Lack of basic education and interpersonal skills are a major barrier to young state care leavers finding employment but we believe that with help, training and support these young people will have a greatly improved chance of finding a job. Our partners, the Foundation for Social Change and Inclusion (FSCI), plan to develop social enterprises to both help vulnerable young people and provide sustainability for the House of Opportunity (HOP) and our other projects.
Hope Restaurant – Sofia
In October 2016 FSCI opened the first Hope Restaurant. The restaurant has a dual purpose:
- To provide training and employment for the young residents of the Sofia-based Houses of Opportunity. This allows FSCI not only to support the young people at home but also at the work place – where they often struggle with social situations and expectations they simply were not prepared for in the institutions where they grew up. In time a range of courses will be developed to help our young people attain qualifications that they can take into the world of catering, retail and customer service.
- To generate profit to help fund the HOPs
Sunrise Carwash – Burgas
In August 2016 Sunrise carwash was opened in the Bulgarian coastal city of Burgas. Staffed by young people from the Burgas HOP, this carwash will be a great place to learn basic business skills including customer service and marketing. An innovative profit-sharing scheme acts as an incentive for the young people employed at the carwash and with contracts secured to wash vehicles belonging to local companies, the team already have a good base on which to build the business.
In March 2012, FSCI started a soap-making project as part of the House of Opportunity Programme called ‘HOPe SOAP’. The project engages the HOP residents in a number of ways:
- Productive activity
- Providing a sense that their contribution matters
- Develops communication, relationship and personal skills
- Develops time management and basic business skills.
Soaps are sold to wedding parties, corporate events and through shops in Sofia. In February 2013 ‘HOPe Soap’ won first prize in a competition for best NGO business plan in Bulgaria.