Youth volunteering in support of human rights

Project facts

Project promoter:
Time Heroes Foundation(BG)
Project Number:
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:

More information


We have witnessed the shrinking of the civil space and the normalization of hate speech and trampling of fundamental human rights in Bulgaria over the last years. At the same time civil society organizations (CSOs) are facing decreasing trust by the public. The project aims at enhancing support for human rights by sensitizing youth towards the need of equality and respect for human personality as well as by actively empowering them to build the society around them by providing them with useful, interesting and motivating resources and ideas about specific volunteering activities and initiatives of Bulgarian CSOs working in the field of human rights. The project will substantially increase the number of CSOs involving young people as volunteers. The project will also boost disapproval among the young people involved towards hate speech targeted at minorities. The project will: 1) support CSOs looking for volunteers for their causes related to human rights by setting up a new thematic section to the online platform, 2) increase the inclusion of young volunteers in NGO initiatives and campaigns, upholding human rights by developing diverse free thematic resources about the organization of thematic initiatives, expand the network of youth volunteer clubs of TimeHeroes, hold a series of intensive volunteer - activist camps for young people to develop working solutions and campaigns, unfold a series of engaging interactive campaigns, including monthly thematic challenges. What is more, in the context of financial instability in the civil sector in Bulgaria, volunteers are an irreplaceable resource and way for organizations with valuable expertise including in advocacy and human rights to direct their capacity to their core activity instead of survival. The main target group of the project are CSOs and the final users are children and young people aged 29.

Summary of project results

The project aimed to create an appropriate mechanism for youth across the country to engage more naturally with human rights-related topics, as well as to volunteer more regularly in local and national NGO activities.
This is how the idea for a new format was born - the national volunteer competition of schools in Bulgaria "Cup of Heroes". By participating in the competition, young people from all over the country have the opportunity to learn the most important life lesson - how to help others. The competitive element subtly stimulates them to engage in various causes, and thus they gain knowledge on important topics and develop important personal skills in the form of a game.
At the end of the project, we are convinced that we were able to achieve exceptional results with the format. Within the project, we created a special platform dedicated to the project and the competition - 43 volunteer clubs took part in the competition, with 840 new members - aged between 8 and 19 years. Many of the clubs are located in settlements outside the big cities - among them Lukovit, Kardzhali, Valchi dol, Popovo, Etropole, Zlatitsa, Haskovo and others. The youth volunteers carried out a total of 255 voluntary initiatives on various topics related to human rights, and most of them were in support of vulnerable groups - people seeking protection, ethnic minorities, incl. Roma, elderly and disadvantaged children. A total of over 6,000 entries were recorded in the 13 monthly challenges held. We held 5 youth meetings with representatives of various NGOs (among them Arete, FineActs, Center for the Study of Democracy), as well as published 126 NGO volunteer missions on the youth platform. We organized two online volunteer marathons, in which 38 participants joined. We have created nearly 70 free resources, including ideas for initiatives, interesting articles on human rights topics, two lessons for teachers on human rights, and in addition we have developed two video lessons that have attracted over 53,000 views. With the overall project communication numbering 500 publications, we reached an audience of almost one million and 500,000 people across the country. We partnered with various organizations to promote the project and its goals, incl. BNR, Darik, Deutsche Welle, Youth Hub, SCool Media, etc. 
Our project also received official recognition from the National Children''s Network and their annual "Golden Apple" contest,

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