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COVID can mean care, reason, values, unity, solidarity

This showed a European project with participants from 8 countries

The activities of the project ”Manage the COVID crisis with Care, reasOn, Values, unIty, soliDarity” (acronym: Care On) are coming to an end.

 

 

The project is funded by the Europe for Citizens Program of the European Union, Strand 2: ”Democratic engagement and civic participation”, Measure 2.3 ”Civil society projects”. The coordinator is the ”Contemporary Pleven Media” Foundation, Pleven, Bulgaria.

 

Partners are organizations from 7 other European countries: ASOCIACIÓN DE INNOVACIÓN FORMACIÓN Y EMPLEO PARA EL DESARROLLO SOSTENIBLE (AIFED), Granada, Spain; EDUCOMMART, Athens, Greece; JUGEND-& KULTURPROJEKT EV, Dresden, Germany; MINORITY AND LOCAL MEDIA DEVELOPMENT CENTER (MLMDC), Novi Sad, Serbia; SPIRALIS, Prague, Czech Republic; OPEN LITHUANIA FOUNDATION (OLF), Vilnius, Lithuania and 36.6 CENTRUM KOMPETENCJI, Lodz, Poland.

 

The COVID crisis is not going away anytime soon. Our goal is to supplement the SWOT analysis of the crisis with the results of the activities of the project ”Manage the COVID crisis with care, reason, values, unity, solidarity”. Let’s note the mistakes and omissions made during the COVID crisis, but also see what the conclusions and lessons from it are, say the organizers.

 

 

At the center of this project is the person: doctor, manager, teacher, creator, parent, unemployed, young and old, convinced European or Eurosceptic. The participants in the project consortium listened carefully to everyone so that all voices could be clear and reach millions of citizens of the European Union. For this purpose, 10 thematic debates were held under the title ”Lessons from the crisis”. In them, the lessons for the cultural and social sector, for education, people with disabilities, youth, families, business, media, and healthcare were discussed with different target groups.

 

As a result of the discussions during the debates and the extensive research work, 42 stories were collected from 8 countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Lithuania, Poland, Republic of Serbia, and Spain. They are presented in an online brochure in English. ”STORIES OF GOODNESS” contains photos, videos, and stories of help and spread empathy, personal experiences, and good practices from the experiences of doctors, NGOs, communities, cities, and countries. In it you will find many personal, human stories, some of them – famous, others – about ”small” characters who remained out of the limelight. This booklet shines a light on the everyday, quiet acts of kindness that we believe are even more infectious than the virus.

 

On October 28 2022, Pleven and Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation hosted the final event of the ”Manage the COVID crisis with Care, reasOn, Values, unIty, soliDarity” project. (acronym: Care On). The conference entitled ”Lessons from the crisis” was held in the large conference hall of the ”Rostov” hotel and attracted more than 100 participants – pupils, students, teachers, and public figures.

 

 

Special guests were the partners of the Pleven foundation from Spain, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Serbia. The representatives of Greece and Germany were obstructed from attending live and therefore took part online.

 

The Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation, Ivanka Vateva, opened the conference with a welcome and a brief overview of the project activities that began in May 2021. How strongly and overall the lives of all of us have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic led to the project itself undergoing changes – some activities were transformed into an online format, and an extension of the deadline was necessary. And yet, as the name of the project implies, even in the bad there is something good.

 

 

The crisis caused by the virus brought to the surface problems but also solutions, gave birth to acts of nobility, mutual aid, solidarity, increased trust in doctors and scientists, accelerated the uptake of digital learning in schools, highlighted the need for more care for vulnerable and marginalized groups in society, which are among the most endangered in a crisis, especially a healthcare one. Ivanka Vateva emphasized these conclusions and noted with great satisfaction that the students reached them during the discussions using the World Cafe method.

 

 

Six such discussions were held on the eve of the conference in Pleven with the participation of students from Secondary school ”Stoyan Zaimov”, National school of arts ”Panayot Pipkov”, Vocational high school of electronics and chemical technologies ”Prof. Asen Zlatarov”, State financial and business high school ”Intelekt”, Vocational High School of Mechanical Electrotechnics and Secondary school dormitory ”Danail Popov”. The topics covered were identical to those of the 10 debates held in the eight partner countries.

They were from all spheres – economy, healthcare, education, culture, media, social care, NGOs. In a series of 10-minute discussions, the young people had to come up with proposals for the best and correct solutions in the next crisis.

 

At the conference, the work in the World Cafe was presented in a short video, and the students’ ideas were visualized on white sheets – displayed in an improvised exhibition near the walls of the hall.

 

Foreign partners in the project ”Manage the COVID crisis with Care, reasOn, Values, unIty, soliDarity” shared their own contributions, highlighting the conclusions of the debates and the stories they prepared for the STORIES OF GOODNESS online brochure in English.

The brochure, containing 42 stories of good deeds, empathy, charity, help and solidarity in the years of crisis, can be viewed on the project website:

https://www.care-on.eu/ .

 

Bill Gates’ TED lecture ”We can make COVID-19 the last pandemic” was watched with great attention at the end of the conference. In the subsequent discussion, representatives of the Association of Medical Students in Bulgaria, of the non-governmental sector, Higher Air Force School ”Georgi Benkovski” and the host schools of the World Cafe took part.

 

From all the conclusions in the partner debates and the ideas of young people, as well as after what was shared at the conference, a document will be prepared with recommendations to the European Commission for actions in case of future crisis. This is the main goal of the project.