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The second international training course, which was organized by Regional Development Foundation (Bulgaria) as one of the initiatives of STRAPAC project, took place in Sofia from 18th to 24th of November. More than 28 people, representing the core target groups, participated in the course. The direct beneficiaries of the course were members of religious communities from Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran communities.  During the course, they had the chance to  meet, talk and exchange experience with representatives of the Muslim and the Jewish communities in Bulgaria.

The theoretical part of the course took place in House of Europe on 19th and 21st of November, while the closing session was held in the Faculty of Theology (Sofia University) on 23th of November. During the first working day, the participants got acquainted with the project and its objectives, but also with the EU institutions represented in Bulgaria, as well as with the funding opportunities of the EU in the field of education, training, social assistance and EU citizenship.  During this day, the participants introduce themselves and the institutions/organizations they represent. In addition to this, the social work of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, and its present and past, was presented to the participants. In the late afternoon, the participants enjoyed welcoming coffee offered by His Eminence Polycarpus, Bishop of Belogradchik and Vicar of His Holiness Neophyte, Metropolitan of Sofia and Patriarch of All Bulgaria.
On 20th of November the participants visited the Orthodox Information Centre in Blagoevgrad. Representative of the Centre presented the methods used at a level of a parish to help vulnarable groups of people. In the afternoon, the guests visited Rila Monastery where they enjoyed lunch, offered by the abbot of the Monastery. They get to know better what the activities of the Monastery are, its history and present state.
The third day of the seminar included visits to the Sofia synagogue and the Information Centre of the Grant Mufti of Bulgaria as well as lectures and presentations of good practices related to social work. Various practices to help people in need were presented to the participants. They also had the chance to understand how both the Jewish and Muslim communities organize their work to tackle social exclusion. On the 22nd of November, the guests visited Arapovo Monastery. The abbot presented to the participants the agricultural activities and the local wine&food production of the Monastery and how the Monastery helps vulnerable groups of people by providing jobs in the field of agriculture. In the evening of 22th of November, there was a dinner, warmly offered by the abbot of Bachkovo Monastery.
A round table discussion took place on 23th of November. The participants were asked to show/present best practices of their own religious communities to tackle social exclusion.  In the afternoon, the participants visited the Parish centre of "Nativity of Christ" Church in Mladost district where they were welcome by the Mayor of the district Mr. Rumen Rusev.
The second blended mobility gave an extraordinary opportunity to the target groups representatives to learn from the speakers and from each other about the social/volunteer work at the level of a parish and to absorb good practices and experience that could be later transferred to their local context.



More information about the course can be found here


Download the programme of the seminar