TIE cb cmyk en-01Project: 'Bon Appétit! Teaching life skills to young people with intellectual difficulties'

Objective of the project:

People with intellectual difficulties form one of the most excluded groups as their access to education, vocational training and employment is extremely difficult. For these people to be successful in the labour market, they need continuing training and support which; however, are not provided by mainstream education and social services systems.

The project addresses these needs particularly of young people with intellectual difficulties by offering them opportunities to pursue, in real-life working environments, vocational training and acquire skills for the preparation of, and attendance to, various events. 

People with intellectual difficulties will benefit from the project by improving both their skills and opportunities of finding salaried jobs in the area of catering services or in the social enterprise of Maria's World Foundation. Giving the young people in this group an opportunity to earn income of their own will help ensure they can have normal lives and become more socially involved.

Key outcomes:

1. Train 10–15 young people with intellectual difficulties set up and attend to coffee breaks. Trainees will receive certificates confirming the skills acquired and will receive support in finding paid jobs by MWF's job coaching programme.
2. Establish sustainable relations with the NGO House and with the Social Innovation Hub. Create an on-the-job platform for training in event-attendance skills.
3. Promote the work and abilities of young people with intellectual difficulties in order to address stereotypes and change public attitudes.

Financing organisation: TELUS International Europe

Duration of the project: July 2017–April 2018

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Project: 'Catering services provided by people with intellectual difficulties'

The overall objective of the project is to promote the sustainable development of the catering services which Maria's World Foundation provides through its Sheltered Café 'Worlds'. In particular, the project will open additional opportunities for supported employment to young people with intellectual difficulties.

Maria's World Foundation's Business plan for the development of a Sheltered Café and catering services is among the best five business plans approved in the framework of 'Entrepreneurship for non-profit organisations 2017', a programme organised by the Bulgarian Centre for Not-For-Profit Law and supported by America for Bulgaria Foundation and by UniCredit Foundation.

The Sheltered Café is the first of its kind in Sofia. Staffed by appropriately trained and skilled clients of the Day Care Centre, the Café offers a relaxed ambience, house-made food and excellent service. The Café also operates beyond its own ground by providing catering services for various occasions and events.

This project is driven exactly by the immense demand for and the great potential of catering services. The project will make this activity sustainable and will help expand our capacity by covering the wage costs for a second professional chef. The new chef will also function as an occupational therapist and participate in each phase of the process – from preparing the food to the hands-on performance of each catering assignment in the field.

Financing organisation: Programme 'Entrepreneurship for non-profit organisations' organised by the Bulgarian Centre for Not-For-Profit Law with the support of America for Bulgaria Foundation and by UniCredit Foundation.

mwf logo 1Project: 'People with intellectual difficulties experience the culture of France'

Objective of the project:

Because of their very reticent way of living, people with intellectual difficulties are often unable to benefit from ordinary events and activities at which attendees learn more about foreign cultures and traditions.

The project will organize three thematic events at the Day Care Centre 'Worlds'. These events will introduce various aspects of La Culture Française to people with intellectual difficulties, their loved ones and citizens from the community.

The project will enable people with intellectual difficulties obtain insights of French culture in an accessible way, including by joining events organized by connoisseurs of French culture in the community, thus promoting their integration.


1) Rendezvous with French cuisine: traditional French meals and desserts will be cooked in the professionally equipped kitchen of the Day Care Centre and then offered for a degustation session combined with a presentation of French culture and traditions.

2) Rendezvous with French music: presentations of classic and modern French music.

3) Rendezvous with French cinema: this includes a show of one French film, accessible to the target group of the project in terms of content and presentation, followed by a discussion accustomed to their perception level.

Financing organization: La FONDATION DU GROUPE UP.
The project is implemented with the kind support of the Embassy of France in Bulgaria and Institut Français de Bulgarie.

mwf logo 1Project: 'Improved social work to support people with intellectual difficulties'

Objective of the project:

The objective of the project is to strengthen the capacity of the Worlds Day Care Centre team by consultations and supervision aimed at improving their skills for individual and group interaction with due regard to our clients' mental functioning and communication specificities.

The team will also receive support in working with the parents and wider families of the clients of the Day Care Centre by means of consultations dedicated to the specific issues of sexuality and independence.

The project will develop an easily understandable description of workflows in each atelier at the Centre and of the flagship programmes conducted by the Centre.


1. Consultations and supervision for the Worlds Day Care Centre.

2. Cultural programme for the clients of the Day Care Centre in the framework of the team supervision activity (visits to prominent cultural sites and other entertainments).

3. Development of easily understandable working materials relating to the ateliers and programmes managed by the Day Care Centre.

4. Consultations on the formulation of a policy and a programme related to the intimate relationships of Day Care Centre clients and thematic meetings with parents in the framework of the School for Parents initiative.

Financing organisation: BCause Foundation

Duration of the project: from January 2017 until December 2017.

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Project: 'Living as if in a movie'


'Movies touch our hearts, and awaken our vision and change the way we see things. They open doors and minds', says Martin Scorsese ('Films Can Help Change the World', the Huffington Post, 2013).

Films and the issues they raise have an impact on society's bearings, drive mindsets and interpretations, and facilitate emotional compassion.

The objective of this project is to use cinema as an involving and entertaining vehicle in order to raise the issue of understanding and embracing people with intellectual difficulties.
By sharing several thematic cycles, the project aims to make the art of cinema more accessible by people with intellectual difficulties and help address the stigma which stands as a barrier to their social inclusion.


1. Thematic cycle 'Living as if in a movie'
This activity will feature three popular Bulgarian films and foreign documentaries dedicated to the life of people with intellectual difficulties.
Each show will be followed by a discussion among people with intellectual difficulties, spectators and celebrities such as film director Stoyan Radev, TV host and actress Maria Silvester and actress Theodora Duhovnikova.

2. 'Easy to understand' cinema shows
To ensure the full participation of people with intellectual difficulties in these discussions, ahead of the 'Living as if in a movie' cycle the project will organise three 'Easy to understand' cinema shows built around a model which takes due account of their understanding level. Each film show will be followed by a discussion to support understanding.

3. Promotion and free access to the film shows
All 'Living as if in a movie' film shows and discussions will be widely promoted. The focus of the campaign is to make these events recognisable and attractive, highlight their importance and incite broad interest.
Access to the film shows will be free.

Financing organisation: Culture Programme of Sofia Municipality

Duration of the project: from 1 March 2017 until 30 November 2017

EU flag-Erasmus vect POSProject: 'Development and implementation of a programme to improve the quality of training in occupational and social skills for adults with intellectual difficulties'

The project is aimed at improving the quality of training in occupational and social skills for independent life of adults with intellectual difficulties at the Worlds Day Care Centre.

The target audience of the project will be the full-time employees and collaborators of the Day Care Centre. The participants will also take part in three working visits for exchanging experiences with partners having long-established practices in supporting people with intellectual difficulties in Ireland, Romania and Norway or France.

The participants will benefit from the project by enhancing their knowledge on how to organise the various activities and ateliers at the Day Care Centre, by strengthening their competences to conduct occupational sessions/practices, promote working mentorship and develop social entrepreneurship activities, and by mastering new methods and approaches for addressing the needs of people with intellectual difficulties.

The envisaged wide dissemination of information about the project and the implementation of good practices will contribute to the promotion of European principles and values in respect of people with intellectual difficulties and to the development of a professional community capable of working in the context of the new paradigm, which is based on the rights of disabled people and on their perception as gifted individuals capable of being active participants in society.

Financing organisation: Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

Duration of the project: from 1 November 2016 until 30 April 2018

mwf logo

Project: 'Societies- Support of CSOs in empowering technical skills, inclusion of people with disabilities and EU standards in South-East Europe'


Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albanian Association for Psychotherapy, CoDe Albania COHERENT DEVELOPMENT ALBANIA, Association for mutual assistance in mental distress TK "Fenix", Association supporting persons with developmental disabilities "Our house", Bulgarian Center For Not-For-Profit Law, Caritas Albania, Caritas Bulgaria, Caritas Italiana, Caritas Kosovo, Caritas Montenegro, Caritas Serbia, Handikos, Kosovar Centre for Self-Help (KCSH), Maria's World Foundation, Paraplegic Association Bar, Psicologi per i Popoli nel Mondo.

Project objective: to improve the capacities of CSOs in South East Europe (SEE) in managing social inclusion processes and in promoting social inclusion policies, through an efficient dialogue with Public Authorities during the decision-making processes.

Maria's World Foundation will participate in the project as a partner in trainings, workshops and conferences aimed at achieving the specific objective: Strengthening the CSOs' skills in promoting the social inclusion of people with disabilities and mental disorders: capacity building, exchange of knowledge, regional networking, managing of social inclusion initiatives and services, monitoring and evaluating of the social impact.

Donor: European Union

Project period: January 2016 – December 2019

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