Join our community and experience a fabulous adventure of knowledge, skills, and attitudes!
Our project is focused on biodiversity, social unity and personal growth. We are between 4 and 10 persons at home and there are about 10 other eco projects in the village.
We happily invite you to live and grow together in this wild area of the Balkan mountains! To master and be the host and gardener of our place for a moment while some of us are consulting other projects abroad!
The minimal period for WORKAWAY volunteering is 40 DAYS.
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 10 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 15 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, positive and constructive exchange or as a minimum - nonviolence of any type. Often 2-3 different projects are near each other, forming a cluster on 3-4 kilometers from the nearest clusters.
Our space represents one of these mutual helping unities. At the moment we are Barbara (Austria), Filip (Bulgaria) and Dimitar (Bulgaria) as permanent holders of the place. M.D. Dimitar Pashkulev is our mentor and is regularly present as well. Short and mid-term trainee and volunteers from all around the world are often present on the site because we provide integral lifestyle courses. Many friends are passing to relax and give a hand as well. In the last years, we have up to 100 volunteers and 300 visitors per year.
We dispose of 100 000 square meters of land, representing south slopes, mostly with a poor and dry soil. We are restoring the ecosystem by creating micro-reliefs retaining the rain and snow water, planting leguminous and graminae herbs to enrich the soil and attract birds. We are planting leguminous, rustic and useful trees to provide shade. Different zones are formed 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 have a modest guest room business (for a dozen of guests maximum) receiving families and travelers. We cook and share the healthy lifestyle with them as well.
In the morning we wake up early. We play, dance and do different practices for the body and spirit. Than we organize the day, share the tasks and take a breakfast. We eat vegetarian, with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and simple cooked meals from cereals and leguminous. Sometime - easy to digest milk products and eggs as well. We grow vegetables, regenerate the land around, build homes, receive guests, trainees, volunteers. We love working, walking in the mountain, resting and enjoy free and creative time. In the evening we do a group meeting to exchange feelings and thoughts - to propose, organize and share. We experience the seven habits of highly efficient people and the integral approach. We go to bed early.
We experience self organization of time and we share freely the process and results.
We are looking for you if you are a clean, positive and very flexible hard worker able to observe and impact yourself .
Please, read the following frame describing our lifestyle:
You can stay with us after registering and signing a declaration that you will follow the rules listed below:
1. Peaceful and constructive cooperation is very important to us. We do not tolerate any disruptions to it, through aggressive words and deeds, disrespectful attitude, making noise at an inappropriate time, or other.
2. Maintaining the general daily routine and consuming foods from the recommended product range is desirable throughout the stay. We tolerate the consumption of other types of products but we ask for this to happen outside the communal meals and spaces, 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 organised 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 program), healthy practices (with individualized elements), participating in the cleaning or the preparation of breakfast;
• Prenoon: work, health-related and/or educational practices, preferably outdoor, basic lecture (as a part of the holiday training program and desirable within the vacation program), participating in the preparation of lunch (for some people at the training and volunteer program);
• Lunch and rest (the latter taking place at variable times within the vacation, training and volunteer programms);
• Aftrenoon: for the vacation program - free time; for the training and volunteer program - work, theoretical and/or practical courses;
• 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 FOOD 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 and work 5 hours/day;
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 WORKAWAY volunteering is 40 DAYS.
It requires a considerable level of responsibility and the input of volunteer labor. During this period they can switch to other programs.
The WORKAWAY VOLUNTEER'S DAILY TIMETABLE:
(The activities with *️️️️️️️️ are compulsory!)
*️️️️️️️️ 08.30 h. Morning meeting and organization;
· 09.00 h. Breakfast (in silence if possible);
*️️️️️️️️ 10.00 h. Working for the project;
· 13.00 h. Lunch (in silence if possible);
· Free time
· 16.00 h. Meeting – sharing and organization;
*️️️️️️️️ 17.00 h. Working for the project;
· 19.00 h. Free time, music, cultural exchange;
Let's build together a community providing the best conditions for biodiversity, social unity and personal growth!
Help with Eco Projects
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
By living together we can implement primordial techniques, skills and attitudes of self-organisation for successful life: set your own priorities and a planning, healthy cooking 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 business.
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 - without dogmas and expectations that you will follow : )
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.
Being a host here will meet you with many interesting people and projects and will open many doors and opportunities.
We need some responsible persons to get familiar here and hold the place during the moments some of us are not present;
Our plan for 2021 includes:
Maintenance of the Permaculture vegetable and medicinal garden;
Watering in dry season;
Restoring an old building - work with clay and wood;
Installing rain water catchment systems on the roofs;
Fencing and pre-landscaping preparation;
Regenerative and Water Retention Landscaping - terraces, pools;
Post-landscaping work - soil preparation, seeding nitrogen fixators, herba graminae, planting trees and shrubs.
Growing a food forest;
During the warm season we provide an accommodation in to a caravan, beautiful tee-pee, or tents with outdoor kitchen, shower and toilet. Everybody is invited to bring his own sleeping bag, rain protection, working clothes and shoes and a headlamp. Clothes for warm, cool and rainy weather as well.
We dispose of comfortable indoor kitchen and bathroom with hot water to use when the weather is cooler.
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!
Food supplements from main importance are offered - Mg, K, Zn and others.
As a workaway volunteer you can enjoy Music, Wild Nature, Local community, Caves, Streams, Cliffs and rock climbing spots, Sofia city... The Local projects of Zhelen community offer their eco building, eco gardening, pottery, eastern spirituality, childcare, eldercare and many other activities...
Most of the indigenous local people are friendly but be careful - they will invite you to alcohol abuse together! Some of the grandmothers and grandfathers are really amazing and full of knowledge - a real Jedis!
In our project we experience an entire transformation of personality through positive development of all three dimensions of the integral approach.
The followers of the payed courses we offer receive more free time and a coaching while mastering the science and practice for:
• Balance the character;
• Deepening the main competences;
• Elevate and stabilize the level of consciousness;
Combining training and vacation this program is dedicated to learn 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 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;
• 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.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Good Wi-Fi, multiple working spaces possible.
The last 4000 meters of durtroad up here are in a bad state. Good ground clearance vehicles are making it except winter months.
More than two
5 hours a day, 5 days a week