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PARTISPACE: Evidence paper 3: Youth section, NGO, Plovdiv

“The youth section is the largest voluntary youth NGO in Bulgaria. They consider the participation of students – volunteers as medical orderlies in the Balkan and the First World Wars as the beginning of the organization of which they were very proud. Another significant campaign from the beginning period was to collect aid for the starving population in the Volga region. Gradually their activities expanded towards health education and first aid, which remain their priorities today. Under communism they initiated the new anti-alcoholism movement, organized anti-smoking campaigns, planting trees and helping lonely elderly people. During the transition period they began working in shelters for homeless children and are trained on prevention of AIDS and drug addictions, which were unknown to the population or hidden for political reasons under the old regime. At present the Youth section has spread their activities even further, have better infrastructure and publish a magazine.

For many young people it is an attempt to find a stability for themselves in the chaos of changes and an opportunity to participate and influence public life and be significant to the society. For others, it is a value-guidance, which directs their lives towards the “”public good””. Members do not receive any fees; they finance their activities through donations and projects which they manage to win in competition with similar organizations for funding from the Plovdiv Municipality or foreign donors. They work together with state institutions and local government, and with other NGOs. A small management team and many volunteers aged 14-30, more girls than boys and more school students than university students, rarely working youth. They have an office in the city centre.”

Authors

PARTISPACE

The PARTISPACE project provides empirical knowledge on how to broaden the concepts of participation. The core of this knowledge lies in relating individual biographies of young people and the social spaces in which they act in order to understand the meaning of participation from their perspective.