Step by Step: Shining Bulgaria
Urban team: an example of a renovated subway

Walking around Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, sometimes seems a bit too depressing – especially when you hear the grumble and despair of the older generation. The first days of September, however, were different. More than 150 young Bulgarians worked, dreamed and planned together in the center of the city. They belong to the generation that prefers actions rather than words and is blessed with the pure youthful enthusiasm.

This happened during the second edition of the conference “We are the ideas.” The aim is the creation of at least 10 different projects that will find innovative solutions of everyday problems around the country. 

Each team had two coordinators who took care of the fluency of the discussion and two or three guest-lecturers that gave further “inside” perspectives on the different topics in each commission. The teams perceived the lecturers as being highly inspiring. The sentence “If we want to be like the lecturers, we have to do more!” was often heard in the Social Policy team.

This year the 10 teams had the opportunity to visit different workshops for project management, PR, online advertisement, event management, entrepreneurship, funding, and web design. These visits helped them develop their skills and the work on the actual projects began to seem a lot easier.

Team Health during a session  

“And what follows now? This is the country of the unfulfilled promises and unused enthusiasm!”

What differs “We are the ideas 2” from many other things that Bulgaria has seen in the last years, is the clear plan. By the end of the forum, each team had to prepare a project plan with time framing and many other details. The fulfillment of the ideas is easier when there is a neat plan to be followed. The projects are different, but all teams are willing to share their knowledge and to cooperate in order to change the things they don’t like.

“You are too young and the system is too big!”

The only way to dramatically improve the whole situation in Bulgaria is to improve many small things. That is why most of the teams are concentrating on something small that can be changed easily. 

Making the subways nicer and installing signs that explain what stays behind the name of different streets are the two projects of the Urban team. The people living is Sofia will be more than grateful, as there are many dark and unappealing subways around the whole city. 

The Ecology team will work towards an even greener conference next year.Team Culture also sees the need of a map – they will prepare an interactive culture map of Sofia. The Health team will focus on the making researches more popular among medicine students. The Economy Team will create a marketing guide for the farmers in Bulgaria and will organize seminars that will introduce them to the different marketing strategies and tax regulations. Apart from that they will create a map which will make clear in which part of the country are the different producers of various harvests situated.  

Considering the fact that most of the participants belong to the education field or have just graduated, it is normal that they can easily detect problems in the Bulgarian schools. This is why not only the Education team and its project for bringing role models as lecturers in school, but also the teams for Science and for Law are concentrating on the school children. The scientists want to make science more appealing to every pupil. This team with its two amazing coordinators managed to make at least part of the participants regret that they never paid attention to Math and Physics at school. 

The Law team also escaped from the clichés of the boring lawyers
They spend one of the mornings in the park nearby, playing different games, dancing and riding a bike. “It is important that we build a real team, if we want the project to be successful,” commented the coordinators. They have the ambitious goal to teach students in high schools that they have rights. Everything will start with interactive lessons in a school and time will show how it will evolve.  

Law team: team building  

The Social-politics team decided to help kids with talent in crafts to look beyond the well-known frames and limitations of the current situation and to show them how to export their products abroad. As most of the team members study in England and in Germany, London and Berlin are planned to be the first two cities where people will be able to buy the beautiful traditional creations. The team also wants to develop the system for medical treatment of Bulgarians abroad. The goal is to set up a website with all vital information on the topic and opportunity for donations, but in the meantime they will help the patients who travel to Berlin with translation, accommodation etc. 

The words that summarize “We are the ideas 2”, according to the participants themselves, are “inspiring”, “progressive” and “energizing”. If they use this enthusiasm and energy in the right way, they will surely prove the older generations that the murmur won’t solve anything – it will probably only make the problems deeper. The youngsters are aware that a real change can come only after consistent work. “We are the ideas 2” was one of the first steps towards a shining Bulgaria.  


Edited by: Laura Davidel 
Photo credits: "We are the ideas 2"