Empower for better community development
From 5 to 13 November 2021 we participated in the project "Empower for better community development", located in the largest winter resort on the Balkan Peninsula in the town of Bansko. From the moment we arrived at the Bansko hotel, we were guided by the professional approach of the organizers, who introduced us to the basic objectives and rules of the project.
On the first day of the project, the organizers focused on getting to know and breaking down the barriers between the participants who came to Bansko, besides Slovakia, also from Poland, Romania, Turkey and Italy.
Right after a few sports and knowledge activities, we found out that despite our different nationalities we have a lot in common and from the very beginning of the project we formed one big group that stayed together until the final day. After the opening day, during our free time we discovered the whole range of possibilities that the Bansko Hotel had to offer. We had an indoor swimming pool, sauna, table tennis table, pool table or tennis court at our disposal. Of course, we took full advantage of all the available options.
In the following days we started to work on the agenda of the project, which consisted of various workshops aimed at breaking down stereotypes or prejudices in society.
We also looked at terms such as racism, xenophobia and hate speech and explained their basic differences. We, as a Slovak group, were very surprised that we have many similar problems in our society regarding racism or xenophobia as the participants from, for example, Romania or Poland.
As similar projects also focus on getting to know the region, we spent one day in the beautiful Rila Monastery, which is the largest and probably the most famous Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
As the weather was good that day, we had the opportunity to see the really beautiful scenery of the Rila Mountains, which were located in the area of the monastery. The next day came the hardest part of the project and that was saying goodbye to the organizers and the participants with whom we stayed in contact after the project. From Bansko we travelled by bus straight to the Sofia airport, where we gave our last nod and thanks for the experience of this amazing country.