An exciting experience
- Posted by: Raycho Chaprazov
- Category: Без категория
In 2019, I was a participant in the Second national camp “Together Forward” organized by the Arete Youth Foundation . Those few days allowed us to get inspired and ambitious, to start looking for what is best for us and dream big. I’m a student now, studying what I’ve always wanted to study. For three consecutive years, I lived with the thought that I would never be able to feel the emotions and the inspiration from the camp again. I needed support and extra motivation. That excitement was brought back with the advertisement for “Camp for girls of Roma origin”. Without thinking twice, I applied for it and a couple of days later I received a call back saying I had been accepted. These words brought me back to life. I felt like I was on cloud 9. I was going to meet Arete’s people again who inspired me to study.
The day of our departure for the camp came. On the train to Sofia, I spent time with some lovely girls. When we arrived, we were greeted by Hristo and Radostina, the people who did everything in their power to keep us positive and always smiling. We still had an hour left until we arrived in Borovets.
Our adventure started as soon as we arrived at the hotel. We had no time to waste. There, we had a lecture with a great woman. A woman to look up to, a woman with an extraordinary story. She cheered us up and made us forget about how tired we were from the whole journey by telling us her story about her hardships and struggles along the way to become what she is today. Sylvia Stancheva – Regional Pedagogical Coordinator at Center “Amalipe”; the woman who fought at all costs to reach the top of success. She shared her story in great detail, she said everything in a way that we were able to relive her difficulties as a Romani woman. From self-discovery and self-esteem through the values, culture and traditions of the Romani community. We went so far in depth, that we got to see what challenges any modern Romani woman could face. We learned about preventing early marriages, dropping out of school, discrimination and violence. Topics that we had to think about and find solutions to. There are hundreds of Romani girls who suffer from not being able to learn about these topics, which ultimately stops us from being what we want. Not every girl is ready to face her fears and stand by her decisions and goals in life. But many of these girls are willing to say the words that will protect them:
“I will learn!”,
“I will not force myself into marriage!”,
“I will succeed and I will prove it to you!”,
“I will be what you are afraid to be!”.
A woman who respects herself and wants to achieve her dreams is ready to break all stereotypes and turn the world upside down. A woman who strongly believes in herself doesn’t need anyone to succeed in life.
I may have been one of the girls who accepted the challenge and fought against all the obstacles to get to university, but nothing ends there. No Romani woman’s challenges end when she finishes her education, nor when she builds a family of her own. The Romani woman is born to fight, to be strong and to be a support to anyone who needs her help.
We had great speakers who made us think differently and look at the world differently in such a short amount of time. I felt as though I had been rebirthed at the camp, I learned so much and motivated myself more and more. What I learned was that disappointment is the sign of a new beginning. In moments when you tell yourself the end has come, when you don’t have the strength to fight, you have to remind yourself why you started in the first place and how you got to where you are now.
The powerful narratives and success stories continued with more magnificent speakers. Dr. Silvia Georgieva, lecturer at the UNWE; Gergana Ivanova, founder and partner at The Smarts Advertising Agency and member of the Board of the Council of Women in Business in Bulgaria; Victoria Blazheva, Director of Strategy and Business at UniCredit Bulbank. The hours spent with these wonderful ladies motivated us and showed us that there is no easy way to reach the top. Every girl would like to be in their shoes. They told us their personal stories and gave us tips on how we can manage our studies along with work and personal life. The days spent at the camp went by so fast, I didn’t want it to end. Everything was so interesting and the girls were so nice; each one of them had a beautiful soul, full of energy and filled with dreams. We all became friends, we became one whole, a new family was born.
We created an awful lot of beautiful things. We came up with ways on how to stop discrimination, domestic violence, early marriages, dropping out of school, and we made attempts at creating business plans. We were all so energetic, none of us wanted this to end. It was so emotional and exciting for all of us to be together, to communicate, to share. This lesson, the camp, will remain there, in the heart of Arete, where many dreaming suns live, which will be an example for the younger generations.
Autor: Alexandra Antonova