Being a role model for the little ones

This summer, scholar Plamena Vasileva (studying a Medical Lab Technician degree at the Medical College - Thracian University) planned and commenced a series of summer classes with children of early school age in her native village of Skobelevo, Haskovo region.

Plamena was provoked by the observations of the huge gaps in the knowledge and motivation of the youngest students in her village during the past school year, passed under the sign of online training due to the coronavirus epidemic. She developed a schedule of classes and coordinated with the local community center the running of the classes with children between the age of 6 and 12 during the summer vacation. Plamena's idea was, through stories about her own way to university, fun activities to increase children's health literacy on topics such as "clean hands" and "clean teeth", to help fill the gaps in social contacts and the acquisition of basic reading and writing skills.

Plamena says that reading books, drawing pictures and learning to wash hands in the right way, in excitement about their new toothbrush and toothpaste kits, her first activity with the children lasted 3 hours, much longer than the original plan. "The children wanted to know when we would work together again and asked us to study English words together," Plamena added. The parents of many of the children work abroad, and the kids spend their time here under the care of their grandparents. This is one of the reasons for the children’s great interest and enthusiasm to work with young people, who encourage them to share and develop their stories and dreams.

As part of Plamena's initiative, the children received writing and drawing materials, as well as a selection of books to use during their activities. The books purchased for the purposes of the initiative will remain available to the children in the village through the library of the “Iskritsa” community center. The most valuable thing, however, will be the time and memories of the fun summer spent together, which will motivate the children to dream and work to become like Plamena.

Plamena is part of the program for Scholarship Support for Roma Students Enrolled in Medical Studies and her small community initiative is executed with TSA’s support, as part of the project for Mentorship support for Roma Students Enrolled in Medical Studies, within the framework of the Active citizens fund Bulgaria.

Active citizens fund Bulgaria is implemented with the financial support of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021.