Bhagavat Educational Trust (BET) established 1998 working towards the furtherance of education & the general relief of poverty. Our ethos is the promotion of ‘Mutual assistance’ where one marginalized group assists another for the mutual benefit of both. Marginalized in this context has a wide spectrum, including ex-offenders, former substance abusers, those in or leaving care, early school leavers, those with limited opportunities, living in deprived or rural locations to name a few.  

BET has nurtured this concept previously in India & Africa, where sustainable social enterprises were established catering for carpentry & tailoring for street children, a structured curriculum was developed including numeracy & literacy, life skills, entrepreneurship & vocational training with the aim of social integration. In India, school furniture made by the street children was supplied to flood areas near Bhopal, while in Uganda the project enhanced the delivery of primary education by producing educational aids such as building blocks. Eventually the projects became self-sustainable, in both countries contracts were awarded by Ministries and UNICEF.

Simultaneously a project was also established in BG `Help Today, Hope Tomorrow` where by workshops were established in 23 orphanages, nurturing their artistic & vocational ability, producing jewelry, candles etc, that was subsequently sold on line, through Shell service stations, or in the first ever charity shop in Sofia established in conjunction with the former British Ambassador.

Embracing the Entrepreneurial aspect, we also promote Corporate Social Responsibility an example being BNP Paribas sent 64 managers from across Europe to help renovate an orphanage.  

In 2002, BET worked in conjunction with the Prince’s Trust in BG as their partner, offering positive placements to their disadvantaged target groups.  This has manifested itself in our current mobility projects, which often the young people refer to as a ‘Life Changing Experience’ 

Building on and embracing their enthusiasm while working on a deprived placement abroad we also offer a career seminar, where job searchning, CV writing & interview skills are developed; complimented by a City & Guilds qualification in personal development, this often being the first step on the academic ladder.

84% of our participants progress to employment, further education or volunteering, while 97% state to have a better understanding of other people & cultures, more interested in their training & feel more confident. There are equally non quantifiable results, refering to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the remaining 16% some of which are homeless, often find accommodation upon their return allowing further progression.

BET agrees with the aspirations of the EU 2020 strategy & the objectives for which we feel the project helps address 4 - employment, education, social inclusion & entrepreneurship.

Through BET projects, these YP are given the opportunity to expand their understanding of themselves & develop an awareness of their place within Europe. The participants are with basic skills needs and often marginalised & excluded within their own communities, through this project they have the benefit of personal development allowing them to overcome barriers to inclusion in their own communities,  through positive challenges to their attitudes to Europe they will develop an awareness of their role as EU citizens. Participants will gain vocational skills & accreditation that will enable them to progress into employment, education & training, but furthermore through the development of the 8 key competences for Life-Long Learning (LLL) – they will become more rounded EU citizens.

The careers seminar & Mentoring programme is an example, for which constant contact is encouraged as it has been reported that the participants are far more receptive to new ideas when they return. Employability is nurtured, such aspects as good and bad interview techniques are learnt, how to overcome barriers to employability, how to search for jobs, planning your journey and other practical aspects are considered. Dreams and desires are considered on an individual basis, a career path is developed and if appropriate appointments are made The Qualification we offer is also adapted to the youngsters’ needs. It is chosen to develop their potential, increase the human capital improving productivity, innovation and quality. We see our project not as a cost but as an investment with results linked to the individual needs and also to the rapidly evolving labor market. We believe that the mobility encourages people to take a step forward in their personal development, to assess their skills and qualities, consider their aims in life and set up goals. We very much support Peter Dracker in his saying:

“We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: if you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out. But with opportunity comes responsibility. Companies today aren’t managing their employees’ careers; knowledge workers must, effectively, be their own chief executive officers. It’s up to you to carve out your place, to know when to change course, and to keep yourself engaged and productive during a work life that may span some 50 years”  Peter F. Drucker, “Managing Oneself”, Best of HBR 1999

As described by the `Charity Times 2013 awards` the project is an amazing, multi-layered and passionate contribution to European and Civil Society. Consequently the knowledge, skills attitudes and behaviors are equally multifaceted. We wholly concur with the  Bruges Communiqué. Through our tailor made City & Guilds qualification we are nurturing all 8 key competencies, with a greater emphasis on numeracy, literacy and ICT.

Equally, through the establishment of the SME`s building on our previous experience from our project `Help Today Hope Tomorrow` (i.e. candle making in Izmit) we are developing the entrepreneurial aspect. These skills are not just restricted to the actual production but as importantly to marketing, costing and pricing, providing skills for life.

Vocational skills are also developed, this could include for instance painting and decorating, producing candles, carpentry, floor laying and so on, should a member of the team not have the relevant expertise, this expertise will be sourced in the host country.

Employability is also improved, this is facilitated through our WBL approach emulating a true working environment, as examples a strict time table is adhered to, pairs are organized each day to be in charge of budgeting for lunch, health and safety, videoing etc.

Due to the multi-faceted nature of our project, it has a much wider impact, over 1500 orphans & 500 staff in the host countries benefited over the past years, feeling less abandoned & more motivated. We have witnessed the effect of the Hawthorne experiment whereby staff would try & continue the work of the project i.e. painting murals on windows. Also the orphans’ soft skills improve; they become more sociable & feel more worthy in society.

Due to the very innovative approach & having adopted this project in several countries, BET has been awarded the following:

  • With the Prince’s Trust in Bulgaria won “Community Project of the Year” 2005

  • For 5 successive years finalist in the `Social Enterprise of the year` awards

  •  “Certificate in Mobility” by the UK National Agency 2011

  • Transfer of Innovation (TOI) transferring the innovative model to wider European perspective

  • Won the prestigious Charity Times award 2013 – “An amazing & multilayered passionate contribution to European & UK civil society”

  • "The Role of VET in Making Education More Inclusive", 12-13 November, Vilnius, organised by the Lithuanian presidency of the Council of the European Union, where our project was included as 1 of 3 chosen best practices projects across Europe

  • Written articles for the UK National agency (ECORYS) with reference to the 15th year anniversary of the Leonardo Programme in UK as well as to present at numerous events such as start-up seminars, conferences & information days

  • Presentations to Expert panels in Macedonia on innovative approaches to working with disadvantaged young people

  • Presentation at a seminar organised by the Bulgarian Government – Ministry of labour & social policy, on the topic of social entrepreneurship & its contribution to society

  • Our project has appeared in a BBC documentary, on Bulgarian National TV, Turkish & Bulgarian newspapers.




Perhaps most notably, the founder & manager Paul Baron was awarded an MBE for his work Internationally with vulnerable young people as part of the Queen’s honors list in 2012.

BET has adopted a Chinese proverb "It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness” for each project a candle is lit, eventually turning into a beacon not only for Europe but the rest of the world!