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A European project with Bulgarian participation helps young mothers who have left school to return and complete their education.

The problem of young mothers who drop out of education is a problem on a large scale in Europe. These girls are at greater risk of social exclusion, especially when they leave school early or do not complete their vocational education.

According to NSI data from a total of 63 955 live births in Bulgaria in 2017, 6 038 are from mothers under the age of 20 (no information how many of them do not have completed their education).

When trying to enter the labor market, these mothers struggle not only with the challenge of combining childcare with work but also with the limited opportunities for low-skilled, low-income jobs to which they are only given access. The risks for them to live in poverty and social exclusion are very high.

The BYMBE Project "Returning Young Mothers to Education" focuses on developing support measures for young mothers who are NEET (Not in Education, Employment and Training). They need help to return to their education or receive vocational training that will improve their standard of living and access to the labor market by ensuring a better future for them and their family. Organizations from 6 countries - Austria, Bulgaria, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Lithuania partner in the implementation of the project. Their aim is to create training tools to support the work of social workers, teachers and trainers in their work with young mothers aged 15-25. Specially created tools will help mothers decide to return and complete their education or training. This will improve their opportunities for better paid work and ensure a better life for them and their family.

The first tool of the project - BYMBE ORIENTATION PACK - is now ready. It can be downloaded here and used for free. In the partner countries, a campaign started: Join BYMBE. It aims to engage all stakeholders who can successfully disseminate the BYMBE message that everyone has the right to complete their education.

More than 20 social workers from 4 non-governmental organizations and state institutions working in the cities of Vidin, Dupnitsa, Plovdiv, Ruse, Sofia and Stara Zagora have been trained in Bulgaria. They have already successfully used the first tool of the BYMBE project - the Orientation Package, which is based on the Austrian SymfoS method and includes practical group work exercises to find the most suitable job path.

As Zvezditza Peneva-Kovacheva shares, "Social workers and trainers are interested in applying these tools in their group programs for teenagers as well as in positive parenting programs. In this way, the BYMBE tools will, besides being applied to direct work with young mothers who have not completed their education, develop and adapt to the practice of other social workers and psychologists with children, teenagers and parents within social services. Zvezditza is Program Director "Training" at the Institute for Social Activities and Practices (SAPI). She participates in the project as a trainer of the social workers and provides methodological support to the trained social workers in the realization of the activities with the target group. The participation of the SAPI ( as a partner in the implementation of the activities in Bulgaria enriches the experience of the team in support of the specific target group with which the project works.

The project will also contribute to the development of the potential of young mothers to change their lives and their children's lives, but will also offer opportunities to explore and validate good practice in social work.

For more information, you can contact Valia Dankova,


The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of
the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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