Myths and stereotypes about Muslims can be found everywhere such as "Muslims are violent, oppress their women, all Muslim are Arab, ...". But how can we stop this misperception and hate speech targeting Muslims? Let's start a conversation for a peaceful and diverse Europe!

Ana Mendes, team member of IOA, created this infographic in order to enlighten about myths through arguments as a poster forthe Action Day countering Hate Speech against Muslims at 21. September by the No Hate Speech Movement. In support of the International Day of Peace the campaign is calling "for positive dialogue to decrease stereotyping and judgement, and strengthen counter and alternative narratives that debunk hate speech and its und

erlying xenophobic narrative effecting Muslim people". 

Follow this link to read the original infographic poster: 
EN https://visual.ly/community/Infographics/human-rights/5-myths-about-muslims
BG https://goo.gl/HnXUQD

Designer: Ana Mendes

Infographic mockup website

 

 

 

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From September until January 2017 we have Stefan as part of our IOA team.

The German organisation Eurowerkstatt Jena sent him as an EVS volunteer (European Voluntary Service). 

Learn here more about him.

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1. Where are you from?

I’m from the city called Münster in Germany.

2. Tell us about yourself?

So, my name is Stefan I am 18 years old and just finished school in Germany. In my free time I like to meet people, try some new sports, go climbing and play the guitar.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before?

I participated in a refugee alphabetization program in my school for two years as a teacher.

4. Why are you interested in volunteering in IOA and the No Hate Speech Movement?

It really bothers me that we are allowing hate speech to happen online and I think that we as the “children of the internet” are responsible to keep it clean. Additionally I think the IOA is offering me the opportunity to experience various fields of work.

5. Why did you choose Bulgaria?

Unfortunately Bulgaria was a part of the EU i until now couldn’t get a image of. Thats why I thought it would be interesting to live here for several months.

6. What is your first impression of Bulgaria? Are there differences and similarities you maybe didn’t expect?

I feel like the poeple here are acting much more spontaneously than at home. I did not expect gestures of cultures to be that much different.

7. By participating in our project, what would you like to learn/improve/applay/implement?

I am really looking forward to find my own specialty in this project and to improve my working attitude to become a more independent worker.

8. What are you looking forward the most to do in IOA?

I am really looking forward to the “Action Days”.

9. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the NHSM campaign?

Be aware of “Online Trolls” and do not simply accept it.

10. If you had to describe your project in IOA with one word, what would it be?

Inventively

Ana mendes 561

1. Where are you from?

I’m from a village in Aveiro, Portugal.

2. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a 24 years old graphic designer, looking forward to putting my skills at the service of good causes, reflecting on the balance between graphic dialogues and humanitarian work.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before? What did you do?

Yes, I’ve volunteered in two other projects. I’ve distributed food at night to those in need and I also worked at a dog/cat shelter.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

I wanted to do something new and different at this age, so that I could grow as a person, so I’ve decided either to move to the capital or abroad. For this reason I applied to several EVS projects, not because of the destination but for the project itself.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria? Would you come back again?

At first I was scared for the huge cultural differences and for the place itselft. But truth be told, this moment lasted a few hours. The next day I realized how easy/close it was to travel through the city, and everything, including the suburbs have a real sense of genuineness.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

I will have more experience in communication and graphic design and also, especially in thinking design – communicating in order to solve specific problems. The field and social experience will also be a unique opportunity.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

I think most non-bulgarian people are really supportive – everyone as an interest in turning Bulgaria into a welcoming place. My attitude is to keep being positive about it, it’s not a project with a beginning or an end – it’s a continuously process where you can always try to give your best to help.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

I think most people have already felt a hateful comment regarding theirselves, so most people should be able to understand the repercussion of what we hear and of what we say. Otherwise, most of all like to travel so I think we all will have the opportunity to feel what’s like to feel out of place when you’re not at your home country – this way, with a strong movement we can always downsize the intolerant feeling about foreigners.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

Tolerance.

Our team is becoming more diverse from September until November 2017. The four Spanish people were sent for an internship with the organisation Fogart e mais and the program Galereuopa 2017 which is part ofYouth Guarantee. They are going to work in different fields such as delivering presentations about Human Rights, discrimination and tolerance in schools as well as in centers for Roma children, migrants or people with disabilities.

Let's find out more about them! Read bellow the interviews:

Volunteers cover ioa site1

1. Where are you from?

Beatriz: I’m from Santiago de Compostela, it is a place in the north of Spain.

Efren: I’m from the lovely land of Galicia the city Vigo, on the north-west of Spain.

Angela: I’m from Galicia from the village Calo (Spain)

Adrian: I am from Spain, Vigo.

2. Tell us about yourself?

Beatriz: I’m 23 years old and I studied Preschool Education in the University of Santiago de Compostela, to know a little bit about me I can tell you: I’m a person who likes to make things: listening to music, going to the theatre and cinema, visiting a lot of museums of art, knitting… but my favorite hobby is travel and visit new countries and meet new people.

Efren: I’m a 24 year old technician in Social Integration, I’m also a bit of a nerd that loves video games, fantasy books and tabletop RPGs!

Angela: My name is Angela and I’m 31. I’m the middle child of three sisters and I’ve studied Psychology in Santiago de Compostela.

Adrian: I live in a small city in Galicia which is in the north west of Spain. I have studied to be a primary school teacher who I hope to be in the future. I will stay here from September until the end of November in Sofia and I hope to learn about other countries and cultures.

3. Have you done an internship before?

Beatriz: No, this is my first internship and the first time that I’m living on my own.

Efren: I worked for three months in a residence with people with brain palsy. My work was to prepare addapted activities and projects but also help with their day-to-day routines when needed.

Angela: I did an internship in a public library in Portugal with the same program, Galeuropa. I worked as an public library assistant and doing reading promotion activities. I worked as well already as a volunteer in a Galician Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

Adrian: No, the work at IOA is my first experience as a trainee.

4. Why are you interested in doing an internship in IOA and the No Hate Speech Movement?

Beatriz: Because, I think that topic is so interesting for the young people to try to explain the importance of the words that they use and the different contexts of the uses. For me, it is all a learning for my personal and professional experience because children need to be educated in no hate speech.

Efren: This summer I decided that I wanted to dedicate my career to fight against oppression and hate, so this project looked like a very big step on the right direction.

Angela: I had never heard about this movement until two months ago and I do believe that these kinds of associations are necessary because the hate speech on the internet is increasing a lot.

Adrian: I believe that the labour of IOA and No hate Speech Movement is very important to building a society based equality, cooperation and integration.

5. Why did you choose Bulgaria?

Beatriz: Because this country gives me the possibility to learn a new culture, language and also the opportunity to live in a great city with lively and things to do.

Efren: It was the only place still available! Hahahaha But also, I love to travel to places I don't know and discovering the bulgarian culture from the ground up sounded like a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Angela: I was turn between Italy and Bulgaria but finally I choose this country because I thought that it would be interesting to know a dissimilar culture.

Adrian: I had been looking for my first volunteer experience and I thought that the project Bulgaria was very interesting. Besides working in the project, to explore a foreign country and culture were other reasons to go abroad.

6. What is your first impression of Bulgaria? Are there any differences and similarities you might didn’t expect?

Beatriz: My first impression is good because it is a very nice place. For me there are a lot of differences because I live in a village and now I’ m in a big city, but I think it is a place very interesting with lot of places to discover.

Efren: I love how every street and every corner has a personality of it’s own, the parks on Sofia are great and the food is pretty good too! 

Angela: The city center of Sofia is beautiful but it’s easy getting lost. Actually, I didn’t have too many expectations because I didn’t know a lot of this country so every day I’m learning new things.

Adrian: Since my arrival, I have known a lot of people from different countries and I have only had very pleasant experiences in Sofia.

7. By participating in our project, what would you like to learn/improve/apply/implement?

Beatriz: I’m really want to learn how to apply in games or dynamics the message of no hate speech movement and if it is possible to see how the schools work when we go to make a presentation as well the kindergarden.

Efren: I would love to learn everything I can about bulgarian culture, it’s a great opportunity to improve my knowledge about social work and how it applies to fighting hate.

Angela: I would like to learn about the Bulgarian social reality and the methodology that IOA implements in order to improve the community awareness about online hate speech and other ways of discrimination.

Adrian: I will try to learn a lot about the work project which I guess it will modify my points of view and my personality. In addition to that I think that I will improve how I interact with very different people and it will provide me an open mind and greater possibilities to solve conflicts successfully.

8. What are you looking forward the most to do in IOA?

Beatriz: I really want to see the reality of this society and help the people who need it the most, and learn how to support them. Also I want to go to the kinder garden and stay with this children because I love to spend time with them.

Efren: Right now I’m really looking forward to start doing presentations in classes.

Angela: I’m interested in knowing the situation of the Roma community in Bulgaria and in the way the association promotes youth work.

Adrian: I hope to raise awareness of the idea that diversity contributes to a better world.

9. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the NHSM campaign?

Beatriz: I would say them: that the words we use to express our thoughts are very important and that we should always think before saying them.

Efren: Visiting our website is a great first step, there they can find information and links to the subjects they are more interested in.

Angela: I would ask my online friends to like the IOA Facebook page in order to know the NHSM campaign and spread this movement.

Adrian: I would give you the idea that we are involved in trying to make a better society in our own little way.

10. If you had to describe your project in IOA with one word, what would it be?

Beatriz: Enriching.

Efren: Empowerment.

Angela: Awareness.

Adrian: Awareness.

Ekaterina 800

1. Where are you from?

I’m from Germany.

2. Tell us about yourself?

Few weeks ago, I turned 19 and finished high school. I live in a small city near Cologne with my parents and my two younger brothers. I will stay from September till March and hope that this time helps me to find something appropriate to study. That’s why I’m motivated to experience as much as I can.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

No, the work at IOA is my first volunteering experience.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

I decided to come to Bulgaria very spontaneously. Although the project Bulgaria and seem to be really interesting to me.
To explore a foreign country and culture, working in a social project and to find out my interests, were other reasons to go abroad.
I’m sure that this time will be a great challenge and will help me to solve many problems in my future.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?

Since my arrival, I had many positive experiences and I felt in love with Sofia.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

My time in Bulgaria is my first experience living alone and working for a NGO. It is my first time working in a social project. For sure, I will learn much, which will change my life or some parts of my personality. Another great advantage is to get to know many different people and learn how to interact with them.

But one of the best benefits will be to improve my English and public speaking skills. I hope this all will help me to manage my life in the future, to treat issues and to know myself and my interests better.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

I think that many people are aware of our project and also like it. Since my arrival, I’ve experienced that Bulgarian people had a high motivation to participate our activities. All of the participants seemed to have fun.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

I would give them the advice to be open-minded and motivated to change something in their society. For more information they should also check our websites on different social networks.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

Sincerity.

20286819 edit

The No Hate Speech Movement campaign purposed this European action day to raise awareness on hate crime and how people suffer due to it.

The team of Infinite Opportunities Association celebrated the day with 50 young people and youth workers who built a symbolic memorial wall in the woods with positive messages to support the difference of people. The "Wall of Hope" presented poems, messages and origami that promoted diversity in all its forms and manifestations.

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Sofia disha

Our summer went faster after all the festivals where we have been. It started in July with The bridge festival. It takes from 21st to 23rd from this month, in Vidin, and there we performanced an amazing video with all the participants. They helped us to spread our love message because they are the new love generation! And of course, we attended to their workshops and we were painting, learning music...

Few days after, from 29 to 31 of July, we went to another festival, this time in Aglen. There we enjoyed of nature, live music and a disconnexion from the "real world" in a really beautiful environment. Thanks to this, attendants could know who we are and what we do.

In August, we stayed in Sofia to enjoyed Sundays at Sofia Breathes 2016. And we did it. Lot of people came and visit us to play all our games: painting on the floor, matching words in differents languages related to human rights, making a big heart to support No Hate Speech Movement or playing our Tolerado. 

Of course, we don't want summer to be finished!

 

 

In the period 21. - 23.07.2017 the team of МИКЦ - Opportunities without Borders collected 20 young people on the topic "Tolerance: in the shoes of others" in Borovets. The participants were in the age of 17 - 25 from across the country and very interested and active in that field. As part of the training they learned and experienced the process of stereotyping and prejudice, as well as to comment on topical cases of discrimination and intolerance.

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Paula 1000 

Few weeks ago, our German volunteer, Paula Holst, finished her one year volunteering with us. Thank you for your commitment, your good way of doing things and for all that we have learned from you.

We are going to miss you so much!

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From the 19. - 23. July IOA worked with a group of 25 Bulgarian teachers, trainers, activist and volunteers in Borovets. With the help of different exersices of non-formal education the trainer Maria Marinova and Cafer Saatchi introduced the participants to the "human rights" field and the work with a young people as well as presented the manuals Compass, Bookmarks, and We CAN! which address topic of combating hate speech and protecting freedom of speech.

One main part of the training was a big meeting with the young people of the youth training. With conversations in pairs we encouraged the adults and youths to inspire and give to each other food for thoughts about future, life and important values to stand up for.

The training was funded by the Council of Europe.

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Miriam Gomez

1. Where are you from?

I’m from Spain.

2. Tell us about yourself.

I was born in a small city of Alicante, Alcoy, in Spain, almost 31 years ago and I’m a journalist. After several years working in an office, I decided that I need to work for any organization like IOA (Infinite Opportunities Association) and feel that my job is useful for the society.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

Yes, I have. I was volunteering in Morocco and Nepal, few years ago, working with children in both cases.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

I make the decision to come to Bulgaria because I liked the Infinite Opportunities Association project. Actually, I have not many knowledge about Bulgaria before I came here.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?

I completely felt in love with this city from the beginning and I’m not ready to say if I will leave it in one year :p

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

I will have the opportunity to do a variety of things with the organization while I learn about the Bulgarian culture. A full pack!

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

People seems to be able to know more about the project (is a very useful project, actually, for the society) and I’m feeling more motivated as ever with it.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

We need to be proactive to get a more tolerant society where to live. And we need it now more than ever because new technologies are changing our lifes and we are not sure how they are doing that. So, No Hate Speech campaign is the way to get it.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

Empathy.

Simone 600

 

1. Where are you from?

I’m from Sicily, Italy. One of the southern (and most beautiful!!) region in Italy.

2. Tell us about yourself.

I’m 21. I am a third year student of Economics at University of Bologna. I decided to volunteer for IOA to contribute actively for the No Hate Speech Movement and to feed my curiosity about Eastern European countries.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

I had many experiences in different social and cultural association, but I have never been involved firsthand in promoting human rights campaigns.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

Since I have already had abroad experiences in Barcelona and Ireland, I wanted to get to know a completely different environment and culture. Bulgaria indeed, has been my choice for its cultural and historical background. Furthermore, IOA is an incredibly interesting project, contributing actively to spread no hate and tolerance in educational establishments.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?

The first impression could not have been more positive. I am fascinated Sofia and I love to get lost in its narrow streets. The historical background is noticeable from both the architecture and the people’s behavior and it is an incredible added value for my learning experience. I will totally come back and I will recommend to anyone to discover and get lost in this amazing country.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

I am convinced I will get benefits from the IOA volunteer experience. The opportunity to get in touch with the students’ environment is a stimulating and challenging task that always gives you important feedback on your job. Given what, this experience helps you to always improve yourself and your attitude towards the others.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

I have already joined some presentations in schools both in Sofia and in North Bulgaria and I can say that people, once we present the project, they totally love it. It is true that almost nobody in schools already knows about our campaign and this can be an important feedback to strengthen our communication commitment. Hoever, tudents are enthusiastic of knowing people from all over Europe involved in a human rights campaign and our experience can be somehow inspiring for their future decisions.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

Be passionate, be enthusiastic and never give up. Everyone can contribute with his/her little, but essential, drop in the ocean.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

Inspiring.

 

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1. Where are you from?

 Lithuania, one of the Baltic States. I live in the port town city Klaipeda, with a population approximately 150 thousand people

2. Tell us about yourself

I am person who needs to be involved in various activities. I love to learn, to explore or just enjoy stillness. I love being in the nature immensely: walking around long distances, traveling by bicycle, roll skating, skiing also travelling and try activities full of adrenaline

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

Volunteering was part of my daily activities when I was in Lithuania. Mostly I enrolled in social help organizations, but also took part in one day charity projects or events.

About  1 year I participated in “Big Brothers Big Sisters” movement. I gained experience how to communicate with children from disadvantaged, social risk, fosters home families or with children with a lack of social skills . The major advantage of this activity was not only qualification improvement seminars where we learnt about emotional intelligence, childhood traumas and discuss ways how to help children to feel more emotionally better and safe in our society, but also case analysis meetings where we tried to overcome the major obstacles while counteracting with our “small friends”. Personally in my friendship I helped my friend to raise self-esteem, express her emotional so that they would not disturb and harm others and also indicated that nobody could raise a hand against her. I firmly convinced that people learn by imitating their surroundings, therefore I believe that our friendship could have a profound effects when she will grow older, because she will remember that despite of others people judges she is special, unique person. Apart from that I was involved in project broadening activities. I tried publicized and searched for new volunteers by spreading BBBS activities and goals.

Another organization where I am still be involved while being in Bulgaria is Lithuanian Association of Emotional Support“ lines called „Youth Line“. To tell the truth, it was a real challenge for me while I started volunteering when I was 17, but even in preparatory courses I was fascinated by all “Youth line” activities. By writing support letters and giving emotional help speeches, I contributed with numerous individuals as perpetrators, suiciders, LGBT members, alcoholics or with individuals who suffer from depression, violence, anxiety, loss or rape attack. The completed dare, experience and pleasant feeling, when after 1 hour sincere conversation, I affected and even saved a great number of society members lives makes me feel delighted! I learned to help callers unburden themselves, to listen and try to understand their feelings.

When I have time I am volunteering in contemporaryperforming arts andnewcreative businessincubator named "Klaipeda Culture Factory" also in the “Food bank”, “Hope run” and “Elections observing”.

4. What was the reason for you to make the decision to come here to Bulgaria ?

Bulgaria fascinated me for have amazing nature, and historical buildings and mountains which we do not have in Lithuania! I decided to come to Bulgaria and contribute to the Infinite Opportunities Organizations because this project was about that I wanted to gain knowledge and skills, because I was not very familiar with. I am a person who likes to try new things, be in new place and meet new people, so I was overwhelmed with excitement to be able to come here!

 5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?

Bulgaria and especially Sofia looked like for me active and friendly country. There are numerous café and restaurants. Sofia is very big city, but I love it! I like the Bulgarian a broad range of Bulgarian food, antic churches and a lot of shops and activities to do.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

One of the greatest advantages is that of improving my public speaking skills. Also it will let me to experience myself by interacting with a group of people and issues which are relevant nowadays. These leadership skills are important in our global world today so I believe it will be like real life university. Furthermore I am hoping to know myself better and find more activities what I am especially good at. I really love that this organization have the diversity of activities where I can be involved.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

I think the ideas of project should be interesting for them, because it touches every day lives. I believe this organization topics are really important and everyone should be familiar with them aiming to live in equal, honest and fair society.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions J

9. If you had to describe #0NL1NE #T0LER@NCE>project with one word, what would it be?

SIGNIFICANT

 

Dreams IOA

It is something natural for humans to spend life making plans: what to study after school, where to work after university, where to travel next year… And sometimes the best way to refer to all these plans is through the word “DREAMS”. The question, though, is: is there any difference between the dreams of different people?

The main objective of the project that we want to share with you today, 20th of June, World Refugee Day is to prove that, no matter if one is rich or poor, a migrant or a person with residence, a refugee or not… we all share the same dreams. The only difference lies within the resources that we have available to make them come true and how society helps us (or not) in achieving that.

The result of this project (made by Miriam Gómez Blanes, one of our EVS volunteers, as her personal project) is a book, which collects 20 stories. Most of them have been written by migrants in Bulgaria as well as by volunteers and representatives of other social groups working in the migration field. The texts have been collected answering the question: "Where do you want to be in six month's time?".

The Dixit cards have played an important role in this project and it is most visible in the illustrations made by our also EVS volunteer Ana Mendes (as well as the whole design), that have been inspired by. In some cases, the migrants themselves have recreated their dreams into drawings and Ana has been able to adapt these to the format of the book.

Click in the image for opening the book

Dreams inside 600

If you like it, please, share it!! And don’t forget to use the hashtag #dreamswithoutborders for doing it.

 

You can also check here the teaser of the campaign that we started two weeks ago

 

It's hard to believe but two months have past and the last day of our short term volunteers Anabel, Raisa, Nico and Angelo has come. Tomorrow they all will board the planes that take them back to their home countries so we would like to take the chance now to thank them for their involvement and their passionate support of the project - you were great guys and we hope to see you again one day here and that you take home a lot of great memories from beautiful Bulgaria! :)

 

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Lena 561

 

1. Where are you from?

I am from Dresden, Germany. It’s in the very east of Germany and close to Poland and Czech Republic.

2. Tell us about yourself.

My name is Lena and I’m 19 years old. Last year I finished school, traveled for some weeks in Europe, did an internship for 3 month in a festival theatre and now I am in Sofia volunteering 10 month in IOA. My aim for this time is to learn more about myself and other people and also to contribute to a better living together without hate.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

No, I haven’t volunteered like that before.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

Since many month it was my wish to go abroad and to do something else as learning in school. For me the countries of south-eastern Europe are very interesting because of the difference to the western part like Germany. Bulgaria has so much to offer such as the different people, cultures, the new language (I don’t know it at all yet), nature ect.. But the final decision was because of the project from IOA.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?

I just saw Sofia since 3 days so I don’t know about the rest of Bulgaria. But Sofia seems to be very interesting because it’s really different to my home town. The centre looks new and other parts old and unrenuvated but all people were kind and curious. And I also really really love the food.
Yes, I definitely would come back. I think Bulgaria has many many things to offer which didn’t experienced yet.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

Testing me and my courage through all my tasks and gain many experiences that will help me for my future. To learn more about the differences of people, cultures, countries ect. and how it is to work in another culture.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

I think many Bulgarian people (the same as people from other countries) aren’t aware of the sense of human rights, justice and about hate – when/how it starts and how it ends/which consequences it has. This is a massage that has to be more spread. It’s important for me to make this to a common topic, to talk and discuss about it.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

You should treat others as you would like others to treat yourself, as Kant said.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

Tolerance.

It’s hard to believe but six weeks have already passed since the arrival of our volunteergroup and it’s more than time to tell you about our latest adventures! 
We are back in Sofia after three weeks of crossing the country and from Oryahovo in the very north, over Blagoevgrad in the south west with Macedonian voyvodas to Varna and Burgas in the far east there is no place we didn’t go!
Over 30 schools, universities and youth centers gave us the opportunity to visit their premises and work with their students and we are happy to be able to say that we reached and provided over 900 students with information about the no hate speech movement! We enjoyed a lot of fun moments and games, listened to interesting discussions and opinions and hope we were able to answer all of your questions. Nico, Angelo, Anabel, Lucila, Raisa and Paula also loved to explore all the different places, try the Bulgarian cuisine, see the incredible nature and spread the word about EVS and volunteering! 
We would again like to thank everyone who welcomed us, participated in our workshops and made our tour through Bulgaria such a great and successful experience! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did and will be back for sure! 
 
 
 
        

The 7th of February is the Safer Internet Day, which was started as an initiative of the EU SafeBorders project in 2004. This year it will be holded under the theme: "Be the change: Unite for a better internet"

From Infinite Opportunities Association we want to take advantage of this day for reminding you which are the risks of posting some information or pictures in social media. And we thought that the best idea for that would be to do it through an original infographic!! Are you ready for discovering (or remembering) to what are you exposed sharing personal stuff online? So check it:

Click in the link or in the image for seeing the whole infographic: http://visual.ly/posting-social-media-pictures-warning

Author: Ana Mendes.

SaferInternetDay

 

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1. Where are you from?
I’m from Gran Canaria, in Spain.

2. Tell us about yourself?
I think I am sociable but in occasions I’m very shy when I meet people but when I know them I feel better. Also I am a person with a big desire to work and know new costumes. However I am very undecided when I have to choose different possibilities but if I am sure of a thing I‘ll try to make the best of it.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?
Yes I have volunteered in an association for drug addicts in Spain and the relationship with the other volunteers was good. I did therapy with young people and the volunteers helped us to organize the projects of the patients and give ideas to improve our therapy.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and came here in Bulgaria ?
Because I need to know new things and I like help people so for me it was a great opportunity to fulfill my aims.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?
At the moment, my first impression is good but I feel very lost because I need to improve my English to get better and fluent communication and yes I’d come back again because at the moment I feel comfy with the guys and the people are very kind.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?
For me there are a lot of advantages because I can meet new people and different costumes that are different to me, know other foreign languages and it’s a possibility to feel secure and comfy with myself. Also I can share experiences with other people from different countries and know different points of views so it allows me to have an open mind.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?
I think that the Bulgarian people will be involved with the project because they show a proactive attitude with the no hate speech campaign and other ways of fighting violence.
I think I have a good attitude to fight the hate speech because now I can’t communicate very well but I am very enthusiastic and I‘ll do everything possible to help to end this problem that nowadays increases.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?
The people should help other people because the world will be better if we’ll do this but normally the people judges before they know someone and it’s very easy to give your opinion and comment on other people but it’s really difficult to be in the skin of other people.

9. If you had to describe #0NL1NE #T0LER@NCE project with one word, what would it be?
OPENMINDED.

Zineb 561

1. Where are you from?

Hi! I am from a small city in the middle of France, situated at two hours from Paris.

2. Tell us about yourself.

I am Zineb, a 19-years-old French student, who is preparing a two years degree in social studies, with an option in city planning. It is my second year. So, during these, students have to carry out two work placements, one each year. I wanted to do these work placements in foreign countries and this year, it is happening in Sofia, with this association!

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?

Indeed, I have dealt with some volunteering before. I organized an intergenerational meeting. I also helped associations during events like professional forum for disabled persons. I am involved in a twinning committee, so it is also the opportunity to help. The last year, I carried out my work placement in Scotland, at an Oxfam-shop, which is a kind of second-hand shop, really popular in the United Kingdom. I was also a volunteer at a food bank during this work placement.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria?

As I said before, I wanted to carry out my work placement in a foreign country to discover new cultures, new landscapes, new people and to develop my professional and personal skills. I preferred to make it in an European country because it was the opportunity to visit this continent, to learn more about the European Union and of course, to receive a Erasmus+ subvention, to be able to enjoy this experience.

So, one of my desires was to visit the Eastern Europe because I think that in France we don’t know many things about this region. To me, that is a pity because it seems to be historically and culturally very rich! Of course, when I was looking for an association, I tried to learn about its mission, its values, its actions and Infinite Opportunities Association seemed to be really interesting and appropriated for my personal and professional project. Indeed, I would like to work in the social and cultural development’ field. And I hope this experience will be the occasion to improve my English skills.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria? Would you come back again?

I am in Bulgaria since few days so I can’t tell you many things about this country. Of course, the language is different; I can’t read the alphabet at the moment; I can’t understand people but I am sure that this experience will be great, it seems to have many things to visit and to do in Sofia and in Bulgaria. Landscapes are definitely nice! And despite our cultural differences, we are all human, many people want the same thing: to be happy.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?

Professionally, I hope this project will allow me to learn more about the organization of educative, social projects and then, to compare how it can work between different countries. I will also be an actor of a project, trying to share positive messages despite the negative image of the world that some people want to show us. It will also be the occasion to improve my English language and why not my Bulgarian too!

Personally, I think this project will be really useful to develop our open-mindedness, our tolerance, our curiosity, our creativity, our sociability and many other positive aspects!

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?

At the moment, I can’t tell you something about the attitude of people in Bulgaria because I didn’t begin it. But I am very enthusiastic about it!

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?

Just do not hesitate, involved yourself and bring all your potential?!

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?

It would be: Empowerment.

We are happy to introduce to you our new shortterm volunteers from Italy and Spain!

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1. Where are you from?
Angelo: I'm from Italy

Nicandro: I am from Italy.

Lucila: I come from Galicia, a beautiful green region in the north west of Spain.

Raisa: I’m from Zaragoza, a city in the north of Spain.

2. Tell us about yourself?
Angelo: I have a great team spirit and I like workgroups. My interests are new technologies, traveling, Internet, sports, film and music.

Nicandro: I am 26 six years old and I come from a small town in the south of Italy. I have got a Master’s Degree in Law and I am interested in the European subjects. I am also fascinated by other cultures and I am always trying to learn more about the countries I visit.

Lucila: I’m an enthusiastic person, I enjoy with everyday little gests. I discovered leaving abroad that languages keep my brain alive so let’s try how Bulgarian goes!

Raisa: I’m 24 years old and I’m studying a Master Degree. I like to travel, the music, to read... and I’m a happy person. I want to live adventures in my life around the entire world.

3. Have you dealt with volunteering before and what did you do?
Angelo: For a short period I helped an association of Civil Protection in their fire-fighting activities with aerial reconnaissance by microlight aircraft. I was a summer camp animator for children for two years. I’m founder member of the recreational and cultural association GAP Aidone that increased the number of members to 30+. Within the association I work in a team to organize and carry out
activities and events in order to enhance the area and promoting active citizenship

Nicandro: I volunteered with an association in Rome concerning the census of the homeless people living in the city.

Lucila: It’s not the first time that I have the opportunity of volunteering. Before I did punctual actions like collecting food in supermarkets, teaching elderly people how to use new technologies or helping kids with their homework.

Raisa: Yeah, I did a volunteering in Nepal with Spanish NGO. We filmed a documentary about disability in the country. I lived there during 3 months and it was a great experience. I met a lot of people and I knew other culture.

4. What’s the reason for you to make this decision and come to Bulgaria ?
Angelo: I don't support the usual "things do not change", but I believe in a reality that through creativity, cooperation and knowledge things can really change. I think that all people have the duty to improve everything around them. Here, with this project, there is the possibility to change some things.

Nicandro: I wanted to challenge myself on an international environment doing something useful for the people and myself as well.

Lucila: I heard about the EVS a few years ago, but it was this year when I felt it was the moment to do it. I just had one clear thought, the project had to be related with human rights and inspire me to keep dreaming of a better world. That was exactly what I found when I read about Love & Hate project, and met Maria from the Infinite Opportunities Association in Sofia.

Raisa: I chose this project because it is a good and important program. Volunteers are doing a very good mission here and I want to be part of this. In addition, I want to live a new experience and I’ve never been in Bulgaria before so it is the better way to know it.

5. What is your first impression of Bulgaria and would you come back again?
Angelo: This is my third day here and I really like Sofia. I think I would come back here again

Nicandro: This is my second time in Bulgaria, the impression I had when I came back here was of great excitement as I would like to discover more about this city and the Bulgarian culture.

Lucila: I just visited Sofia so far, but the first impression is love at first sight! I can’t wait to travel around the country! Spring looks like a nice season to enjoy the city.

Raisa: My first impression was very good. I thought that the country will be different but I’m very happy to be here. I will probably come back again because I want to visit the whole country and it’s impossible in only two months.

6. By participating in our project, what will be the benefits for you?
Angelo: I can open my mind by meeting new ideas and new cultures

Nicandro: I am sure this project will be of great importance not only for my future career but also an amazing opportunity to increase and develop new useful skills.

Lucila: It’s a big opportunity to meet Bulgarian culture from inside, to see how other cultures solve their differences. The first big challenge is the language!

Raisa: I think that I will grow up with this project and it will be very important for the development of my career because this is a job experience too.

7. What do you think is the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project? What is your attitude?
Angelo: It is still early to describe the attitude of people in Bulgaria about the project but I share and believe in tolerance, antidiscrimination, combating hate speech and promotion of diversity.

Nicandro: I just arrived here and honestly still don’t know about the general attitude of people about this project. As far as I am concerned I feel exited in starting this new project and deal with the topics related to it.

Lucila: I’ve just arrived so I couldn’t taste properly how is Bulgarian people, but I believe my attitude can help others attitude, so I always give my best!

Raisa: This is an important project. Children are on Internet all time and it’s impossible to watch them always. They have to understand that all people are identical and we cannot discriminate each other by Internet just because of their countries or other conditions. I don’t know what think people in Bulgaria because I arrived only few days ago but I hope that they feel happy for the opportunity to collaborate with Hate Speech campaign.

8. What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?
Angelo: Does Intolerance bring the advantages? I think no, so why to be intolerant?!

Nicandro: I would explain the topics of the project and the importance of them in the easiest way possible.

Lucila: My personal advice would be, don’t look other way if you know there’s something unfair around you. We are all responsible.

Raisa: What advice would you give those around you to get involved in the campaign?
I will say that we have to teach the children what the right way to use Internet is. Internet is a strong weapon if you don’t use it correctly and we have to show them how they must use it.

9. If you had to describe the LOVE&HATE III project with one word, what would it be?
Angelo: Essencial

Nicandro: Respect.

Lucila: RESPECT!

Raisa: Equality.