With a warm and emotional celebration and many guests, Bistro “Academica” celebrated its first birthday. It is this cozy establishment with a cause that has become the home of the Credo Center for Sheltered Employment, providing an adapted and sheltered workplace, as well as accompanying training for disadvantaged people.
The event was honored today by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Radev – Rector of Varna University of Management, Mr. Kancho Hristov – Senior Inspector at the Agency for People with Disabilities, representatives of institutions, partner organizations, parents and friends.
Bistro “Academica” is an extremely successful project of the future. A project that gives perspective, gives opportunities, gives courage. And I am very happy that we celebrate the first year and together with colleagues we hope that we will find a way to continue below some form “, shared Assoc. Prof. Dr. Todor Radev and greeted the team of “Academica – VUM”and those present.
Bistro “Academica” was built and operates within the project “Academica – VUM” – a pilot project for Bulgaria, implemented jointly by Varna University of Management and the International College, with the financial support of the Agency for People with Disabilities, under contract № 01- CPZ. The project is based on sustainable and healthy nutrition, but above all an adapted and protected workplace for people with disabilities.
“We are happy to be proud of this result – 15 happy young people and several others who are not with us at the moment,” explained Vessela Panova, manager of Academica-VUM. She also added that she believes in the future of the project and hopes it will continue.
“For a year now, 15 young people with multiple difficulties have been accepting the challenge of being in a real work environment. Many of you know how far we have come in our dreams – young people who have difficulty finding their place under the sun. Behind the profession, behind everything you have learned, there are many other things – to communicate with others, to feel part of a team, to know what to do when your colleague is in crisis, to be empathetic, to be tolerant. In addition to professional habits, we learn skills and resilience, “said Galya Koycheva, project psychologist. She also added that each of the young people has his place and is appointed to a certain position as part of the auxiliary team of the bistro “Academica”.
Thanks to the hard work, perseverance and great desire of all involved teams, young people work in an environment that gives them an optimal chance to realize their qualifications and potential. Their preparation is actively carried out by a group of teachers and mentors – professionals in various fields, who provide work mentoring, psychological and social support, medical services, opportunities for professional training in culinary arts, foreign language training and personal development training. skills.
Fifteen young people quickly get used to the work in the field of cooking and catering and take care with attention and desire for all visitors to the bistro under the guidance of their mentors and mentors. Specialists in various fields help for the optimal opportunity in the realization of their potential, as well as to increase their quality of life and development and to gain experience in the social environment.
“I have a master’s degree in tourism and, although I studied, I did not practice. Here I got an opportunity to apply what I learned. I am very grateful for the chance I got. I discovered new opportunities and acquired new skills. We want to work, we don’t want to stay at home and receive pensions. We need the same thing you need, but we do it in a slightly different way, “said Plamena Yankova, who is part of the young people working at Academica-VUM.
The business model assigns to the created team various functions such as preparation and sale of food, administrative services, responsibility for various premises, assignment of responsibilities, marketing, cultivation of herbs and spices in urban conditions, care and customer service, serving and catering – areas , in which Varna University of Management has long proven itself as a name in the business, hotel and restaurant industries.
The working positions occupied by the young people of the project are responsible trade hall, assistant cooks, bakers, gardeners and are consistent with the opportunities that each of them has.
Thus, the participants improve their professional suitability and social status every day and will have the opportunity to continue working after the end of the project. In the long run, this means a change in public attitudes and the acceptance of people with disabilities as full members of society.
“Today we share your joy in this different project. This is logical, there are our graduates here who have dreamed of the project happening for many years. Have you given the opportunity to the citizens of Varna to see that people with disabilities can show their skills “, shared Maria Chankova – Director of the Day Care Center for Adults with Disabilities “Riviera ”.
Last but not least, the project aims to improve public awareness of the opportunities of people with disabilities and overcome negative stereotypes.