hands.

 

How the House Will Support the Community

The House of Children will bring together all forms of child and youth participation through play, training and empowerment. We will organize trainings and workshops for children of all ages from all over Bulgaria. Core teaching topics will be: Children's Rights, How to Participate Actively in Public Life and My Voice Should Be Heard. We plan to train at least 800 children in the first year with their number growing with each year.

The social enterprise element will include a small cafeteria, spaces for organizing events and trainings and a small hostel part. Our core team of key workers will be made up of at least 10 young people who have left care.

The house will accommodate the Megaphone youth participation network. Created five years ago by the NNC, this group empowers young people from all over Bulgaria who are volunteers of organizations members of the National Network for Children.

House of Children will bring together the expertise and best ideas of all 130 member organizations to provide high quality professional services and help develop the capacity of all organizations that work with children, youth and families in their communities. The House will serve as a hub for meetings, trainings and the sharing of best practices of all 130 National Network for Children members.

 

Project development - key stages

To date, the National Network for Children has raised a fantastic € 360,000 to fund a large part of the costs for design and construction of the House.

We have brought into the project a number of corporate partners who are willing to contribute in kind with building materials or volunteer labor. A business plan has been developed by specialists who have helped us identify a suitable property in the centre of Sofia.

We now need to commission a detailed architectural project. We will be running a public tender to identify our partners and engage as many people as possible in this - demonstrating a new, transparent and open approach to building communities.

The House of Children will have a unique and attractive design both exteriorly and interiorly, a large garden that provides opportunities for outdoor hands on play and training. The building and the facilities in the yard will be child-friendly and adapted to the access of impaired children and their families.

We are aiming to start building in the middle of 2016.

But now we need to raise the final € 180,000 to purchase the land - and are hoping to raise some of this through crowdfunding. You can buy a brick for the House of Children now and help us make it happen!

The project is supported by the Children in Northern Ireland, Children of Scotland, Foundation OAK and EuroChild. 

 

How can you help?

You can help us to empower the children and youths of Bulgaria and create brighter future for all of us. Because we believe that the change in one child changes the whole Bulgaria and maybe the word.

  1. Make a pledge

If you want to support the children of Bulgaria and empower them to build and live in better society, please pledge to make The House of Children happen. Buy a brick and help us to make a difference. Every pledge will count.

  1. Spread the word

Spread the word on Facebook and Twitter by sharing the Crowdfunder project or the NNC website

Emailing it to friends and loved ones is also great contribution!

  1. Get in touch and advise us

If you want to pledge more than £15 000 or have any questions or ideas of how we can make this Crowdfunding appeal really take off, please get in touch!

Email: office@nmd.bg

Thank you!

 

Partners and letters of support

The House of Children project is supported by the Children in Northern Ireland, Children in Scotland, Foundation OAK and Eurochild.