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IT village

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We have somehow got used to the fact that many young Bulgarians see their future through Terminal 2 of the Sofia Airport. That is why the news that some of those want to stay here, moreover, to settle in a village, is quite surprising. The unusual idea of 28-year-old Ivan Kukov for restoration of depopulated villages through the settling of IT experts there wowed media and social networks. The idea won a Facebook contest, named Buy a village, create a better place for living in Bulgaria.

The young IT expert claims that all this is doable. We are all aware of the fact that the depopulation of villages is caused mainly by the lack of jobs for young people. “Nowadays it is real for freelancers and people with distant jobs to go and settle into a village. No matter the place, the Internet connection is essential,” Ivan maintains. Nobody can argue on the advantages of the countryside: it is more peaceful, the air is pure, the food is tasty and people are smiling. More and more enthusiasts feel attracted to Ivan’s idea. The IT Village community in the Facebook has now nearly 3,400 fans.

“Most of them can work from a distance,” Ivan says on the enthusiasts. “There are journalists, translators and all kinds of occupations that are not necessarily to be linked to some particular space – an office downtown, 9 am – 6 pm. Besides that many people from abroad got in touch with us, ready to return here and to start their countryside life. We are not talking about young people only. There are doctors, teachers, a lady from England, who plans to return here in the summer.”

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About 50 of the keenest enthusiasts met in Varna and Sofia even before spreading the rumor on the idea and discussed the criteria that the right villages should meet.

“The relatively good infrastructure is the main thing, since any travels to towns and cities should be possible. Not too high in the mountain, where a snowfall could block you for three days. We are also talking on stable electricity and water supply network systems. We are aware that only bigger villages have sewerage systems, but local treatment plants are a solution that is getting cheaper every day…”

Ivan Kukov and his friends plan to visit the selected spots. No wonder they have already been flooded with offers from different people, who try to bring back to life villages across Bulgaria. These are settlements around the capital city, in the area of the mystic Rhodope Mountain, as well as in Northwest Bulgaria, the poorest region of the EU. Ivan says that the newcomers could combine their everyday PC occupation with some typical rural activity, such as beekeeping or gardening. At the same time their presence there could provide work for people with other occupations, such as teachers and doctors. Locals could mark profits too – a grandpa and a grandma could look after a small vegetable garden for 2 – 3 families and to get a payment, exceeding their pensions,” Ivan says. The young man has also found a solution with the entertainment side, which his coevals have got used to:

“If there are enough people in a village and they lack a cinema, one can be made out of a PC and a projector. Technologies nowadays make it all so easy. Different cultural or theatre performances can be arranged too, with expenses paid to amateur formations, for instance.”

English version: Zhivko Stanchev

Photos: courtesy to Ivan Kukov


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