Let's build together a community providing the best conditions for biodiversity, social unity and personal growth! in Zhelen, Bulgaria



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 Min stay requested: at least 2 weeks

  • Description


    Try an adventure that is good for your health!
    Our project is a home for entire transformation focused on biodiversity and development of personality.
    Since the year 2005, our association exists as an active part of a newborn community. We are in Zhelen village, west Balkan Mountains, 50 km. north of Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. This village is widely occupying the southwest slope of the gorge of Iskar River, between 400 and 1400 meters of altitude. The nearest city is 7 kilometers from us - Svoge with 10 000 inhabitants. We have the pleasure to live surrounded by beautiful mountains and forests and share them with lots of wild animals, some local people and summer houses owners. During the last 10 years, about 15 different projects joined, based on nature-friendly agriculture, non-violence existing and for some of us - vegetarianism. We build on the main principles of autonomy of each family unity and mutual help, or as a minimum - nonviolence of any type. Often 2-3 different projects are near each other, forming a cluster, or for some: 3-4 kilometers from each other and the nearest clusters.

    Our project represents one of these mutual helping unities. At the moment we are Barbara (Austria) and Filip (Bulgaria) as holders of the place, David (Switzerland) and Sebastian (Switzerland) as a mid-therm training volunteers. Short and mid-term trainee and volunteers from all around Europe are often present on the site and the many friends who pass to give a hand all the time. In the last years, we have up to 200 volunteers and 300 visitors per year. We dispose of 30 000 square meters of land, representing south slopes, mostly with a poor and dry soil. We are restoring the soil by creating micro-reliefs retaining the rain and snow water, planting leguminous and grain herbs to enrich the soil and attract birds, planting leguminous, rustic and useful trees to provide shade. We are forming different zones in the aim to enhance biodiversity and a healthy and fruitful environment. The aim is to create the perfect environment to live and grow your body and soul, organize different gatherings, training, pedagogical actions, or just relax.

    We wake up early, then we do different practices for the body and spirit. We take a breakfast together, after what we organize the day and share the tasks. We eat vegetarian, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and simple cooked meals from cereals and leguminous. Some easy to digest milk products and eggs as well. We work before lunch and the rest of the day we enjoy free and creative time. We go to bed early. The people we are looking for are clean, positive, hard workers and very flexible. Here the planning is quite intensive and can change during the day.

    Here we study and practice the integral lifestyle approach, so please read the following frame describing the lifestyle in our place:

    You can stay with us after receiving instructions and registering, upon which you sign a declaration that you will follow the rules listed below:

    1. Peaceful constructive cooperation is very important to us. We do not tolerate any disruptions to it, e.g. through aggressive words and deeds, disrespectful attitude, making noise at an inappropriate time, among other things.

    2. Maintaining the general daily routine and consuming foods from the recommended product range is desirable throughout the stay. In certain circumstances we tolerate the consumption of other types of products but we ask for this to happen outside the communal meals, without cooking it.

    3. We do not accept the propagation of views which counterpose people on the basis of their worldviews, ethnicity, gender or political stance. Similarly, we have low tolerance for aggressive advertising of commercial goods or paid services.

    4. The healthy rest and training practices are negatively influenced by people under the influence of psychoactive substances. For this reason we do not welcome people who are addicted to such substances.

    5. We cannot welcome underage people without a grown-up accompanying them unless as a part of an organized group, in which case we will need statements of consent from a parent or a legal guardian.

    6. At this stage we cannot welcome people who have serious health problems with a high risk of dangerous complications.

    7. Cooking in the sleeping premises is not allowed.

    General daily routine:

    • Morning: waking up at a particular hour, depending on the season (compulsory within the training programme), healthy practices (with individualized elements), participating in the preparation of breakfast;

    • Prenoon: basic lecture (as a part of the training programme and desirable within the vacation programme), health-related and/or educational practices, preferably outdoor, participating in the preparation of lunch (for some people at the training programme);

    • Lunch and rest (the latter taking place at variable times within the vacation and training programmes);

    • Afternoon: for the vacation programme - free time; for the training programme - theoretical and/or practical courses, participating in the preparation of dinner (for some people at the training programme);

    • Dinner, rest, cultural and creative activities - open to whoever wants to join;

    • Going to sleep - there is an evening hour (the precise time depends on the season) after which going to sleep is recommended, and maintaining silence is compulsory.

    Recommended product range:

    1. Fruit - fresh, dry, and limited - processed;

    2. Vegetables - raw and cooked without frying;

    3. Cereals (mostly whole-grain) with a predominance of gluten-free cultures;

    4. Legumes - green and ripe, also fermented;

    5. Raw nuts, seeds and vegetable oils, the latter in limited amounts;

    6. Additional plant product: herbs and spices (excluding the spiciest ones), sprouts, seaweeds, brewer's yeast, etc.;

    7. Bee products - honey, pollen, wax, propolis, royal jelly;

    8. Biological dairy products with a predominance of the easily digestible ones – yoghurt, cottage cheese and others;

    9. Biological eggs, the egg whites in limited amounts;

    10. Food supplements - herbs (in different forms), minerals (including some cooking salt and potassium salt), vitamins, etc, depending on an expert judgment;

    11. Sprouted and fermented foods.

    The WORKAWAY VOLUNTEERS are free of charge.

    In exchange of their work we provide them free time, integral theory course and practical activities in the main directions which are:

    • Approaches and dimensions in the integrated system;
    • Natural medicine and prevention;
    • Ecology and ecological agriculture;
    • Psychology and pedagogy;
    • Economics;
    • Informatics;
    • Languages;
    • Arts;
    • Some others...

    This leads to fruitful self-development !

    The volunteer program includes living in accordance with THE RULES AND THE DAILY ROUTINE while contributing to the maintenance and development of the facilities.

    The minimal period for volunteering is two week.
    It requires a considerable level of responsibility and the input of volunteer labor.

    As WORKAWAY volunteer you can stay with us up to three months.

    During this period you may join the training program in your free time or switch to other programs at any moment.

    The WORKAWAY volunteers are following a special program.
    It is called
    (The activities with *️️️️️️️️ are compulsory!)

    *️️️️️️️️ 07.30 h. Ranging, cleaning, breakfast making;

    · 08.00 h. First breakfast (in silence if possible);

    *️️️️️️️️ 08.30 h. Morning meeting and organization;

    *️️️️️️️️ 09.00 h. Working for the project;

    · 11.00 h. Second breakfast (in silence if possible);

    *️️️️️️️️ 11.30 h. Working for the project;

    *️️️️️️️️ 12.30 h. Keep working for the project / Preparing lunch;

    · 14.30 h. Lunch (in silence if possible);

    · Free time;

    · 18.30 h. Evening meeting – feedbacks and organization;

    · 19.00 h. Free time, music, cultural exchange,;

    · 21.30 h. Internet is off…

    *️️️️️️️️ 22.00 h. It is advised to sleep, as a minimum we keep silence.

    We have one day off per week
    and one week off every two months / 42 days per year.

    The WORKAWAY VOLUNTEERS are free of charge.

    Let's build together a community providing the best conditions for biodiversity, social unity and personal growth!

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Cooking / shopping
    General Maintenance
    Help with Eco project
    Help in the house
    Helping with Tourists
    Charity work
    Art project
    Help with Computers / internet

  • Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    Cultural exchange and learning opportunities

    The main goal of our project is to spread the Integral approach to enhance biodiversity, development of personality and social unity.
    By living together we can implement primordial techniques and skills in the main areas of the Integral approach: healthy food preparing and eating, balanced daily life regime, practical exercises for well-being of the body and soul, natural medicine and prevention, creation of natural foods and products, social psychology, moral values system, eco-friendly economy.
    An important space is given to the rehabilitation of the land and biodiversity: creating living soil, combat the erosion, establish a vegetal cover of endemic and useful plants, creating habitats for endemic animal species, management of the forest as a renewable source of energy and matter, reduce, reuse and recycle the wastes.
    We also dance the Panheurhythmy dance and present main ideas of a lifestyle based on the teachings of Beinsa Douno from Bulgaria.
    A dozen different eco-friendly and spiritual projects are growing in our village - you are welcome to meet these people and discover their lifestyle as well!
    Through our place are passing many people from different ages and cultures -Local, European and World wide.

  • Help


    During this summer, we need help with:
    Restoring an old well and improve the space around it;
    Restoring some old buildings from clay and wood, and general ranging of stuff;
    Building 2 compost toilets, phytodepuration systems for gray and black waters from one of the houses and 2 summer showers;
    Preparing a green house garden with raised beds following the methods of Nikolay Kurdyumov;
    We need some responsible persons to get familiar here and then hold the place during the month of August when we are not present;
    In the autumn, beginning from September - landscaping and gardening: Zepp Holzer's permaculture planting of trees, shrubs, leguminosae and graminae.

  • Languages spoken

    Languages spoken

    English, French, German, Bulgarian, some Russian and Spanish

  • Accommodation


    During the warm season we provide an accommodation in to a caravan, beautiful tee-pee, or tents with outdoor shower and toilet. Everybody is invited to bring his own sleeping bag, rain protection, working clothes, and headlamp.
    We dispose of comfortable indoor kitchen and bathroom with hot water.
    We are particularly attentive to the food we offer - our cuisine is entirely based on the principles of healthy eating!
    "Let the food be your medicine and the medicine be your food."
    These words from the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates are applied in the choice and preparation of our dishes.
    Our cooks have gone through a special training in the cuisine of M. D. Dimitar Pashkulev.
    It is a vegetarian, predominantly plant-based, low-fat diet rich in minerals, vitamins and easily digestible raw and sparingly cooked foods.
    It is an abundance of fruit and vegetable salads and shakes (snacks) with superfoods, cooked and roasted cereal and vegetable dishes with sprouts, delicious sauces with herbal spices and more.
    Besides tasting it, you can understand the subtleties of its preparation!
    Some food complements from main importance are offered - Mg, K, Zn, vit. B12, A, D and others.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    The project is aimed at wholesome transformation of personality through positive development of all three dimensions of the integral approach:

    • Elevate and stabilize the level of consciousness;

    • Balance the character;

    • Deepening the main competences.

    Combining training and vacation this programme is dedicated to learning from each other as well as from the nature.
    You join a balanced life rhythm which includes various practices for the body and soul, healthy food, walks in nature, individual and cooperative creativity, as well as physical and mental labor dedicated to biodiversity and social unity.

    Unlike the chaotic diving in the ocean of information, we are harmoniously moving into Integral approach by Ken Wilber, m.d. Dimitar Pashkulev and other specialists.

    We improve our manifestations and achievements, acquiring fundamental knowledge in the main directions which are:

    • Approaches and dimensions in the integrated system;

    • Natural medicine and prevention;

    • Ecology and ecological agriculture;

    • Psychology and pedagogy;

    • Economics;

    • Informatics;

    • Languages;

    • Arts;

    • Some others...

    This leads to fruitful self-development !

    Our sustainable homes and gardens in the village of Zhelen offer the necessary environment for integral development of the body, mind and personality. We are looking forward to make you experience this fabulous adventure!

    What is the Integral approach?

    • A beautiful synthesis between the world's wisdom and applied sciences;

    • An understanding of the unity and differences in nature, humans and society;

    • A system for harmonizing one's health, relationships and life goals;

    • Respect for individual characteristics and talents.

    What does the Integral Approach have to offer?

    • Gaining insight into a new level of the “puzzle” of life;

    • The necessary methods and means for succeeding in important spheres of life;

    • Overcoming the inertia of every-day life through an exciting journey inside oneself;

    • The secrets to harmonious communication as well as sharing knowledge, attitudes and experience in an interesting fashion;

    • Developing skills and learning techniques for the body and mind, healthy nutrition, herbal remedies and ecological culture.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?

    More than two

  • ...

    Hours expected

    5 hours a day, 5 days a week

Host ref number: 387239723592