Every year TimeHeroes, the largest Bulgarian online platform for volunteering initiatives and opportunities, hosts an award ceremony to promote remarkable examples in volunteering. The “Arsov Sound” project, that works to adapt comic books to make them accessible to blind and partially sighted people, won an award for “original approach”. Ivan Karastoyanov, the ideator of the project, shared with us his experience at the ceremony.

The 7th annual awards of TimeHeroes – the largest Bulgarian online platform for volunteering initiatives and opportunities – were given on April 18. The ceremony began about 7 pm with the musical performance of Ninio, who played the guitar and sang his song ‘Give Me Freedom’. Some words of welcome and thankfulness by a representative of the organizers followed. The honorary jury of 7 experts in different areas were also introduced to the audience. From all the platform initiatives in 2023, 181 were chosen to compete and 15 of them received awards – a framed certificate and a statuette of recycled paper in the shape of a hand with ‘The Heroes 2023’ written on the palm with tactile letters and numbers. The winners were announced by various public figures such as local government representatives, business people, TV and radio speakers, volunteers, etc.

One of the awards – for Original Approach – was given to Dima Nasteva, who managed the project for the first two accessible comic books for the blind in Bulgaria – ‘Rusalii’ and ‘Wicky’s Travel’ by Maya Bocheva. The project was implemented in 2023 with financial support from the Socially Engaged Arts programme of the National Culture Fund.

A couple of days later, on April 20 and 21, a workshop for the adaptation of more stories in pictures took place in the National Library for the Blind. This year’s project slogan is ‘Touch a hero, find yourself’. Volunteers from last year were present again and some new ones joined them to form small teams with visually impaired participants. As a result, the story for a new comic book was drafted with ideas for the environment, heroes, villains, their superpowers and the reason why they have a conflict coming from all. The project’s team hope to ensure the publication of the story, thus providing the first Bulgarian comic book in collaboration with blind authors. By the end of September 2024, 10 more adapted comic books are expected to be available in Braille and audio for the visually impaired community in Bulgaria. More information about this and other project initiatives of the team can be found on the Facebook page Artessible – a combination of the words art and accessible.

Categories: Partners