The first Sunday of September, sunny and alluring, became an unforgettable day for the members of the auxiliary team at the “Academica” bistro – home to the Center for Supported Employment “Kredo,” the first center of its kind in Varna and second in Bulgaria, providing adapted and protected employment opportunities for people in disadvantaged positions. In the early morning of September 3rd, dressed comfortably in white and blue attire, with eyes full of expectations and radiant smiles, 15 young individuals with various disabilities gathered at their workplace. However, they weren’t there for their usual shift but to embark on an unforgettable experience – a unique yacht trip.

Right on schedule, organized transportation departed for Balchik with 18 passengers – the target group and their companions. The journey was filled with lively conversations and speculations about the upcoming activities. Almost imperceptibly, the youth found themselves at the charming Balchik harbor, where they were welcomed by their gracious host, Captain Nikolay. With clear instructions and wishes for an enjoyable experience, he invited them aboard the cozy yacht, setting sail at a leisurely pace towards the open sea. On board, within 2 hours, the passengers enjoyed a breathtaking view of the shore and the sea, the warmth of the sun’s rays, the pleasant breeze, and countless unforgettable emotions, but most importantly, a sense of unity, empathy, and mutual understanding.

A brief stroll along the waterfront promenade helped the youth feel like guests of the city, break free from accumulated emotions, and acquire skills for group movement and following a route. It also whetted the travelers’ appetite for a well-deserved shared lunch.

At the end of the day, the youth returned to Varna, visibly satisfied with the experience, filled with emotions, and overflowing with gratitude for this exceptional gesture towards them.

The fundraising campaign for this unforgettable experience began in early June. The idea for it arose in the context of a short course on the topics of philanthropy and the use of the recently popular “crowdfunding” method (collective fundraising) for social causes, organized as part of the “Culture of Philanthropy and Social Inclusion” project under the “Erasmus+” program. Throughout the training, students from the Varna University of Management, volunteers from the Bulgarian Red Cross, and other representatives of the non-governmental sector acquired new knowledge and skills for launching charitable campaigns. In the end, they chose a specific cause – providing a unique maritime experience for these 15 young individuals in disadvantaged positions and devised a plan for its execution and promotion. The target amount of 1600 BGN was raised within 2 months, thanks to 34 donors who recognized the positive effects of this initiative.