Lazar Radkov for the “Caps for the future” Initiative, Greta Thunberg and how to Live Peaceful and Happy Life
“Caps for the future” is a campaign set up by Lazar Radkov and Martina Iordanova in 2017. Their goal is to collect and recycle as much bottle caps as possible in order to buy new baby incubators and donate them in hospitals throughout Bulgaria.
See the interview with Lazar Radkov below:
How did the idea of "Caps for the future" come up?
In the summer of 2017, together with our colleagues from Live To Lift, we did outdoor training in the park as part of our contribution to the community. At one of these trainings, I suggested that the trainers start collecting bottle caps and decide for what kind of cause to use the money. Martina was also at this training, who later wrote to me that she had a trunk full of caps from her friends. She brought them to me, we took a picture, posted it on the social networks and asked people what is the cause we should collect caps for.
Most of the answers were “Baby incubators, Baby incubators, Baby incubators ..." and by looking at the situation in the small municipal hospitals, we found that in most of them the baby incubators were 30-40 years old, heavily depreciated or not working at all.
In which city people collect the most caps? Where are the most active people?
Expected - in Sofia. Recent campaigns, however, have a strong response in other cities, and let's not forget that people from all over Bulgaria live in Sofia.
The "Caps for the future" initiative is well-known all over Bulgaria and even abroad. We understand that you already have stations in England, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Do you intend to expand your business beyond Bulgaria?
Outside Bulgaria it is more complicated because you need to look for a local recycler to buy the caps. Why? Because often more money goes for efforts and costs, the caps to be transported to Bulgaria than the caps’ actual worth. And one of the things we are trying to teach people is that everything is worth something, and in order for any initiative to be successful - FIRST, the revenue must be more than the costs.
You have set a goal to replace every old baby incubator in the country by 2020. Will you be able to meet this goal?
Yes, by the end of the year we will have donated a total of 22 baby incubators. With them we will replace all old and depreciated baby incubators in the municipal hospitals in the smaller cities. In the meantime, the state has announced that it will be launching a new contract for another 60 baby incubators ... what will they do with them - they know. We are glad that we were able to replace the old baby incubators in the countryside and set a good example for the institutions.
What is your comment on the lack of medical staff? Are you afraid that in the future there will be no staff to work with the donated baby incubators? Another important question is - do you only donate the incubators or the incubators with the consumables they need? (because the medical specialists comment that consumables are the more expensive part and without them the baby incubators cannot be used?)
The problems in the Bulgarian healthcare are not one or two. And most of them are HUGE. I personally try to do whatever I can to improve something, even if it is very small. For now, I believe that 22 baby incubators are still something. As well as the nearly 200 babies, who have been helped so far. Which babies would otherwise have had to rely on luck in the old incubators .. most of which didn’t work at all.
I believe that if more people try to do something small and meaningful to improve the situation in an area - the general situation will start to improve steadily. And much faster.
As for the baby incubators - the donated ones do not need extra maintenance that cost money. We have made it as easy as we could for the hospitals.
Although "Caps for the future" is a charity initiative - do you have any "competitors"?
How can we even use the word competition when it comes to charity? Yes, there are other campaigns. We hope everyone is as transparent and up-to-date as "Caps for the future".
The truth is that cap collection campaigns are circulating for 8-9 years in Bulgaria. However, in just a year and a half "Caps for the future" was able to achieve more than all the other campaigns put together in 8 years, for which I want to thank especially everyone who supports our common cause.
The metal hearts and the stations of the initiative at which the caps are collected are many and are located throughout the country. How to identify which heart / station does not belong to the “Caps for the future"?
Most simply - it should have a sign stating that it is for "Caps for the future”. Follow our Facebook page as well - we'll be posting a detailed list of the hearts which are supporting our cause very soon.
How do you deal with people who try to exploit the popularity of your campaign?
In the only possible way - we try to educate our followers and the Bulgarians as a whole. I think this is the only possible way and I have taken it as a personal cause.
Do you plan any other such initiatives?
Of course! Follow our page on Facebook to find out first when we announce it! This is the place we announce what we did, what we do and what we plan to do!
Recently, media’s attention has been focused on the young environmental activist Greta Thunberg. Do you approve of her actions and her “Fridays for Future” initiative?
I think Greta could be much more useful to the world if she goes back to school, graduate, study ecology in a college or university and become actually educated on the subject.
I am not aware of the “Fridays for Future” initiative.
Now tell us a little more about yourself - what you do in your spare time, how you relax?
This is one of my weaknesses - I rarely relax .. and I suffer for that.. I just can't sit and do nothing - I regularly deal with something that needs to be done or something that is interesting to me.
Otherwise, I try to train regularly to keep my body and mind healthy, I like to meet and interact with interesting people. I love reading too. A lot.
I like to invent new things and come up with creative solutions to problems.
Are you happy? What is your advice to our readers for a more peaceful and happy life?
So far, I have not met a satisfactory definition of the term "happy life", but I can safely say that I am SATISFIED with mine!
And I also do not wish anyone a peaceful or easy life. As Bruce Lee said: ”Don't pray for an easy life. Pray for the strength to endure a difficult one”
And here I want to add:
- Don't pray for a peaceful life - live intensively, study and work hard, and try to give yourself the necessary time for rest and fun periodically.
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