Sofia, BulgariaDISES International Round Table | June 25 - 30, 2017
Sofia 2017 DISES Roundtable
June 25th-30th, 2017
Including All Children in a Changing World
Refugee Centre in Sofia
Sharing a border with Turkey, Bulgaria became the main land route for refugees from the Middle East fleeing towards Europe. The vast majority of the refugees only spent several months in Bulgaria before continuing to Western Europe. During this time they are placed in Centres for temporary accommodation. With 35% of all asylum seekers in Bulgaria being children, the provision of social, psychological and educational help for them is a pressing matter. We will visit one of these centres in Sofia to meet the volunteers who teach English, Bulgarian, sport and arts to migrant children, victims of conflict, very few of whom have ever had access to normal educational facilities. Through this visit, we hope to engage in a mutually beneficial dialogue and practice sharing between the DISES group and the people at the centre.
Roma Services Centre
The Roma people account for about 5% of Bulgaria’s population. Despite being present on the Balkans for over 10 (ten) centuries, this very diverse ethnic group has constantly found itself on the margins of mainstream society. The two biggest challenges faced by this community today are medical care and education. We will visit a Health and Social Development Centre run by the HESED Foundation, which is the first of its kind and is situated in the largest Roma neighbourhood of Sofia. We will meet with the trained community assistants who provide social, health and educational activities. We will be able to learn more about their work with young children education and the challenges of inclusion of people traditionally segregated along ethnic, cultural and linguistic lines. Through this visit, we hope to engage in a mutually beneficial dialogue and practice sharing between the DISES group and the people at the centre.
A Day in Teteven with Bulgarian Teachers
On Thursday, we will meet teachers from two Bulgarian schools in the small and typical Bulgarian town of Teteven. One of the schools hosts students from 1 to 4th grade (6-11 years old), and the other – from 5th till 12th grades. Both schools have a big diversity of children – from different ethnic minorities and with various cultural backgrounds as well as children with various academic abilities, as in every school in the world. The Centre for Inclusive Education has developed partnerships in support of inclusive education in these schools
We will leave Sofia by bus at 8.00 and after traveling through the Bulgarian country side, will arrive there about 10.00, where we will participate in a series of short workshops with Bulgarian teachers and experts. We cordially invite all guests of the Round table to consider preparing and holding a 30 min workshop – something that you would like to share with your colleagues from Bulgaria and other countries. It can be anything – about your experience abroad, a project of yours, lessons learned about working with a certain group of children, teachers training tips, etc. Make it simple and interesting. If materials are needed,
we will provide them, as well as translation. Some Bulgarian teachers will also hold workshops – e.g. about interesting teaching practices they use. We encourage Roundtable participants to consider sharing an effective inclusive practice you have seen used with our Bulgarian colleagues as part of our professional collaboration (see Volunteer Service Opportunities for more information on signing up to present a short workshop.)
We will have a picnic lunch around the swimming pool and right in the mountain and will continue with a session where you can ask teachers about everything – but please be prepared to also answer any of their questions. In the late afternoon, we will depart for a country dinner on our way back to Sofia.