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Crafting new beginnings in Plovdiv

7 March 2024

On 24 February, the project ‘People with disabilities from the municipality of Kuklen preserve traditions and the Bulgarian spirit’, organized by Bulgarian MARIO-grantee National Association for Social Cooperation and Partnership (NSSSP), began in earnest. The sunny February Saturday was exciting and filled with many positive emotions for the participants from four communities – Roma, Turks, Pomacs and Bulgarians – some of whom are disabled.

Early in the morning, the participants left for the city of Plovdiv, accompanied by NSSSP experts, volunteers, and intern tour guides from the Professional High School of Tourism in the city of Plovdiv. The volunteers who accompanied them through the narrow cobblestone streets of the Old Town to Plovdiv’s Regional Ethnographic Museum told them interesting stories about the owners of the beautiful old houses.

A professional tour guide awaited them at the museum, who intrigued everyone with his talk. They looked at the exhibits with interest, with most participants revealing they were entering a museum for the first time. After visiting the museum and taking photos to remember the experience, the participants had the opportunity to visit several craft workshops along the Street of Crafts, where they touched the beautiful products of the artisans.

The bravest participants participated in a workshop to make martenichki for the upcoming Baba Marta (Grandmother March) holiday on 1 March. Martenichki are a traditional decoration made of white and red yarn, symbolizing the coming of spring.

They left satisfied and said they were looking forward to the next meeting to learn more about the craft’s secrets and make a souvenir themselves. The project weaves together these workshops on traditional crafts with focus groups, meetings and showcases to build the skills and confidence of marginalized communities, reduce isolation and foster integration.

Photo credit: Rabotilnica Taka4estvo.

This content is a guest post from one of our partner organizations about their work as part of our ‘Minorities, Accountability, Rights, Independence and Organisational Development’ (MARIO) programme. Learn more >

MARIO is funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (2021-27) of the European Union (ref: 101091387).