Genika Baycheva


During the workshops of 'Building Together', the peculiarity of the project has been shown.
"We were all strangers: the Bulgarians, the volunteers who are strangers in the neighbourhood, the foreign volunteers as strangers in Bulgaria, the graffiti artist who stands out everywhere by his artistic aura. Usually it is the Turkish and Roma communities and the others, but at this workshop we were our own foreign-community. "

In 2013, Genika Baycheva entered Stolipinovo for the first time as part of the development of a cultural program for the 2019 Capital of Culture application. Since then, she has been involved in a three-year anthropological study and mapping project of the area. Because she believes that the inhabitants of Plovdiv and Bulgaria are generally unaware of the life and the people of Stolipinovo and other isolated communities. There are many prejudices, stereotypes, prejudgments but hardly any well-founded knowledge. In addition, Genika Baycheva is part of various projects and initiatives taking place in Stolipinovo and has become a regular visitor of the neighbourhood.

From her experience, there are three key elements to a successful project. The existing resources (knowledge and material) should be used, the needs of the community should be listened to and there should be cooperation with local people as much as possible. Those responsible should not carry everything into the neighbourhood and then disappear, but ask themselves: “What remains after the project?” To strive for a lasting effect. In addition, projects should be long-term in order to build trust in the community.
At the same time, even short spectacles which have disappeared from the collective memory within a month could have inspired a child to follow his path and to break away from the structures to become a musician or circus acrobat, or something similar.

Overall, after years of isolating the community in Stolipinovo, it is difficult to see any major effects and progress after a few years. In her work, Genika Baycheva experiences the difficulties of the word 'Together' in practice.

‘Building Together’ connects through work. There is no abstract task, the concrete work on, for example, "the door" provides a reality reference for the participants. The volunteers have experienced a special, constructive insight into the district Stolipinovo, have become a team with the local people.