A group of friends and family got together to raise money so that young people from FSCI’s House of Opportunity could go on a skiing adventure in Bulgaria’s famous Rila mountains. Thanks to the efforts of Ivan Bozhilov, who organised the trip and raised the money for it, seven young people were able to spend a weekend in March pushing their limits, learning new skills and enjoying the amazing scenery of the Seven Lakes.
“Ivan and his friends were amazing,” says Boryana Madzhova, FSCI’s House of Opportunity Coordinator. “He offered to liaise with the adventure company, buy all the gear that was needed and pay the costs of the young people too. Ivan involved family, friends and work colleagues – he even managed to persuade people he didn’t previously know to support the project too! Between them they covered everything. Our main aim of the weekend was to push the young people to extend themselves. We were able to do that in a challenging environment, but safely, thanks to the wonderful team at Adventure Net and our friendly mountain guides, who were all very supportive of the young people and were delighted to be involved. We want to say a big thank everyone for their generosity.”
The mountain adventure was completely outside of the young people’s experience. House of Opportunity residents all come from a state care background, and some have been on the streets, so the trip was something new for them, and proved challenging. “The young people were nervous at first,” continues Boryana. “Our guides were really great and gave lots of instructions about how to be safe in the mountains, but when the young people first saw the steep slopes, they preferred to slide down on their bottoms! But after a while they were playing like kids. This is something we forget – these young people have never been to the mountain with their family or enjoyed the things regular children enjoyed when they were growing up. It was great to see them so happy and combining this with new skills and learning, like map reading and what to do in a mountain emergency. We were all sad to have to come back to the city on Sunday!”
The House of Opportunity combats poverty and modern slavery throughout Southeast Europe by offering vulnerable young people a pathway to independence. You can find out more here.