Mission, history, goals

The name of the Association comes from K. G. Jung’s terminology. “Animus” is the masculine side of woman’s psyche. “Animus” is the source of problems in the personal world of the woman and also the creative power to solve them. It is the weakness and the strength of the woman’s soul.

Mission

Healthy communication between people and gender equality in Bulgarian society. • Availability of accessible psychotherapeutic services and programmes, offering professional and competent help to people who need it • Social attitudes of tolerance towards differences, respect for suffering and non-acceptance of violence • Understanding and acceptance of the values of psycho-dynamic psychotherapy

Goals

To work for the intellectual, professional and spiritual development of women; to initiate a change in the Bulgarian family and society; to develop and implement projects and programmes connected with support to women and children; to encourage gender-equality understanding in society; to improve the status of women; to be a mediator between different state institutions and non-governmental organizations and to co-ordinate their efforts on the problems of violence against women.

Animus Association achieves its mission and goals by:

• establishing specialised centres for professional help for survivors of violence; • encouraging the development of and conducting educational and training programmes; • exchanging experience with similar organisations in Europe, Asia, and North America; • publishing materials connected with its work; • cooperating with institutions and organizations in the country connected with the activities of Animus Association; • organizing conferences and workshops on the problems of women, family and mental health, organizing cultural events which contribute to the goals of the organization.

History

It all started in the autumn of 1994. We- Nadejda and Maria, shook our hands over the idea and the promise for an equal partnership. What brought us together was the professional interest in the problems of women survivors of traumatic events as well as the challenge to establish a service for women-psychological counselling, which never existed before, but most of all – the fact that we were different from others. We truly believed that we were able to make our dreams come true.

In those years no one even talked about violence against women. We were always together so that we could support each other and share with each other our impressions of the way other people treated us when we talked about violence. Some of them laughed, others underestimated us, and some accused us. But there were others who helped us. There were so many things we had to learn! We didn’t even know how to write a project! We used our friends’ offices, working until late in the evenings. We started with the idea of setting up a center and later on a small service. We were very sad when we were refused the support we needed and we saw no hope that the things we had imagined could happen. Then we decided to work in our professional community to convince people in our ideas. But we never forgot our goal. Later on within the project for setting up a Centre the Open Society Fund provided us with office equipment, and that was the first time somebody supported us. How happy we were for our first success! Our first successful project “Violence and Its Victims” supported by the EU, allowed us to create the first unit for constant work on the problem of violence. Thanks to projects supported by the Civil Society Development Foundation we were able to launch our program for institutional development and to spread our ideas in the countryside With the financial support of MAMACASH we started the establishment of our service which enabled us to provide real support to women victims of violence. With the financial support of Democracy Network Program we lay the grounds for identifying the criteria for good practices in mental health for women in Bulgaria. The Staples Trust believed that our work was worthy and helped us to prepare and start the care program for women victims of domestic violence. We were trained how to develop and manage our Help-line thanks to the Charity Know How Fund. The program for women victims of domestic violence and the Help-line for support to women victims of violence were developed with the financial support of the American Embassy in Bulgaria. Our partnership with NOVIB gradually made possible to include and emphasize a new sphere in working with violence against women- trafficking in women. The Service and its counseling and social programs now exist thanks to the financial support of NOVIB/MATRA. Through the La Strada project we managed to initiate our lobbying and prevention activities against trafficking in women in Bulgarian society. Sofia Municipality supports us in disseminating the Help-line number all over the public transport. All our sponsors helped us to launch the Centre For Rehabilitation Of Women, Adolescents, And Children-Victims Of Violence. Step by step it has transformed into a model for alternative behaviour towards victims of violence. We work in the philosophy of nonviolence and protection of the human rights. We have disseminated our experience to other similar services and organizations in the country-Animus-Pernik, Animus-Plivdiv, Animus-Dobrich, and others. Professionally we belong to the psychodynamic school. The hard work in support to women victims of violence and in combating violence has already started in Bulgaria. The further development will be a part of the democratic processes in Bulgaria. We are deeply grateful to everyone who supported us.