The DANET DAY in Bulgaria has connected the Danube Strategy with the Hearts of the Bulgarians
The European association DANET, the Centre of Education of Third Age (CETA) of the University of Ruse (UR), the Union of Pensioners‘2004-Ruse (UP) and the District Library of Silistra (DL) organized a day of the International Association Danube-Networkers for Europe (DANET) on 15 May, 2015, in Ruse and on 16 May, 2015, in Silistra, for presenting the initiatives of the Association DANET, the Danube Strategy and the successful results of the project “The Wanted Danube“.
The responsible persons of the DANET Day from Bulgaria were Assoc. Prof. Dr Emilia Velikova, DANET and CETA board member, Prof. Dr Nikolay Mihailov, Director of the CETA, Pr. Lecturer Milena Popova, CETA Board member, Eng. Yordan Kazakov and Mr. Petko Petkov, Presidents of the Union of Pesnioners’2004 – Ruse Region and the town of Ruse, Mrs Neli Stoilova and Mrs. Krsimira Nyagolova, representatives of DL, Silistra.
- The project “The Wanted Danube”
More than 500 participants, children, school and university students, working people, pensioners, members of different local, national and international organizations, citizens of the town of Ruse and of the town of Silistra have taken part in the project „The Wanted Danube“ with coordinator Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer. Under her indefatigable guidance, the project attracted more than 6000 participants from eight European countries along the river Danube (Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Austria, Hungary), who hand-crocheted a friendship band from leftover or reused threads of wool, which finally grew to more than 1.500 kilometres in length. The crocheting was accompanied by numerous events of information and activity.
The Bulgarian participants sent to the project’s exhibition in the town of Ulm, Germany, 524 beautiful pieces, 231 kilometres in length.
The Mayor of Slivo Pole Municipality Mr. Georgi Golemanski organized official lunch for more than 100 participants from the Municipality in June, 2015. He gave certificates to the participants and to these organizations which supported the project’s activities. Mr. Georgi Golemanski remarked „Now, when we see the great impact of the idea to connect the people along the river Danube, we are ready more purposeful to take part in the continuation of “The Wanted Danube” or any other projects of Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer“.
The exhibition in the festival of the town of Ulm, Germany and the selling of the carpets with donation aims attracted the attention of thousands of people in Europe.
For the exceptional results, the European Parliament has awarded the Ulm-based international project “The Wanted Danube”, represented by its coordinator Carmen Stadelhofer, with the “European Citizen’s Prize 2015”. At the same time “The Wanted Danube” was also awarded with the “Europa-Lilie (Lily of Europe) 2015” in the “Best Citizen’s Commitment” category.
- DANET DAY in the Ruse region
The European association DANET, the University of Ruse and the Union of Pensioners‘2004-Ruse organized a day of the International Association Danube-Networkers for Europe (DANET) on 15 May, 2015, in Ruse and on 16 May, 2015, in Silistra, for presenting the initiatives of the Association DANET and the successful results of the project “The Wanted Danube“.
The DANET delegation included Chairperson of DANET, Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer, and three representatives of organizations, involved by voluntary work in the project “The Wanted Danube”, Bertram Wegemer, the Institute for virtual and face-to-face learning in adult education at Ulm University (ILEU) e.V., Stefani Meyer, a teacher in a high school in Illertissen and Inga Engels from the “Donaubüro/Danube Office” of the towns Ulm/Neu-Ulm.
After their arrival on 14 May, 2015, the DANET delegation got acquainted with the beautiful town of Ruse, which was established 1800 years ago by the Roman Empire and called Sexaginta Prista.
The working program of the delegation included many exceptional events and meetings with project participants who were impatient to demonstrate their hospitality and traditions and to meet the coordinator of so many European projects Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer in person. There was a scenario prepared carefully for each event. Meetings were held with representatives of local authorities, different pensioners’ organizations and many other organizations in Ruse and Silistra regions. Children, mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers participated in these events.
The DANET DAY started with a meeting of the DANET delegation with the Rector of the University of Ruse, COR MEM Prof. Hristo Beloev, DTSc, DHC mult. Both parties expressed their satisfaction with the fruitful cooperation, whose results can be seen in the recognition, which the joint projects have won both on the part of the European parliament and on the part of the thousands of participants from the Danube region countries.
The official opening ceremony of the DANET Day in Ruse started with planting a birch tree in the alley in front of the University Main building as a symbol of cooperation between the Danube countries, by Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer, the members of the DANET delegation, the representatives of the University of Ruse, Prof. Nikolay Mihailov, Assoc. Prof. Emiliya Velikova, Vice Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Education, Senior Lecturer Milena Popova and the representatives of the Union of Pensioners‘2004-Ruse – Eng. Yordan Kazakov, Mr. Petko Petkov, Mrs. Reni Koleva, Mrs. Gergana Vasileva. Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer wished in a interview for media „May this tree keep growing just like our friendship and our desire for a peaceful and strong Europe do!“
The next meeting of the DANET delegation was with the Vice Governor of Ruse region, Mr. Yavor Yanchev, who expressed his support for the activities of CAE and readiness to participate in the courses and other initiatives, himself.
After that, the exhibition “The Wanted Dabune” was open for the society of Ruse. At the Regional Information Centre “Ruse”, in the centre of the city, many famous members of Ruse community and the local authorities gathered – the Vice Mayor of Ruse Municipality, Mr. Dimitar Nakov, Chairpersons and members of non-government and cultural organizations such as Soroptimist International – Ruse, Union of the Blind, Union of the Deaf in Bulgaria, Red Cross – Bulgaria, Club “Elias Canetti”, project participants from the Union of Pensioners and the University of Ruse, many citizens.
The exhibition included materials of the Association DANET, photographs and end products presenting the activities of the partners from the Danube countries under eight international projects for the period 2011-2015 which have been developed under leadership of Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer. The Vice Mayor of Ruse Municipality, Mr. Dimitar Nakov, greeted the participants and wished them success in the future. Chairpersons of other organizations thanked Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer cordially for being the founder of an activity, which is so needed for Bulgaria – satisfying the educational needs of adult people. Mrs. Stadelhofer talked about the initiatives of the Association DANET, the specific ideas for future work, building a bridge between generations and active engagement in the civil society. She remarked the necessity from strengthening the role of the adult people in the development of the Danube countries. Chairpersons and citizens viewed the exhibits and expressed their desire to be included in the initiatives of the Association DANET in the future during numerous informal conversations.
Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer gave interviews for TV, radio, other media, presenting the DANET Association.
The DANET delegation and many fans visited the village of Borisovo. They were welcomed in an old Bulgarian tradition with bread, salt and honey. Children dressed in beautiful quaint national costumes, offered flowers to the guests. With warm words of welcome, the Mayor of Slivo Pole Municipality Mr. Georgi Golemanski and the President of the local Pensioner Union Mrs. Veska Uzunova, active project participant, expressed the gratitude and the desire of the local people from Slivo Pole Municipality to participate in many new DANET projects. A folk group of children, grandmothers and grandfathers played a performance of intergenerational learning which included many stories about local customs, songs and dances.
The guests and the local people visited three traditional Bulgarian houses in Borisovo and Ryahovo. The owner of one house has created a small cathedral, a house, many figures in the yard. The second house had a very beautiful garden. The Municipality group presented many famous country songs. The people enjoyed the folklore programme. The owner of the third house presented eco vegetables and fruit. The DANET members were welcomed everywhere with traditional bread, salt, bread, honey and other delicious foods. All people were happy to meet Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer.
Тhe Mayor of Slivo Pole Municipality Mr. Georgi Golemanski invited the guest from Germany, Ruse, and the people from 10 villages and the town of Slivo Pole to an official lunch on the Danube bank. Over 100 persons were served delicious fish dishes. Many folk groups sang and danced to the delight of all participants. Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer conferred prizes to the leaders of these groups. After the lunch, all participants received paper boats which have been made by the pensioners from Ruse. They wrote on the boat their wishes for peace and friendship to all people living along the Danube and arranged the boats along the improvised river of silk. After that, the boats set sail in the real River Danube to get to our new DANET friends.
The DANET DAY gave possibilities for informal conversations of Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer with the local people on the Danube bank. She wanted to know their needs and ideas for joint work and future projects.
On the 15th May 2015 the wonderful news arrived that for its exceptional results, the international project “The Wanted Danube” with coordinator Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer, had been awarded with the “European Citizen’s Prize 2015” of the European Parliament. The news was met with delight by the participants in the project from Slivo Pole Municipality, the town of Ruse, the University of Ruse and the Union of Pensioners-2004-Ruse.
Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer was basking in the love of the citizens of Slivo Pole Municipality.
After going back to Ruse, Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer met the members of the Soroptimist International with President Mrs. Milena Popova. They discussed the possibilities for future active cooperation.
After that, Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer was the official guest at the promotion and awarding the diplomas for competency in German (Schprahdiplom) to the best students from Deutche Schule, Ruse, hopefully a partner in future projects.
- DANET DAY in the town of Silistra
On the next day, 16th May, the DANET delegation and their partners from Ruse travelled to Silistra, where another bright DANET DAY was organized by the District Library of Silistra, a valued partner in the Wanted Danube project, and its representatives Mrs Neli Stoilova and Mrs. Krsimira Nyagolova.
The guests were welcomed by the Chairperson of the Municipal Council Mrs. Mariya Dimitrova, three members of the local parliament Mrs. Zlatka Radusheva, Mr. Georgi Baluchev and the Dean of the University of Ruse, Branch Silistra Assoc. Prof. Temenuzhka Bogdanova. Once again the intergenerational approach was demonstrated through the participation of old and young in the common activity of preparing symbolic ships with good wishes. Participants from schools, University, non-government organization and citizens of the town of Silistra built a long silk Danube river in front of the Gallery Centre with many big and small boats with wishes to all friends from the Danube countries. There were presented poems, songs and little ships of the town of Silistra. Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer gave certificates to the most prominent participating organizations and individuals representing the Association DANET in Silista.
The DANET delegation visited the Art gallery of the town and the local festival “Srebarna sings and laughs” in the village Srebarna. Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer greeted the participants and presented the Association DANET. A meeting with the Mayor of the village Srebarna took place. He gave official lunch in honour of the guests from Germany, Ruse and Silistra.
All together visited the very famous Natural Bird Reserve Museum of Srebarna.
The DANET delegation visited also the Orthodox Church “Saint Peter and Paul”, the Danube Park, the old ruins in the town of Silistra, dinner with the Chairperson of the Municipal Council Mrs. Mariya Dimitrova.
On 17th May, the DANET delegation started on its way to the new DANET friends in Moldova.
The main aims of the DANET DAY in Bulgaria were to present the aims, tasks and new initiatives of the International Association DANET. Thanks to the indefatigable spirit of Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer, the members of the DANET delegation, the hard work of the leadership of the University of Ruse, the Centre of Education of Third Age, the Union of Pesnioners’2004-Ruse and the District Library Silistra these objectives were achieved.
Mrs. Carmen Stadelhofer and the DANET Day in Bulgaria connected the Danube Strategy to the hearts of the Bulgarians.
Authors: Emiliya Velikova and Milena Popova