Young people in a Bulgarian village take care of its transformation. The innovative approach has been demonstrated by its Mayor Yonko Dimitrov – a young man himself. I met him while the latter was repairing the stage lights of the local community center in preparation for a night of poetry. The event was a part of the program of Dolna Malina Open Fest’s second edition.
“The festival was born after a series of other events,” Yonko Yordanov explains. “Under a youth initiative we built up a beach volleyball playground and we unveiled it with a tournament, attended by people from all over Bulgaria. I found it very curious to understand how and why these people would come to Dolna Malina. It turned out that there were few places in Bulgaria where they could train or compete. Then we had this multi-sports tournament. As I am an actor myself the idea to include an artistic part with theatre, music and movies was born too.”
This year the Dolna Malina Open Fest spans four weekends, each of them with a different accent. Two days devoted to folklore are forthcoming:
“We envisaged nearly 1,000 participants in the folklore & lifestyle art part. Last year we had some 1,200 participants through the different arts in the course of three days, while this year we have a festival that spans a whole month and we expect over 3,000 participants from across Bulgaria, while the number of the guests will be double. There will be an exhibition of folklore clothing and organic production. We are situated close to Sofia in a wonderful village with clean air and great nature. Everybody is welcome to our festival.”
“After graduating from the National Academy for Film and Theatre Art /NAFTA/ I travelled across Europe. I graduated as a producer and director in London. I had already settled in and things had started to happen – advertisements, short movies shot etc. Then I had to return here to support my family and I stayed. A friend prompted that I could try my luck at the forthcoming mayor’s elections, but I never believed that anyone would vote for me – I had a different picture in my head on how these things happen. However, I gave it a try with the election campaign – went there, spoke and shared my vision on the future. I have lived 25 years downtown Sofia, but while touring around the world I realized that such big cities had started to expand and gradually to approach the small periphery settlements. Dolna Malina is 28 km away from Sofia’s center. I don’t find it hard to commute, even on a daily basis, so I became a mayor as a joke and have been on this position for two and a half years now.”
One of the major challenges that Yonko has been coping successfully with is separation: “We try to unify, as this is the only way to build up and create new things,” the young man says. “Many people participated in the establishment of a mini-circus, a youth club, a sand court, a pavilion with a playground… We can’t do anything without the local population, as there is not enough money. Whenever we find some funding work hand is needed, as one of the women here says.” That was how the Dolna Malina Open Festcame to life.
English version: Zhivko StanchevPhotos: courtesy of Yonko Dimitrov
"Together Against Violence in Schools" is the first major initiative in the new 5-year cooperation program (2018-2022) between UNICEF and the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science. Representative of UNICEF for Bulgaria for the period is..
Clashes and tear gas in Athens during protests against Prespa Agreement Thousands of Greek citizens said No again to the name Northern Macedonia at a protest in Athens. According to the Greek Police, nearly 100,000 people took part at the..
New rules for selling imitating milk products entered in force, January 14. Such products should be arranged in separate stands; the word MILK should not be present on their label, but it should clearly state that the product imitates..