Teach For Bulgaria was among the organizations invited to participate in the “Ambassador for a Day” initiative by the British Embassy in Sofia and Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Emma Hopkins. The “Ambassador for a Day” initiative aims to encourage and empower girls from across Bulgaria to add their voices and perspectives to societal issues that affect us all.
This year’s essay topic was “How would you use your power as an individual and your influence as an ambassador for a day to make a positive change in society?”.
The authors of the best essays had the opportunity to spend one day in the shoes of an ambassador by meeting with professionals from the civic sector who work towards positive social change in Bulgaria.
The tenth-grader Radina Vasileva was “Ambassador for a Day” at Teach For Bulgaria. She goes to 91 German Language High School “Prof. Konstantin Galabov” in Sofia. Radina made a huge impression on us with her positive attitude and interest in being not just an ambassador for a day, but also working towards positive social change in the long term.
We definitely found her ambition very impressive and motivational, she proved to be a great fit for us even for a day.
We thought it was important for her to participate in our big team meeting at the office in the morning. We talked to her about our vision, mission, and organizational goals, but we knew how beneficial and eye-opening it would be give her the opportunity to visit a partner school, observe classes, meet with students and teachers. So without hesitation we invited her to join adventurer Philip Lhamsuren who was going to be a guest speaker at Professional Vocational High School “G. S. Rakovski” in Kostenets.
The opportunity to present our work to such a motivated and active student – visiting a school which was quite different from what she was used to, meeting some of her peers there, telling them about what opportunities lay before them – was valuable for her, for us, and for the other students.
Philip Lhamsuren’s exciting stories and inspirational words made the day more than special for everyone. For us, Radi was not just “Ambassador for a Day”, but also a young woman who most definitely had the strength and motivation to be an active citizen and support our shared cause of equal access to quality education for every child.
Why are we so convinced? You can see for yourselves – it is obvious from the letter of appreciation we received after her day at Teach For Bulgaria.
“I was very excited when I found out I was chosen to be “Ambassador for a Day” by the British Embassy in Bulgaria. I was even more excited when I realized I’d spend the day at Teach For Bulgaria. Their team is incredible. Everyone is so positive and determined. Neli Gacheva, Development and Fundraising Specialist at TFB, welcomed me. She managed to get me on board with the main aspects of Teach For Bulgaria’s work, vision, and goals. Neli is truly inspirational.
The plan was to go to Kostenets, visit a school, and spend some time with a participant in the program and their students. Neli and I traveled with two other team members – Pav and Alex. Philip (adventurer Philip Lhamsuren) also came with us.
The only thing I knew about him was that he crossed the Amazon on foot and by himself.
This school visit opened my eyes to the limitations faced by my peers in small towns and villages in Bulgaria. My peers in Kostenets didn’t seem to allow themselves to dream big and the goals they had set for themselves seemed very modest. I felt like they didn’t want to share their dreams with anyone. The town of Kostenets is less than 60 kilometers away from Sofia, but to me, it seemed that in their minds the distance was much bigger.
As Philip talked about the things he had to overcome to make his dream come true, I could see that his words filled my peers with hope. I cannot even begin to describe how inspirational his story was. His words gave me goosebumps and reminded me that we all had potential to grow regardless of where we came from. Philip just looked at us and said:
“Hey, I started from the bottom, now I’m here. No one can stop you, if you truly want something! Dream big!”
Unfortunately, not every child is motivated and supported like this and many students are definitely afraid of failure. Philip, an outsider, came to their school and illustrated with his own life story that they could do anything, if they worked hard for it. An important message we all need when we set out to make our dreams come true.
My day with Teach For Bulgaria showed me how to plant and grow the seeds of children’s dreams. I thought we were all equal! We should all be getting quality education! We should all be able to dream!”