WE GIVE, ALUMNI GIVE, AND COMMUNITIES FLOURISH
The Arete Youth Volunteer Network (AYVN) is one of the largest and fastest growing groups of young Roma who engage with community service/volunteering. Its members have been involved in a diverse spectrum of activities related to education, cultural inheritance, health education, environment improvement, and charity events organization. The network with its current 416 members works hard to fulfil the meaning of the mission of the AYVN to empower Roma youth to become active, conscientious and engaged citizens providing access to volunteering activities Inspired by the summer leadership camps, more young people from throughout the country have joined our volunteer network. 29 new members have become part of the AYVN in 2019. By joining they bring their own creative ideas which later they present and realize in their communities. The biggest volunteer chapters are in the cities of Sofia, Kyustendil, Razlog, and Galiche.
In 2019, the AYVN members have implemented 21 volunteer initiatives, including 3 small community projects granted by the Foundation.The Small Community Grants is an initiative that was piloted six years ago and has proven to be a very effective approach to empowering Roma high school youth to become active, conscientious and engaged citizens. AYVN volunteers, many of whom have completed a specialized project cycle and project management trainings, have taken the overall responsibility for the management and reporting of their projects. This has helped instill a feeling of social responsibly and ownership over the initiative for participants. Most projects are now more comprehensive, innovative and most importantly, help address needs and build capacity at the local level.
One such project is the charity concert organized by the volunteers from Sofia. Yet, many volunteers from other cities joined the initiative by either performing on stage and remotely helping with the organization of the concert. With the raised funds from the concert the volunteers granted three scholarships to high school seniors for the upcoming 2019-2020 school year who have high academic achievements and are determined to continue their education in higher educational institutions!