Young local researchers have created the virtual folklore library Friends

On the National Enlighteners’ Day, young local researchers from around the country gathered at the Earth and Man National Museum to lay the foundations of the Friends Through Folklore Online Library. Unlike most libraries, the creators of this one are children and adolescents. They have been researching the Bulgarian cultural heritage for almost one year in all its ethnic diversity, including folklore samples of the larger minority communities in our country – Romani, Turks, Armenians and Jews.

More than 300 children, youths, and juniors from Sofia and the country participated in the research activities. They asked the older people of the families in the village many questions, looked for archival materials in libraries and museums. They sent the collected materials for participation in the Young Local Researcher Contest. The Sofia High School of Mathematics has been marked as taking part with the largest number of participants. Many interesting materials were presented also by the St. St. Cyril and Methodius Secondary School – town of Yakoruda, the Dimcho Debelyanov Secondary School – town of Sofia, the Stefan Karadzha Public Library – village of Bisertsi, a team of the Gyunesh Society for Cultural Relations with Turkey, the town of Ruse, and many others as well. Children living in Spain and Ukraine also participated.

“An electronic library is a field for education and expression through the culture of our ancestors”, the manager of the project Dr. Liliya Stareva says. “It is the search, collection, and appreciation of folk wisdom, its revival in the present day. And at the same time, it is a model of social inclusion of children and youths from minority groups and communities through their involvement in collecting and research activities in the field of cultural and historical heritage. That’s why one of the name’s ingredients is ‘Friends'”.

During the celebration there was also a festive concert at the museum in honour of the National Enlighteners. The programme included folklore performances by different groups and ethnicities and awards ceremony for the Young Local Researcher Contest winners.

The celebration is part of the idea of friendship through folklore, of getting to know the values of the cultural heritage of different ethnic groups in Bulgaria. The Young Local Researcher Contest and the electronic library are organized by The Child and The Folklore Foundation with the partnership of Roden Kray – 1931 Public Library and the financial support of the Social Innovation Programme of Sofia Municipality. The event was supported also by “Hissar” Mineral Water. In her welcome speech to the participants, the Deputy Minister of Education and Science Karina Angelieva praised the idea and expressed the Ministry’s support for activities related to the study of Bulgarian folklore wealth.

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