Sunday 17 April 2016

Reflections on the week - by Carol Floris

In summing up this week in Bulgaria the first thing I have to do is to cast my mind back to about a year and half ago {possibly longer} when Voices From Care was first introduced to CRED and the possibility of assisting with the adventure of taking young people abroad for the opportunity of undertaking voluntary work.  We had several meetings and young people decided that Bulgaria would be a trip that it was possible to achieve.

The group of young people that are on this trip are a group of care leavers and so have their own personal struggles in life and whilst being aspirational, we had to be realistic. So after a number of meetings and a number of changes to the group, for one reason or another, the group that were definitely up for the trip became clear. Assisted by a number of supporters back home in Wales we managed to get young people ready with passports and to raise some of the funding needed for the trip. The trip was slowly becoming a reality, “Voices In Bulgaria” was going to happen.

Suddenly it was January 2016 and the pressure was on to get the last minute arrangements in place. Young people set up a Face Book Group saying how excited they were and advising each other about what they needed for the trip. What struck me was the young people’s commitment, enthusiasm and support for each other.  Sometimes I had to stop myself from getting caught up in the details of the trip to think about why we were doing this and what it was hoped the young people would gain from the experience.

Hopefully you have read the blogs throughout the week to know what we have been up to – a mixture of sessions at the kindergarten, meeting the homeless at a shelter run by the Helping Hand Foundation, getting to know the local Roma children in Kolentski and helping Karol in her continued developments at the Ark.. In our final full day here in Bulgaria we have been to a church in Dobrich where we were warmly welcomed, and after shared pizzas and time in the park with the teenagers.

As well as these experiences we have opportunity to live together as a group – cooking for each other, working together and living as a family for the week. There have been disagreements and frustrations as I knew there would be but we have worked through those.

So I go back to the question what have young people got from this week. Young people have spoken about their sense of perspective on their own lives, their aspirations to help others when they get back home and into the future. Some have enjoyed the sense of community we have had this week and the experience of meeting a whole range of new people and communicating with them despite the language differences. Young people have seen that they can have an effect on others and that they have a range of attributes that can be of value and usefulness in the world, especially to those who may have less than them.

We are now getting ready to go out for dinner and to say ‘Goodbye’ to Carol Connolly, to our group living, and to Bulgaria.  We are all keen to maintain the links we have made.  The young people are now ready for the next step of keeping the learning from this trip and inspiration from this trip alive on our return to Wales.    

1 comment:

Clare Seek said...

Well done to everyone for making this trip happen. Safe journey home.