“The EU is helping us protect the most vulnerable during the crisis”

Shenay Helps distribute supplies to those who need them most Bulgaria, Isperih

The EU-funded ROMACT programme is supplying 15,000 people from the Roma community in Bulgaria and Romania with food and hygiene products. They are also informing people in over 30 different towns about how to stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak and access emergency support if they require it. Local activists helped to identify the most vulnerable families, and measures were taken to provide these community members with basic necessities. Shenay Andreeva from @romactbulgaria is part of the community group helping distribute the supplies to those who need them most in these challenging times. All over Europe, citizens like Shenay are helping vulnerable and isolated communities in Europe fight coronavirus. They are safeguarding the welfare of local communities, protecting their human rights, and improving the inclusion of Roma people.

“Today it's the saviours who need saving!”

Save the Saviours organisation Help social  enterprises overcome the crisis Bulgaria, Sofia

We’ve often applauded the people helping Europe to overcome the Covid-19 crisis, but their continued efforts beg an important question. Is there anyone out there to #SaveTheSaviors? In Bulgaria, this hashtag is at the heart of an inspiring initiative. "We want the social enterprises who’ve been helping people with disabilities, single mothers, refugees, or older people to survive the crisis. We want them to continue the saving long after Covid-19 is behind us", say representatives of the Bulgarian Center for Not-for-Profit Law. Their initiative helps five key social enterprises, making sure that the people they employ get to keep their jobs, preventing these enterprises from falling into bankruptcy, and extending their reach. "Thanks to the campaign over 100 000 people heard about these enterprises and their causes. 47 jobs were saved and hundreds of people could benefit from their help. Most importantly, people’s attitude toward vulnerable people has changed", the group enthuses.

“One person can make a difference. That person could be you!”

Momchil Serves as a volunteer disinfecting the biggest emergency hospital in Sofia Bulgaria, Sofia

As medical staff continue to work around the clock to tackle the coronavirus crisis, people across the continent are paying tribute in increasingly creative ways. Along with a team of other volunteers, Momchil disinfected all buildings of the Pirogov hospital - every ward, every corridor, and every staircase. He decided to take part because he couldn't simply watch the situation unfold without contributing something himself. "When it kicked off, I had to do something. I couldn't just sit at home". As he wasn't able to practice his usual activities, he figured he could be useful somewhere else. Caretakers face close-up encounters with the virus, but that didn't stop him from wanting to help. Momchil believes that during this rather scary situation we can all be friends, sticking together for a common cause. "One person can really make a difference, regardless of their occupation, age, or beliefs. This person can be anyone - it can be you!" he told us.

“The best solutions are the ones we create together”

Todor Organised a hackathon to help tackle the consequences of the pandemic Bulgaria, Sofia

Todor launched the Hack the Crisis Bulgaria hackathon in March to help find solutions to the many problems caused by the pandemic. 850 people participated in this initiative, resulting in 111 ideas to help alleviate the consequences of the crisis. There are three main objectives to the projects: saving lives, saving communities, and saving businesses. The second phase of the initiative began at the end of April, with 30 selected projects now soon to be launched and new ones to be selected. While Todor initiated the idea, the hackathon would not have been possible without the incredible support of a wide variety of Bulgarian entrepreneurs and staff who all contributed their time and effort free of charge in order to make the event a success.

“I asked my team to make the ordinary extraordinary - and they did!”

Simona from The National Youth Forum Encourages young people to develop knowledge and skills in times of social exclusion Bulgaria, Sofia

In the first days of the declared state of emergency in Bulgaria, the National Youth Forum launched a campaign called #TimeForYou. It promotes the idea that young people's time at home should be filled with opportunities to enhance their skills and competences. To achieve this, their trainers, alumni, executive board, and members came together to launch a series of free webinars addressing topics directly relevant to young people. These have included topics like "The mental health of young people during social exclusion" and future broadcasts will cover topics such as digital youth work, youth inclusion, and youth spaces.

“We're showing solidarity through music”

The children from Bon-Bon Urges people to stay at home Bulgaria, Sofia

At the start of the lock down, the popular Bulgarian children's band BON-BON decided, from the safety of their homes, to recreate Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" and urge people to stay at home. Over 90 current and former members of the band, located all across Europe, took part in the performance, demonstrating that we can all be together despite the isolation measures. You can see the final result here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97WX-CMKu9E