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Kostinbrod, Bulgaria

June 7, 2014 to June 14, 2014

If you are tired of being an ordinary tourist and really want to experience a country from the inside out, this trip is for you!

We will be building housing for local people in the city of Kostinbrod. As we get to know the homeowners and work alongside them you will get a chance to really experience their culture. This trip will allow you to delve deeply into beautiful Bulgaria and you can leave feeling that you have helped change someone else’s life as much as they have changed yours. No experience is necessary.

About Bulgaria
Bulgaria, officially the Republic of Bulgaria, is a country located in the heart of the Balkans. Bulgaria offers a highly diverse landscape. The north is dominated by the vast lowlands of the Danube and the south by the highlands and elevated plains. In the east, the Black Sea coast attracts tourists all year round. Its location has made it a historical crossroad for various civilisations and as such it is the home of some of the earliest metalworking, religious and other cultural artifacts in the world. Founded in 681, Bulgaria is one of the oldest states in Europe. Its history is marked by its location near Europe’s frontier with Asia. Some 85 percent of the population are Orthodox Christians and 13 percent are Muslims. Around 10 percent of the population are of Turkish origin while 3 percent are Roma. Similarly, its traditional dishes are a mixture of east and west. The most famous Bulgarian food must be yoghurt, with its reputed giſt of longevity for those who consume it regularly. Bulgaria’s main exports are light industrial products, foods and wines, which are successfully competing on European markets. Famous Bulgarians include philosopher Julia Kristeva, Elias Canetti, Nobel Prize winner for literature in 1981, and Christo Javachev (“Christo”), the creator of many unorthodox outdoor sculptures.

About Kostinbrod
Kostinbrod is a town in western Bulgaria located 15 km west of the capital city of Sofia. It is located on two important transport corridors: Lom to Sofia to Thessaloniki and Sofia to Belgrade. The international railway line to Western Europe passes through the municipality, with a train stop at Kostinbrod Station. Kostinbrod is the seat of Kostinbrod municipality, part of Sofia Province. It has an area of 62.2 sq. km and a population of 16,278. The municipality includes 14 localities. It is crossed by two rivers, the Blato in the north and the Belitsa in the south, both tributaries of the Iskar River.

According to the legends, the town was founded by a certain Kosta, who settled near the crossing of the Belitsa, thus giving the name to the town (Kostinbrod means “Kosta’s ford”). There he opened a pub that became popular among the merchants arriving in the capital, some of them settling and organizing a village. The center of the town is now located west of the road between Sofia and Lom. Historically, an early reference to the can be found in Tsar Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria’s Oryahov Charter of December 1, 1348. The economy of Kostinbrod was largely based on poultry farming and stock breeding during the Communist period. A number of factories, including a 120,000 sq. m Coca-Cola factory, have emerged in democratic times due to the town’s favorable position and the liberal zoning policy of the municipality. Kostinbrod is also famous for the mineral waters in the area. Thermae were built in the Izvoro country in Roman times.

About Habitat for Humanity Bulgaria
During the communist times, the government provided loans for families to buy low-income housing in poor-quality prefabs. Once a market economy took hold, the responsibility for housing fell on the local authorities, who have no resources to deal with the problem. As a result, more and more homes need major repairs while many homeowners cannot afford even basic maintenance of their flats. Despite the new initiatives for making public space more accessible, most of the homes of people with disabilities do not meet their special needs. At the same time, over the past 20 years, rural areas experienced a major loss of employment, income and services. Habitat Bulgaria provides a wide range of services and products designed to meet particular housing needs. The organization employs construction products and services, including new builds, micro-finance products for home improvements, incremental repairs and energy saving improvements, advocacy efforts and participation in the policy-making in regard to housing.

Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may work on new homes, condominium building renovations and home improvements.

Standard itinerary
(8-day itinerary)

Day 1 (typically Saturday): Depart for Bulgaria.
Day 2 (Sunday): Arrive in Sofia, Bulgaria; welcome and orientation with Habitat host program staff member; dinner.
Days 3–7 Work days (Monday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner in local restaurants; team activities.
Day 8 (Saturday): Departure day.

Note: Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences with host program staff, such as market tours, museum visits, walking tours, etc. Farewell dinner on Day 7.

Accommodations
Hotels are simple and basic, and typically located near the project site. The team will stay in double-occupancy rooms with a private bathroom. All facilities are screened by HFH staff to ensure that they are safe, clean and well-maintained.

Program cost
US$1,820
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)

Build a better world: Take the Global Village Challenge
Habitat for Humanity International is challenging Global Village volunteers to make an even greater impact on the global issue of poverty housing. We are asking all GV teams to help us raise an additional $1.1 million in the coming year to support Habitat’s building projects worldwide. Take up the challenge! Join us in sharing our story and building a better world!

Team leader
Irene Fabig has been travelling her whole life and GV trips are her favorite type of travel because she gets to combine her two favorite things – going on a journey and making the world a better place. Irene’s family is from Bulgaria, so she is very excited to be leading a team there and supporting Habitat in the country. This will be the second GV trip that Irene has led, and the fifth on which she has participated. For more information about this build, contact Irene at irenefabig@gmail.com.


To apply for a GV trip, please follow the Application Instructions.

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