The national volunteer network of SHE in Bulgaria at Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation unites 32 volunteers in 11 local teams in Plovdiv, Varna, Gabrovo, Vidin, Pleven, Veliko Tarnovo, Sandanski, Stara Zagora, Montana and Vratsa.
What is SHE in … ™?
SHE in … ™ is a monthly event that gives girls and women with different stories and different professional backgrounds the opportunity to share their experiences, the obstacles they have encountered and the success they have achieved. The purpose of the event is to be a cozy place where other girls and women find inspiration and a supportive environment in pursuing their aspirations.
Why do we do it?
When we organized the first activities of Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation in villages in Northwestern Bulgaria, we were confronted with the extremely low self-esteem of women there. However, this phenomenon turned out to be widespread among women living in cities as well.
That is why with the social format SHE in … ™ we aim to provide a platform for women who do amazing things every day in their towns and communities, but are not widely known. At the heart of this activity is our belief that Bulgaria needs more confident women.
How did it all start and how has it developed?
In May 2018, the foundation organized a training “Civic Participation for Beginner Activists” in Plovdiv. During the training, the idea of a social event was born, an event that every month would give the opportunity to two women from the city to tell about themselves and their causes, obstacles and successes along the way. Thus, in June 2018, Marina, Elena and Kirina from Ekaterina Karavelova Academy organized the first edition of “SHE in Plovdiv”. The event turned out to be so emotional and impactful that it began to take place regularly, giving voice to two new inspiring women each month.
At the end of 2018, the social format started to be organized also in Varna, and in 2019 volunteer teams were created in Gabrovo, Veliko Tarnovo and Sandanski. In the same year, the social format SHE in… received a nomination for “National Volunteer Initiative” of 2019. In 2020, the network of SHE in Bulgaria expanded with 6 new towns – Stara Zagora, Lovech, Pleven, Vidin, Montana and Vratsa.
The balance sheet at the end of 2021 shows a closely knit volunteer network of 32 women in 11 cities, 95 events, 190 speakers, nearly 2,500 people in the Facebook community of the social format, hundreds of visitors to live events and tens of thousands of views of the online streamings.
Who organizes the events?
In each city, the event is organized by a team of volunteers in partnership with local cafes, galleries and popular meeting places. All teams are connected in a national network. At a national level, Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation is the organization behind the initiative. It supports all teams in organizing events on a local level with coordination and mentoring, publishing interviews on the website and promoting them on social media. The Foundation regularly organizes online community meetings for volunteers, a national summer meeting of volunteers and trainings on various topics, with which volunteers develop new competences.
If you want to learn more about the events and the volunteers in each city, visit the social format website here – https://www.sheinbulgaria.org/
What is the social impact of the events?
Building supportive women’s communities is an extremely important part of the work of the Ekaterina Karavelova Foundation. The feedback we receive from the volunteers, speakers and guests at the SHE in… events in the whole country makes us believe that the social format contributes to creating and developing exactly such communities based on solidarity.
„The whole event was amazing! Your team made me feel really special and appreciated, both with the published interview and with the way I was presented at the beginning of the event. In addition, I met many new and extremely interesting people with whom I keep in touch until now. I also found new partners who became part of Coding Girls and with whom we will continue working in the future! Thank you very much!“
„In a society that teaches young girls to be rivals, it is a breath of fresh air to see so many women who support each other and enjoy the success of others. I left the event with the feeling that I could conquer the world“
„As a volunteer, I participate in planning initiatives and discussing new ideas. I often support the “SHE in Plovdiv” events. I participate in trainings organized by the Academy. Volunteering gives me an amazing environment and a sense of community with a strong positive charge where to develop myself and contribute. It is an opportunity to unlock my potential and be useful. With the support of the Academy, we have organized two additional events in Plovdiv focused on women’s strength. Volunteering is a wonderful experience, true satisfaction, strong faith in the world and people, here and now.“
(Veronica, a volunteer from the “SHE in Plovdiv” team)