About Us

Who We Are?

International Future Challengers was founded by Mirela Velikova in 2016. The idea behind IFC is to provide international students, who study Psychology and have the ambition to work within the mental health sector with a placement which will help them explore their future career and build skills related to it in order to achieve their goals. Nonetheless, IFC placement is designed to provide maximum benefit to the communities where students will be able to get those qualities.

Our main goals


Initiate students into the paths towards a Psychology career

Psychology is a vast science with many sub-fields and career paths to choose from. Knowledge itself is usually not enough when it comes to life-changing decisions such as choosing the right job. Experience is the only way to make people understand whether they can manage to do well with a certain role. IFC placement transforms students’ knowledge from lectures on Abnormal, Clinical, Developmental, Organisational, Educational, Forensic, Health and Social psychology into practice. Volunteers on our placement have the opportunity to learn from local professionals to increase their knowledge and enhance their skills whilst being immersed in culture as warm and exciting as the country itself.

Facilitate the deinstitutionalization processes of both children and elderly people in Bulgaria by providing them with care and support.

Children living in institutional homes in Bulgaria were regularly abused, harassed and malnourished. As a consequence, many suffered lifelong physical traumas and emotional damages. Moreover, they were not taught to the necessary life skills in order to live on their own after leaving such institutions. Deinstitutionalization is the process of replacing the institutional setting for children who are orphaned, abandoned or whose families are unable to take care of them, with family or family-like environment within the community. The main aim of the process is to enable children to integrate into the society and to develop as individuals. Bulgaria has already started its path towards deinstitutionalization when the Bulgarian government and the European Union adopted the National strategy “Vision for Deinstitutionalization of Children in Bulgaria” in 2010. Although statistical analysis from the Agency for Social Assistance shows that the number of children living in institutions is decreasing, falling from 6226 in 2011 to 2721 in 2014, children are still are entering institutional care. It could be argued that this is happening because there is lack of educational and health services which are trained to work with children with physical and mental disabilities. In addition, in 2014, the government accepted another policy related to the improvement of the social services in Bulgaria, namely “National Strategy for Long Term Care”. Its main goal is to create conditions for independent and decent life for abandoned, disabled and mentally ill senior citizens by improving their access to quality health and social services. Unfortunately, the situation regarding the elderly people in Bulgaria does not differ much from the one with children as they are often mistreated and neglected.

Contribute to the maintenance of volunteering

Volunteering is the activity that enables people from all over the world to come together and succeed in accomplishing life-changing goals. There is no doubt that volunteering has an enormous impact on the well-being and mental health of communities worldwide. In fact, voluntary work is becoming increasingly popular because it allows individuals’ not only to give and enhance their sense of purpose but also to challenge, act and therefore, change the organization, structure and environment of a certain community. It is extremely important to support volunteering because of its myriad benefits for today’s world society.

Our partners

• ”St. Cyril and St. Methodius” University of Veliko Tarnovo and in particular, the Psychology Department at the university. During the four weeks of the placement, students will attend lectures, workshops and seminars, which will be organized especially for them by one of the most highly ranked Psychology departments in the country.

• The Municipality of Veliko Tarnovo and in particular, the Directorate of Health and Social services, which main aim is to improve the existing social services for people from vulnerable groups. Moreover, the directorate is constantly incorporating innovative social services, strategies and policies in order to achieve that goal.

• Community Support Centre “SOS Children’s Villages Bulgaria” which aims at supporting families at risk in order to develop their capacity to take care for their children.

• Crisis center “Balvan” which is a complex of social services for children who were victims of violence or traffic. The centre aims to meet their daily needs and develop individual programs for their social integration, mental and emotional stabilization.

• The Municipality of Zlataritsa which actively supports the process of deinstitutionalization in Bulgaria.

The Municipality of Novo selo 

Centre for Psychological Counseling and Psychotherapy “LOGOS” which provides qualified psychological help and support.

Cardiac Clinic, Veliko Tarnovo

What our previous volunteers say

If you would like to talk to our previous volunteers, please let us know.

Our Team

Mirela Velikova Founder


Katriona GoodsellMarketing and Partnerships Manager K.e.goodsell@btinternet.com


Tsveta Toshevska Graphic Designer


Nezhda Seyfulova Main Co-ordinator