Our today’s guest is one very socially engaged woman, who is fighting for a positive change not only in the environment, but also in people’s everyday life. We introduce to you – Laska Nenova from Plovdiv.
At the moment, me and my colleagues from Be Active association are working on developing campaigns for changing citizens’ perspective on various important topics. Most of them have to do with society, concerning people’s healthy lifestyle.
Our projects aim at improving urban environment’s conditions, making the conditions for an active lifestyle better and spreading more knowledge.
We are creating a network of partners, who are helping us, because we realize it’s impossible to do it by ourselves.
Currently BG Be Active (БГ Бъди активен) is leading three big campaigns in Plovdiv.
Now We Move Bulgaria
Now We Move Bulgaria contains a few events. One of them is A Day Without Elevators – it’s target are people who works in offices and high buildings. By this campaign we are willing to show that it’s good for us to change our mindset and we are helping people to make the first step towards an active everyday life.
Move Week or European Week of Movement is once again aimed at people’s physical activity, but this time the main target group are families. The campaign takes place annually in the last week of May and it’s being done throughout the whole country.
A part of the campaign is Sport’s Day at School, where the target group are children and it takes place everywhere in Bulgaria in September.
Improving the City
We have one more initiative, called Placemaking – it’s a type of civil activation, where non-governmental organizations, local governments and different businesses, along with citizens, work together to improve their city’s environment. Currently we have 20 cities, taking part in our campaign, so we got 20 improved places, thanks to Placemaking.
We are developing a network of people, who are socially active and thanks to them we continue accomplishing positive change. We want to make people believe that they hold real change in their own arms.
Me, You, Plovdiv!
In Plovdiv we created a campaign, named Me, You, Plovdiv!. It’s dedicated to our belief that culture has a lot of dimensions. In 2019 Plovdiv was a European capital of culture and we want that capital to be clean, which is achieved by the many campaigns we make throughout the whole city. We want to show people that they are also responsible for the city’s environment. We are focused on cleaning different spots in the city.
In 2015 we made a research on people’s activity and we discovered that we had a positive effect on 23% of the citizens through our Now We Move campaign. When we first started in 2012 there were only about 3-4 people attending our events. With the growing of the initiative, as we made it in various other cities as well, events began to be more and more large-scale. In 2014 and 2015 some other partner organizations appeared and they added more events, concerning physical activity.
We also did a research on the Me, You, Plovdiv campaign, which showed that people were either personally responsible for pollution or they encountered somebody who was. Be it a plastic cup, a cigarette end etc. or we just did something that contributed pollution. Plovdiv’s Directorate of Ecology is helping us a lot. We also work with a lot of activists, who are into ecology and zero waste.
It’s simple – people who are interested become a part of the initiative. We work with everybody and we continue seeing increase in the number of people involved in every campaign.
Laska Nenova’s Motivation
All projects begin in Plovdiv. I am the third generation from my family who was born here. I like mentioning that.
I have lived abroad, but suddenly I decided to come back. I think my motivation is my national pride and the pride I’m from Plovdiv. We should really stop complaining and show the world that we are equally worth it and that we can also do things the right way. We are responsible for that change to happen in our country. We have all the conditions to do it – we have the possibility and the right to have a good life and better development.
In terms of the initiative we have various institutions as our partners. Citizens are a big part of what we do, because we are a non-governmental organization. We count on different ministries –Ministry of Youth and Sport, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Ecology. We are also in a partnership with the European Commission which supports us with funds from the European Union.
We work along with the International Sport and Culture Association ISCA (Denmark). They were the founders of the idea for the Now We Move campaign.
In Bulgaria we have also worked with various corporative partners. The Me, You, Plovdiv initiative, for example, was financed by Coca Cola Foundation, who is one of our main partners.
We have cooperated with big food chains, such as Lidl, Kaufland and sport equipment and apparel chains (Decathlon).
We have had a lot of partners who helped us and who continue supporting us.
A cause that unites
I think young people are the main initiators, who help people unite in a certain cause and makes them change their surroundings. Thanks to technologies, Internet, travel possibilities nowadays many young people go study abroad and come back ready to change things for the better. They give the wish to change to others and have the will to fight in themselves. In fact, while they study abroad, these young people learn how to be citizens. In Western countries that is well developed already as an idea.
A Role Model
I don’t just have one person as an idol. During the time of my personal development, I have had various people who inspired me. My current topic of interest is Stoicism philosophy. It’s once again a matter of many people – philosophers who used to live thousands of years ago – Mark Aurelius, Seneca etc. They are leading me in my improvement as a human in this part of my life.
Laska’s Wish to Ambicia
I wish you to be moderately ambitious. I hope you realize every task you set for yourselves, no matter the obstacles. And I wish you not to be so ambitious that you neglect your moral values.