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Mobile School Stolipinovo

A project from balkan:biro e.V.
in Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Mobile School Stolipinovo is an initiative that builds bridges between school and parents from segregated neighborhoods of Bulgaria with the goal to build an educational community that frees everyone potential.

A. Kunz
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About this project

Stolipinovo is a district in Plovdiv, the second largest city in Bulgaria. It is the most looked-down-on neighborhood in Bulgaria and the biggest segregated area, with approx. 50,000 inhabitants. Life here is characterized by distinct ethnic barriers between Bulgarian, Romanes and Turkish speaking groups, and by deep social divisions. Shumen Street is a part of the district where Turkish speaking families are living in extreme poverty, in one of the biggest improvised areas of the neighborhood, made of barracks.

In the last 25 years the schools in Stolipinovo face the radical change of the ethnic and social profile of the district. Classes now consist of almost 100% Roma and Turkish speaking pupils. Most of them start to learn Bulgarian for the first time at school. Children are facing a lot of difficulties to go and to learn at school for many different reasons, starting with poverty, segregation, discrimination, lack of communication...

Since 2018 the project Mobile School Stolipinovo is active on Shumen Street and in the two schools to focus on educational initiatives through architecture and art for children from 6 to 16. We also want to create bridges between the schools and the families.

The first three years of the project have been financed by the Foundation “European Capital of Culture - Plovdiv 2019“... now we are asking you for your support to continue our work in 2021.

Our Activities:

Art/architecture workshops -
we offer mainly hands-on activities in Shumen Street, which help children to learn by doing individually or all together. Usually the task is the creation of a three-dimensional model related with everyday activities like playing. Paper, cardboard, wood, clay, wire, earth, concrete, etc. are used in this course, emphasizing on recycled materials. Additionally, we offer a book workshop and physical activities. Everything takes place outside, so all children can participate regardless of their age.

Community work - The main goal is to engage parents in the working process. It's creating bridges with the school. It means regular meetings with teachers from school, parents, children, members of local community to create an educational community for the children; providing and analyzing surveys.

Festival of Shared Talents - one-day community event in June 2021, during which adults and children share their talents and reveal their strengths and abilities. Preparation in the community as well with people from Plovdiv will start in April 2021.

Main principles: Equal opportunities for everyone to be involved in the educational process by working in the immediate vicinity of the houses where children live. Respect and recognition of the individuality and uniqueness of each person to develop social integration. Lively and flexible program, consistent with everyday life in the neighborhood, to encourage and learn from intercultural diversity.