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Knowledge knows no boundaries!

The youth worker never stops growing, learning and asking questions! In this regard, we want to tell you about the training that we went through last week in Plovdiv.

It was organized by The Ministry of Education and Science and the Center for Educational Integration of Children and Students from Ethnic Minorities (COIDUEM) in partnership with Sofia University ‘‘St. Kliment Ohridski“. We took part in it along with all youth centres from the National network of Youth centres in Bulgaria.

The training shed light on many key problems and social phenomena in today’s society through non-formal activities, discussions and lectures. The topics we touched on, were not only important for our work as youth workers, but also major aspects of the life of every person. Here are some of them: antigypsyism; hate speech; the values of young people; youth policies; culture of poverty; today’s youth generation; entrepreneurship; and work with vulnerable groups.

It is incredibly difficult to describe the whole experience in one article and all that we have learned, but we will do our best to tell you the most important details of this one-week training.

Professor Silviya Nikolaeva, Ph.D. from the Pedagogy faculty of Sofia University got us thinking about the values that we have in pour lives. Where do they come from, what is hidden beyond them, why is it important that they are valid, and what are our values. She approached the subject very curiously at 9 o’clock in the morning, saying: „Call a friend, wake them up, and ask them what are 5 important things in their life right now! “. Something that became clear throughout our meeting was that values can change in one’s life – they don’t always stay the same. It is very natural, as we change and grow, our values to also change, get moved around or be totally transformed.

Docent Silviya Varbanova, Ph.D. in Sociology is teaching in the same faculty of Sofia University. She brought our attention to the so-called Culture of poverty – a sociological issue, dealing with the socio-cultural, political, and economic tendencies of poverty. We tackled with the following questions: what culture of poverty is characterized by in Bulgaria; what the causes and consequences of the culture of poverty are; why poverty is often generational; and how can an individual break the cycle.

During our meeting, the trainer also touched on the generation of young people today and how it differs from the previous one. We discussed problems and syndromes of our reality today, on one hand coming from the digital innovations, but mostly seen as a consequence of globalization. Suitable examples are FOMO (fear of missing out); nomphobia (fear of being without your phone) and distances death, where we are always accessible, always online, we lack privacy and alone time. It is crucial that we know how these social phenomena work, and what impact they have on youth these days. This way we understand more clearly the needs of young people and can therefore support them accordingly.

Big thank you to: the Ministry of Education and Science; The Center for Educational Integration of Children and Students from Ethnic Minorities (COIDUEM); all tutors and trainers from Sofia University; as well as to Youth Centre Plovdiv for the hospitality!

* Project No. BGLD-2.001-0002 “Establishment of International Youth Center – Burgas”, implemented under the “Local Development, Poverty Reduction, and Enhanced Inclusion of Vulnerable Groups” Program, funded by the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism (EEA FM) 2014–2021.