Weaving a New Community

A trip to Ilindentsi, in the Struma Valley, at the foot of the Pirin Mountains in Bulgaria, to the Sofera initiative. A report from mid-October.

Sonja Zausch (left) at Sofera

I write these lines filled with the warm fall sun, ripe fruits, warm-hearted people, and powerful nature in the southern Bulgarian region near the Greek and Macedonian borders. The association Sofera was founded four years ago by parents, therapists, and educators. A place for social agriculture – with regular meetings of the Bulgarian Working Group on Biodynamics – is being set up, with adolescents and young adults in need of assistance. The name Sofera is as rich in content as the project idea: Social Farming, Sophia/Anthroposophy, and «Sofra,» the Bulgarian word for a low table where people gather for dinner. On the one hand, Sofera is located in an unusual place, at 450 meters in the mountains – creative people already live here. There is a sculpture park with studios of an important Bulgarian sculptor, overnight accommodation in beautiful mud houses, not far from the important Rila Monastery, which was visited by Ita Wegman, as well as hot springs, a modern church of a Bulgarian clairvoyant, and current excavation sites of the Thracians by the Archaeological Faculty of the Sofia University – a special climate and thus a rich biological diversity. On the other hand, social agriculture and building basic perspectives for people needing assistance is quite a new territory in Bulgaria. How to achieve a well-managed process of organizational development so that the needs of the founders and interested people connect with the project and it becomes a long-term contribution to agriculture and the social community in Bulgaria?

During my stay – which was supplemented by a workshop at the inclusive Waldorf School in Sofia, a radio interview at the Bulgarian Radio Station, and a small eurythmy workshop on social processes – I tried not to give answers and suggestions, but first and foremost to understand the inner attitude in the encounter with people and to enter into a compassionate dialogue. An exciting path… If someone has the enthusiasm and expertise to accompany these steps and/or to work on-site, we would appreciate it.

More Sofera
Source Anthroposophic Council for Inclusive Social Development

Image View of the grounds, Sofera.

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