Since I had finished high-school I wanted to have EVS experience and I always saw EVS as a great opportunity to live in new place, different culture and people. That looked very cool for me. But I was waiting too long. This summer, in June 2018, accidentally, I saw Facebook post and call for short-term EVS project in organization PETRI in Sofia. I was very surprised, mostly because the topic and mission and goals of the project and hosting organization, their work with young generations in this specific topic: sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and peacebuliding. When I have read the info-pack, I thought, that the project is perfect for me and I decided to start my EVS adventure.
First at all, I would like to say couple words about my hosting organization. International Institute for Youth Development PETRI-Sofia is a knowledge hub and regional resource center at the National Center of Public Health and Analyses (NCPHA) in Bulgaria,that supports youth empowerment in the areas of sexual and reproductive health and rights, gender equality and peacebuilding in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
PETRI-Sofia established in 2007, as a joint initiative of UNFPA, the United Population Found, NCPHA and the Y-PEER International Network. The organization has over 9 years of experience working on peer education standardization, youth leadership, comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), youth-adult partnership, research, monitoring and evaluation, training and information sharing in the field of HIV prevention and SRHR of young people.
As I get enormous support from all my colleagues in the PETRI office, I learnt a lot about myself and how do my best. I am sure that knowledge that they shared with me, will help me a lot in future and for professional and personal development. I remember my first day when I start. Me, a little bit shy, speaking broken English and very excited to start doing something value and useful for myself.
After two months, I realized that even If I don’t have experience in something, I can reach my goals. For very short time period, I improved a lot of new skills and improved my knowledge of English and Bulgarian language. I am starting with work in the office (editing articles, posting on social media and using the social media for advocacy for SRHR, managing with PETRI’s platform Speak Act Change and even preparing and writing the Advocacy toolkit about comprehensive sexual education and organizing the event for International Youth Day).
Besides working in the office, I also volunteered and collaborated with others organizations and local community-Initiative for health foundation (where I worked with Roma community and drug users) and health and social development foundation where we worked with children form marginalized groups in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Of course, I had time to explore Sofia, and travel around the country. I can say that Bulgaria is very cultural diverse country where I meet people from all over the Europe and beyond, discovered so much beautiful places with cultural and historical value.
From my experience, I can say that this EVS get me a lot of good memories. Times spend with my new friends, influence on me a lot in positive way and give me opportunity to be open to try new things, adopt new habits, learn about others cultures, other languages and be open to new people coming from different backgrounds and cultures.
I am still remember the sentences that Ivana, coordinator from sending organization, Volunteers Centre Skopje said before my trip to Sofia:” EVS is different experience for everyone. You’ll decide, and create how your EVS experience will be”. Now, I am sure that is true. I wrote one more page on book called “Life”.
I am thankful for this opportunity and highly recommend to every young person to try this kind experience and write the own page.