We are grateful that in 2017 we kept on achieving significant victories in relation to preserving human dignity and freedom, marriage and the family.
Here is a summary of what happened throughout 2017 and how are we going to remember it:
This year we coordinated and conducted the “Marriage Week” for a sixth consecutive year in Bulgaria. In the beginning of February, the news of a 30 percent rise in the number of marriages and 14 percent decline in divorces since the start of this initiative in 2012 was broadly reflected in the media.
Thousands of people were reached by the video interviews we conducted with people who are both successful in the business and have healthy families. The wonderful stories and photos we received on social media for the competition “Our ‘I DO’” which took place during the “Marriage Week” inspired hundreds of people.
As part of the initiative, the Association held up the first edition of the School for Successful Marriage, which received great feedback from the participants. Two national TV channels broadcasted TV coverage from the event venue.
We have prepared and published a practical Handbook aimed at helping married couples in resolving 30 of the most important challenges they are likely to face in their relationship, to be used at the School for Successful Marriage. In April we successfully conducted a second seminar, part of the School for Successful Marriage.
In June we participated in MW national coordinators’ meeting in Prague. There we met representatives of the initiative from more than 20 countries with whom we exchanged ideas, experience, and inspiration.
Since the beginning of the year the “Society and Values Association” remained active in gaining support for the coordination of the initiative “Mom, Dad, and Children” in Bulgaria. The main purpose of the initiative was to request an adoption of clear definitions of the terms marriage and family in accordance with the EU legislation. To further support the topic we took part in radio and TV interviews as well as contributed to both online and printed publications.
In 2016 the initiative met the first requirement aimed to collect the minimum number of signatures in seven countries. In Bulgaria over 15 000 people supported the initiative. However, due to incomplete or inaccurately completed personal details, part of the collected over 1 000 000 signatures in the EU were not counted as valid and, hence, the initiative did not meet the second requirement to collect over 1 million signatures of EU citizens. The initiative succeeded spreading awareness of what is happening in Europe among millions of people. The massive support signalled to those governing Europe that the European citizens will continue to protect marriage and the right of a mother and a father the child has.
One of our greatest victories throughout this past year is our success in stopping the intentions of the Ministry of Education to make kindergartens in Bulgaria mandatory in the form of compulsory pre-school education for the 4-year olds. This way we protected the constitutional right of parents to decide regarding the education of their children.
Hundreds of Bulgarians supported the petition. Together with roughly 50 other civil organizations we have sent an Open Letter to the Government. Thus our civic actions lead to change of the Government’s decision.
During the fall we conducted an online campaign, together with others, “NO to Halloween in the Bulgarian school! Yes to the Enlighteners!”. The online petition gathered over 2 700 signatures.
Exposing a number of facts and happenings in many schools lead to policy changes in some areas. The campaign received vast media interest and was supported by pediatrics, psychologists, therapists and pedagogues.
This year we were also the first to acknowledge the consequences of the ratification of the Istanbul Convention. Through educational materials on the subject, civil actions, online petition and an Open letter we sent, together with over 30 other civil organizations, we contributed towards ceasing the Convention. We will further follow the topic and will insist that Bulgaria abandons its ratification.
In November we had the opportunity to meet, in Brussels, representatives of other human rights organisations, engaged in the area of defending marriage and family, human dignity and freedom. This meeting helped us understand more about the dangerous consequences of the Istanbul Convention, which further benefitted towards the positive results of our actions so far.
In November we celebrated 10 years since the establishment of the “Society and Values Association” (which took place on June 7th this year) with a celebratory cocktail in the presence of members, volunteers, supporters, and guests of the Association. During the event many of the participants expressed their positive feedback and appreciation about the role of the Association for promotion and assertion of the family values in Bulgaria.
We are grateful that throughout 2017 we succeeded in carrying out our mission together – that is to reach, inform, educate, and activate as many people as we can and to promote and defend human dignity and freedom, marriage and family at national and European level, so we can see healthy families and societies.
In 2017 we expanded our influence and we reach now more than twice as many like-minded citizens. Our desire is to reach twice as many in 2018!
Your giving and support are of great importance to us in our fight against the Istanbul conventions, which will introduce the gender ideology and redefine marriage, which we are trying to prevent right now.
We hope that you are able to help us with a monthly or annual donation so we can continue to positively influence and contribute towards making our country a better place.
Thank you for supporting us in making Bulgaria a better place for all of us and our children!
The Society and Values Association Team