Mutual Aid — Bulgaria


Dates: 15. 5. 2019 – 15. 3. 2020

Venue: Kazanlak, Bulgaria

Programme and action: European Solidarity Corps, volunteering projects – long-term

Please read the EVS infopack.

Hosting organization: Youth Development Center – Mutual Aid

Volunteers: Ivona Pokorná

Something about the project: Project for 4 volunteers working together on promoting youth opportunities, ecology and Bulgarian cultural and historical heritage. Volunteers actively work with the local community and cooperate with local government and non-government institutions. Through organizing events engage local youth and in non-formal and informal way teach and also learn new skills, and promote the main topics of the project. All activities are recorded and shared through a website, social media and a YouTube channel, that the volunteers maintain.


The tasks for the volunteer: The volunteers work partly as organizers of different events or trainings, and partly as journalists writing and recording videos about their own activities, opportunities for youth to learn, improve their skills and become more successful on the labor market, and about Bulgarian history and culture.


Publicity: The website

YouTube channel,



Project report:

I am not the youngest person. I caught the last chance to take part in ESC project before I’d be too old, and I have got a lot of experience from various jobs and countries. But this 10 months project gave me the opportunity to learn more than anywhere else in the same period of time.

I have learned a lot about myself, about my personality, strengths and weaknesses. I have got a chance to try many new things that I always wanted to do, but nobody would give me the chance without experience. For example I became a part of a theater group for a week and performed with them at the International Theatre Festival Varna Summer 2019. I was part of the organizational group of Youth Exchange Reloaded where I also tried a role of a facilitator. I have tried my coaching and managing skills when I was helping to organize the 15 years anniversary of the hosting organization YDCMA or 12 volunteers on a short term project about ecology.

The Mutual Aid project offers great opportunities to learn whatever the volunteer is interested in. There are several activities that are regularly worked on, like events in an elderly house and a daily care center for kids with disabilities, eco/charity project Caps for Kazanlak, EcoFest,… But the YDCMA organization also gives the volunteers freedom to work on their own ideas. And the small town of Kazanlak in the valley below the beautiful Balkan Mountains offers a space for many ideas. Just visit the web and you can read more about what we were doing and what are the volunteers of Mutual Aid 2 project doing right now or their successors.

From practical point of view I can only say that once again I was very lucky to have the YDCMA as a hosting organization. My colleagues, the supervisor, the coordinator and the mentor involved me in work as same as in their private life from the very beginning. They always organize a welcome party for the volunteers, introduce them to their friends, try to integrate them in the local community, and provide info about their culture. I have never had problems with reimbursement nor pocket money, and if there was a problem with accommodation, my work, health or whatever else, they were day and night available to solve it.

10 months passed like nothing and Bulgaria feels like my home. The mountains caught my heart and the people tied it there with love. The end of the project is definitely not the end of the story…

Ivona Pokorná

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