Agnes Molnar – fellow from Hungary

PhotoAgnesAgnes Molnar is working as a youth leader and charge d’affaires at the Opera Cultural Association for 5 years as a volunteer, and for 1 week as an employee. She is managing projects, writing applications, coordinating volunteers, and organizing events here. The Opera Cultural Association ( the name stands for the latin word: opera, that means operating) is a youth organization, the main aim is to provide democratical tools and western perspective  for youngsters through advocacy, communication and art. She maintains the on-going civic initiatives in the organization and keep the cooperation between local, informal groups and the Opera.

Previously she worked as an international coordinator at the National KID Association for 1,5 year. Her tasks included writing applications for grants, contacting with other european partners and informing member organizations about the international possibilities within the National KID Association (KID stands for Komplex, Integrated, Differenciated an it is an umbrella association).

Ms Molnar has been part of many initations in Debrecen, as a native of the city, she just started to support unemployed, alternative-thinking people to implement their projects through the Opera Association. She started to organize skateboarders for the issue: having a skatepark. She also started to work with blind and visually impared people for integration, she was part of the procceed of involving local groups to the online radio (Opera- owned Sub Radio)for starting radio shows in locally useful topics they’re specialized in.

Debrecen, Hungary

Debrecen, Hungary

She met community organizing 1 year ago  with 3 others from the Opera through the Civil College Foundation. They participated on the trainings and after they started to develop the organization structurally. Now, she is the leader of the civic workgroup where the main aim is to create a local community. It contains people who has visions about the city of Debrecen, which is different from the majority’s. These partners are mainly part of a subcultural group and they suffer from social justice problems just because they have different thoughts about democracy than the present major ideology of the government. She thinks that the young people of the middle-class are sliding down, socially and economically. They marked and prejudiced by outfit, taste and social position not by their values or knowledge. She observed that Hungarian people are not opened for „the other”, racism, intolerance and inequality are common phenomens in the everyday life. The Opera try to ensure people that a different life is not a crime, just another way. In Hungary it is a real problem and community organizing is one of the ways to solve it.

She has been on different  youth seminars in France and in Austria. She has participated in several developer trainings, like communication, conflict, sustainability etc. At the National KID Association and Opera Cultural Association she also gained experience in organizing trainings and assissted in the creation of the materials. She present her organization on every national or local youth event as a participant or an organizer too. She has contacts for local organizations, decisionmakers, media people,university people, multi firms,informal groups and art groups in the city of Debrecen.

Chicago/ photo: YoChicago

Chicago/ photo: YoChicago

She graduated as an aesthetician , MA degree, Faculty of Humanities in Debrecen. She researched the local subcultural groups, places and cultural developement of Debrecen from the 60’s. Her thesis will be the base of an exhibition in the Rock Museum of Debrecen. She also plans to explore the present status of these groups theoretically.

Ms Molnar speaks English fluently, and French advanced. She has been 5 times in the USA, first time as a folk dancer with a group, but the last 4 times were about visiting her mother, who is now living in the USA as a citizen. Ms Molnar got several times the offer to move out, but she was more intented to work with community in Hungary. After the community organizing trainings and meetings with the american professionals she has the belief that this method is the most suitable for the activities of the Opera, projects and mentality. She would like to use the method at the Opera Cultural Association.

In her free time she loves travelling, making valuable friendships and thinking about projects. If she has no tasks to do she mostly writes articles about local events, things to the website of the Opera ( She has no free time, but if it happens she is mainly with her 7 -year -old little sister. Agnes will have her internship at Go Bronzville (Chicago)

Diana Nedeva – fellow from Bulgaria

PictureDiana Nedeva is projects coordinator, volunteer, trainer. She is working on different projects with focus on empowerment, anti-discrimination, life-long learning, human rights, global education.

She works with several NGOs in Bulgaria and her main occupation is as a coordinator at Caritas Sofia where she is coordinating projects for refugees, asylum seekers and immigrants. The life of these minority groups is very challenging. That’s why they need to be supported in order to find their own way to start a better life and learn to be independent.

Ms. Nedeva also works with C.E.G.A. Foundation where she is part of a team organizing Global education trainings for youth leaders, teachers and students.

She started volunteering only 6 years ago, but since then she is actively promoting volunteering. For her this is one of the best ways to discover what is interesting for you, find inspiration, learn how to achieve your goals and find out how you could help the others.

Sofia_04Diana was an EVS (European voluntary service) volunteer in Germany in 2012 and her main tasks were connected with preparing, implementing and reporting training courses and youth exchanges with main topics like anti-discrimination, racism, xenophobia; inclusion and equality.  One of the methods she used is Forum theatre, very powerful tool for social change in her opinion. That is why at the moment she is part of a group which is planning to work with different minority groups in Bulgaria using this method as main.

Ms. Nedeva graduated from Public administration in Sofia. Since 2011 she is participating in different trainings and she is currently one of the participants in Training of trainers (10 months) organized by SALTO and working on developing her skills as a trainer. Her training practice project (which she organises together with 3 other participants within TOT) is for youth and social workers who want to develop their competences in empowering young people with fewer opportunities to become aware of, and act on, their dreams and visions of their own futures.

Chicago BeanThis will be her first opportunity to visit the U.S. She is very excited about the project and eager to know more about creating and supporting the leadership in the different minority communities, how to facilitate coalitions in the community organizing processes and improve her knowledge about organizing campaigns with them.

In her free time she loves to dance tango, play board games, participate in theatre courses, do yoga. Diana will have her internship at Illinois Coalition of Immigrants and Refugees Rights (Chicago)

Asen Mitkov – fellow from Bulgaria


foto: Chad Evans Wyatt

Asen Mitkov was born and raised in Vidin, north part of Bulgaria. He has solid experience in social work, especially with Roma communities. When he has started his work as social work he though it’s his mission – helping others. He has been working for more than 10 years in this field in his own community in the town of Vidin. Hi is styding 1st year Social Pedagogy in South-West University in Bulgaria.

His first experience with minority groups was when he started to work in the non-profit organization DROM on a project, aiming at desegregation of students from minority. Asen and his team were providing conditions for access to quality education to Roma children in integrated school environments. He was one of the team members who created the Vidin model of desegregation and integration. Asen’s specific role during the running of the project was to be one of the couches for students. That was the person who supported and motivated them visiting school, observed this whole process and resolved problems if happened ones.

Currently Asen is working in Centre for Working with Street Children (CWSC). The main people of the center are Roma children whose parents and family do not take the necessary care and thus neglect them and placed in social risk. The center provides day care, food and clothing, hygiene and health care, educational support and education, positive choices for their spare time, etc. for its students.

vidin8Particular emphasis in the work is the return and retention of children in school. Thus all these cares is about to achieve better quality of life of the children, their social integration as well as increased parental potential. Asen’s main role is to do the outreach work. He is mainly working in segregated fields and marginalized part of Vidin, in Roma neighborhood, where he detects children from minority who are poor, neglected or begging. Once he identifies those children he establishes initial contacts and searching for their family or relatives, informing them about the Centre, where the children could receive support. Asen is maintaining contacts with their parents or guardians and ensures counseling and mediation.

Besides his passion for social work Asen is passionate for recording videos. He had four months training course  at the non-profit foundation Witness New York as camera man and he participated as volunteer in preparing documentary movie about the desegregation process in Vidin, Bulgaria.

photo: Yang Yang

photo: Yang Yang

Asen is very keen to see examples and practices from the state in the field of Social work, but he is also looking forward to get more acquainted with Community Organizing.

He speaks Bulgarian, Romanes, little Russia and English. He likes cameras and spends his time shooting movies or work in parks and enjoys chatting with friends. He and his wife have two sons: the eldest is attending South West University while the younger has just graduated from secondary school. He enjoys spending time with his family and having joy outside Vidin. Asen will have his internship at Neighborhood Organizing for Changes (Minneapolis, MN)

Peter Petak – fellow from Hungary

Peter Petak
Pecs, Hungary

Peter Petak is working as a Leader of community workers at the Hungarian Association for Community Development, as well as at the Civil College Foundation. Both organizations focus on working with different disadvantaged groups like Roma, unemployed, disabled, and poor people. From 2010 he has been supporting community workers who work with marginalized social groups. His tasks include trainings and consultations, workshops and network organizing, both in countrywide programs and in programs focusing on areas of deep poverty in Eastern Hungary.

Mr. Petak was a founder of a successful and well known neighborhood NGO which represented the interests of the local community in the town of Pecs. He also organized civil coalitions and cooperations of NGO’s. He participated in developing and teaching the first officially recognized community organizer training in Hungary. His speciality area is the organization of campaigns for community issues.

Pecs, Hungary

Mr. Petak graduated with an MA from the University of Pecs, Faculty of Humanities in 1994, and he has completed studies as a Community Development Trainer at various institutions between 2003-2014.

This is his first opportunity to visit the United States. In the previous years, Mr. Petak has started to work intensively on community organizing, and he devoted much energy to the introduction and widespread adaptation of community organizing in Hungary. For this purpose, he would like to learn, gain experience and find partners in this exchange program.

Mr. Petak is a father of five boys, and in his free time, he enjoys making excursions with his family, and reading.

Peter will be having his internship at Virginia Organizing (Charlottesville, Virginia)



Short picture’s story from our fellows

On 12th of April our fellows safety arrived to their fellowship placement site in 9 states at 11 hosting organizations. Read some of their first actions/meetings and impressions:

Raluca Negulescu, Romania

My first day at the Granite State Organizing Project was delightful. I met a group of fantastic Latin-American women from Nashua and we discussed about the main issues in their community. In the evening, I attended a fundraising event – the 2nd Annual Spaghetti Supper organised by Holy Cross Family Learning Center in Manchester. I met the Mayor of the city and enjoyed a Bhutanese dance show.

Raluca Negulescu

Raluca Negulescu, Romania

Martin Klus, Slovakia

I had a “sharp start” here in Little Rock and today became part of very strong state-wide initiative within Arkansas State Congress and will be famous for couple of seconds even in local TV.

Martin Klus

Martin Klus, Slovakia

Dzhevid Mahmud, Bulgaria
Csaba and Dzhevid met with senator Kennedy in Brockton, Boston during interfaith community action meeting.

dzhevid mahmud

Dzhevid & Csaba

Simona Barbu, Romania

Two very interesting meetings today in Seattle, the first one at CASA LATINA, where the Care Council meet to discuss about the national updates on the law of immigration and the activities they prepare for the next period: on the 9th of May they will put together and action called Mothers Day in order to highlight the role of the mothers in immigration.

Later on, in the Industrial district (aka China Town) we had the opportunity to participate at the meeting of the coalition for preparing May Day in Seattle, a totally different concept that what we usually celebrate in Romania. May Day is the Immigrant’s Day and will be celebrated by marching on the main important boulevards of the city and organizing the members of the immigrant communities to participate.

Together with Kovács Tímea Éva , we’ll be peace keepers during the march on the 1st of May! We are looking forward to it!

simona barbu

Simona & Timea

Miroslav Ragac, Slovakia

Very successful day today! Our S.A.G.E group (Survivor Advocacy Group Empowered) met with several members of the Illinois House of Representatives in Springfield and they got their support and commitment to vote for SB 1872!!! Well done girls!!!

Miroslav Ragac

Miroslav Ragac, Slovakia