At the beginning of 2013 we founded the Association "Bulgarian Education and Culture”, Amsterdam. The association is registered under all the requirements of the Dutch legislation and aims to be a social, cultural and educational center supporting the preservation and transmission of Bulgarian ethnic culture and spiritual identity among Bulgarian immigrants in the province of North Holland.
First Bulgarian School " ABC " is an initiative of the association end provides classes in Bulgarian language and literature, history and geography of Bulgaria for children from first to 12th grade. There is also pre-school group of 4 to 6 years, and a number of extracurricular activities, workshops and events for students of all ages, designed to introduce children to the Bulgarian holidays, customs and traditions and help preserve their national identity.
Currently in the school enrolled more than 100 children aged 2 to 18 years, divided into classes according to age and level of proficiency in Bulgarian language. Teaching Bulgarian language, history and geography are taught by qualified teachers and extracurricular activities - from renowned experts in the field of applied arts, painting, music, singing and folk dancing.
Who are we?
We are two young Bulgarian mothers living in the Netherlands for the past 15 years, trying to make a difference and change the world around us. We truly believe, that we can achieve a lot with some small efforts and leave a great legacy for the younger generation.
What inspires and motivates us
In Europe more and more people travel, work or settle down in a country, different from the one they were born. In Europe more and more children were born and raised in a country, different from the one their own parents were born and raised.
The emigration faces us with quite new category of specific problems and challenges, which, in our opinion, can be solved only by joint efforts, exchange of experience, and sufficient, provided in an accessible way, information.
The education, the liquidation of the illiteracy among children and adults, the integration [including the integration of the minorities in the different countries], the improvement of the social environment, the prevention of the exploitation of the human labor and the human trafficking – these are just a few of the spheres the activity of our organization aligns with. We are convinced we can change a lot. All our projects are free of charge and accessible for a wide range of people, regardless of their age, education, religion, profession, sex or sexual orientation.
How and when we started?
The capacity of language teaching in Europe is insufficient and a lot of the immigrants’ children fail in school. The probability students born outside EU to leave school prematurely is twice bigger. At the same time the bigger diversity is a prerequisite to turn the schools into kernels of a creative alliance: active and open for new ideas.
Our organization – the association “Bulgarian Education and Culture” – was established in 2013 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and initially was aimed to give a chance to the children of the Bulgarian immigrants in the Netherlands, of a Bulgarian, as well as of a Roman and Turkish origin, to acquire a better education, to integrate easier and effortless, to increase their options for higher education and for professional integration.
We started by creating The First Bulgarian School “ABC”, presently attended by 95 students in Amsterdam and in our affiliate in Groningen.
We are working in association with the local schools on programs for bilingual and multilingual children. Our target is to overcome the specific problems and to stimulate the development and language proficiency.
Subsequently we widened our activity and presently we are assisting not only the children but their parents too, by offering specialized consultations, comprehensive information, translations, language courses, cultural events, etc., etc.
* In parallel with the establishment of the Bulgarian Sunday school, we have created our Informational Portal – there we offer weekly consultations for citizens from the Eastern Europe (newcomers but residing here for years too), as well as translations, accounting, financial, legal and mortgage services, language courses (in Dutch and English), we assist contacts with instances of all spheres, with medical specialists, educational institutions, etc. We offer information, aid and practical advices on the life in the Netherlands and Europe, we explicate the rules of the system and everything concerning the non-affected by problems and difficulties residence in the country and in the EU.
* We help a lot of families with children (including ones with behavioral problems) and actively guide them on issues of upbringing, sexual activity, drug and alcohol prevention, smoking, etc.
* We organize monthly a wide diversity of sport and dance contests, and thus we motivate children to move more actively and to get closely acquainted with different kinds of sports and dances.
* Every three months we offer to children and parents theatre performances, puppet shows, musicals. Among our guests are a wide variety of musicians, singers and dancers. Dancing, music and the art are an integral part of our projects.
* With the assistance of established attorneys we organize monthly free legal consultations in the field of the contract, family and criminal law in Bulgarian/English/Dutch language. We are actively working on helping the people to apprehend their rights as well as their obligations.
* We organize monthly workshops or informative days on important and topical issues: “Discrimination”, “Fight against Domestic Violence”, “Human Rights”, “The Rights of Women in Contemporary Europe”, “Exploitation of Human Labor and Human Trafficking – the Modern Slavery”, “Arrival Event – Welcome to Amsterdam”.
* We offer the opportunity to connect people going through difficult periods or experiencing difficulties in their personal and/or professional lives with psychologists, therapists and couching specialists.
* We organize exhibitions on which we give a chance to young entrepreneurs to advertise their activity, to get acquainted with new people and to reach more potential clients. We stimulate the entrepreneurship and encourage the ones, resolved to undertake this strain of development.
* Under the motto: “Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” (Charles Elliot), in 2013 another project of ours was initiated – “The Library” – with Bulgarian and foreign titles. We offer all the lovers of the written speech a space where they can look for their favorite books, can meet alike-minded, can exchange information and get charged with positive energy.
Whom we are working with
We are in active partnership with other organizations too – numerous Bulgarian Sunday schools in the world, the Ministry of Education and Science of Republic of Bulgaria, the Association „FairWork”, Association „Amsta”, the Municipality of Amsterdam and The Hague, the “Institute of Regressive Therapy” Den Bosh, a lot of entrepreneurs, Bulgarian and foreign journalists and media, cultural institution and others. Yearly we are elaborating and distributing new materials and methods for children and adults, which stimulate the education, teaching and the professional development. For that purpose, we collaborate actively with local organizations, we exchange knowledge and experience; we are looking for innovative solutions. We succeed because our motto is “Together we can do more!”