Throughout this past year we chose to concentrate our efforts mainly in two exciting initiatives for encouragement and support of the marriage and family.
The first one is the “Marriage Week”, which takes place in Bulgaria for five consecutive years, from 7thto 14thFebruary. The “Society and Values Association” is, hence, the originator and coordinator of this initiative for Bulgaria.
Thanks to the active participation of friends and supporters of the “Society and Values Association”, the “Week of Marriage” was also backed upby respected in our society individuals and married couples (see more here: goo.gl/Oa8ICL). We conducted video interviews with these people where they shared personal examples and messages and thus we managed to reach and inspire tens of thousands of people.
The “Marriage Week” was also supported by the mayor of Sofia city – Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova. Various organisations also participated in the “Marriage Week” by organising a number of events such as seminars, concerts, celebrations, etc. The “Society and Values Association” conducted a family seminar and actively participated in the media and other on-goings, reflecting the event.
Even more encouraging is the statistics* gathered since the introduction of the “Marriage Week” in Bulgaria in 2012. The number of marriages is rising up with every year. In 2014 and 2015 the number of marriages is over 10% higher than the year before. Thus, in 2014, Bulgaria climbed 9 positions up in number of marriages per capita compared to 2013 when we were in the last place in Europe**. The rate of divorces in Bulgaria is also shrinking, even though a bit slower.
On February 11, 2017 we plan to start a School for Successful Marriage, with the main purpose of helping existing and future married couples to build skills for a happy and lasting marriage and thus benefitting towards a lower divorce rate. You can follow this event from here: goo.gl/R9I0cn Couples can take part in the competition “Our Yes” as well as subscribe for the “Daily Challenges of the Week”.
Another important event the “Society and Values Association” decided to voluntarily coordinate in Bulgaria this year is the European Citizens’ Initiative “Mom, Dad, and Children”. Its main purpose is to request protection of the marriage and children by the European Commission via adopting clear definitions of the terms “marriage” and “family” in accordance with the EU legislation. We conducted a number of meetings and discussions and also participated in different events where we presented the initiative. We further took part in the collection of signatures, talking with the media, and giving interviews for this same purpose. The “Society and Values Association” also created a video and posters to promote “Mom, Dad, and Kids” in Bulgaria.
The initiative was backed by civil organisations and supporters and received the blessing of the Bulgarian patriarch and the Holy Synod. Thanks to the active participation of Protestant churches and Catholic temples and monasteries in Sofia and the rest of the country, the campaign collected over 5,000 signatures on paper and continues to gain support. Until now, Bulgaria has collected over 7,800 signatures both online and on paper. We will continue to contribute to the success of the initiative during the few months left until its end on April 3, 2017, so that the minimum of one million valid signatures is collected.
As an association, we organised and took part in other important for the marriage and family meetings not only in Bulgaria but in Europe as well.
We frequently informed our supporters, and the public, through the media for important developments and news in the field of marriage and family, human dignity and freedom.
We believe in the importance of what we are doing and are motivated to continue our work despite the difficulties we face. The children – the future of Bulgaria and Europe deserve the best and healthy marriages are the foundation and key factor for the prosperity of any society and culture.
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*Marriages concluded in Bulgaria for the period 2012-2015.
- 2011 – 21,448
- 2012 – 21,167
- 2013 – 21,934
- 2014 – 24,596
- 2015 – 27,720
**Divorces in Bulgaria for the period 2012-2015.
- 2011 – 10,581
- 2012 – 11,947
- 2013 – 10,908
- 2014 – 10,584
- 2015 – 10,483
Data from: www.infostat.nsi.bg
** The conducted marriages per person (1000 people) in Europe. per country in Europe. Source: Eurostat