About our project in English/ Представяне на проекта на английски

Empowered Youth

Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus-Bulgaria is an NGO established in 2011 by parents of children with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. During the years the children and our organization have been growing up together. At the beginning we are focused mainly on the healthcare issues (surgeries, rehabilitation, finding good doctors). Later we realized the importance of the active social inclusion for the children.


Once we overcame the initial fear for the children physical survival, then more and more parents started to upgrade the vision for children’s future. We began to overlay different social roles – a pupil, a friend, an independent adult, a working man/woman, a head of a family, a parent, a citizen. We can imagine our children being independent people who’ve achieved a happy and complete life. This vision is the starting point of the project Empowered Youth.



The project Empowered Youth aims to support children with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus in developing social skills and experience in advocacy, in order to become more prepared for their independent adult and active citizen roles. 


We started it in October 2019 and the activities will continue up till spring of 2021. We work with 18 children in school аge form Bulgaria and their families. Most of them are with spina bifida and/or hydrocephalus. We have included children temporarily living outside Bulgaria, as our idea is helping them to keep the good relationship with their birthplace and the local community.    


We started the project in November 2019 with five-days training supporting the youth civil activities. Our idea was to give the children theoretical background and some good examples on (self)advocacy. The training was done by a team of therapists,a lawyer, a social worker, a specialist on internet safety, specialists experienced in advocacy for people with disabilities from Bulgaria and from Norway. 

After the training we’ve started the 14 months of real advocacy work. We build 3 geographically dispersed teams - The East Team, The West Team and The Virtual Team including the children living outside Bulgaria or those who are troubled to trip. Each team has a mentor, who support the team work during regular team and personal meetings.     


The children in each team, by themselves, choose the problem they will work on and will try to solve. One of the teams chose the access to the sport for people with disabilities as a topic; the other one works for the problem with lack of open playgrounds for the teenagers and the third one picked up the issue - how to deal with crisis. They share their experience on Empowered Youth youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnfHsQMMAuWn0QmgkSjHonw

Once the advocacy campaigns are done, we’re planning an informational event, where children will share their first steps in advocacy.  


As we mentioned above, we work in cooperation with Norwegian specialists. The Empowered Youth is a partnership project. It’s being realized together with the Norwegian Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, which have been working actively for more than 40 years now in Norway. As per the project our colleagues from Norway present their precious experience supporting the children and their families during transition from childhood to adulthood. 




The Empowered Youth project is implemented with a financial support provided by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway under the EEA Financial Mechanism.

This document was created with the financial support of the Active Citizens Fund in Bulgaria under the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area. The sole responsibility for the content of the document lies with Spina bifida and Hydrocephalus-Bulgaria and under no circumstances can it be assumed that this document reflects the official opinion of the Financial Mechanism of the European Economic Area and the Operator of the Active Citizens Fund in Bulgaria.

Премини към: