Statement of Center Amalipe Center on the proposed amendments of the Law on Non-Profit Legal Entities

Amalipe Center expresses its strong concern about the Amendments to the Law on Non-Profit Legal Entities, submitted on 01.07.2020, with signature № 054-01-60, which we consider to be unconstitutional, contrary to the EU legislation, democratic principles and that it contains discriminatory provisions. The adoption of the bill by the National Assembly would have an entirely unfavorable result on the civil society in Bulgaria. Moreover, it provides a legal opportunity to make civil society dependent and to create a legal opportunity for political repression upon inconvenient and critical organizations.
We call on the MPs to categorically reject the proposed Bill, thus confirming that Bulgaria is a democratic country whose laws are not used to limit civil rights and political repression.
The opinion of the Amalipe Center (in Bulgarian) can be downloaded here.
Photo: pixabay.com

 

Operational programs between real needs and indecisiveness: look at the new programming period

The main reason for writing this text is the reluctance with which the managing authorities / governing bodies of the main operational programmes in Bulgaria relate to the inclusion of the Roma integration theme, despite the obvious need, the desire of the main stakeholders (including civil society, schools, kindergartens, etc.), and the clear guidance in this regard by the European Commission (which, in practice, is the major donor here). We have observed this reluctance since 2006, when the first operational programmes were developed, and it has continued, albeit to a much lesser extent, during the current programming period. The specific reason is the absence of the topic of Roma integration in the first draft s of the Human Resources Development and the Science and Education Operational Programmes.

We are publishing this text not as an impartial observer, but as an active participant in the process. As a representative of civic organizations working for Roma integration, Deyan Kolev has participated in the preparation of the Human Resources Development Operational Programme (HRDOP) during the previous as well as the current period. He was part of the Monitoring Committee of the HRDOP during the previous period, and of the Science and Education for Smart Growth Operational Programme during the current period. Deyan Kolev has also taken part in the working groups for the preparation of the new operational programmes. From this point of view, we do not claim impartiality, but a clearly expressed position based on the views of a wide range of stakeholders, as well as awareness of the ongoing processes.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Assessment of AMALIPE Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance of the implementation of National Roma Integration Strategy – 2015

The present paper evaluates the implementation of the National Strategy of the Republic of Bulgaria for Roma Integration in 2015. It is done by AMALIPE Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance as contribution to the annual assessment of the NRISs carried out by DG Justice of European Commission. The paper complements the evaluation template required by DG Justice.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Beyond anti-Roma Stereotypes: World is not Just White and Black

TO TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLES:  COULD THE ANTI-ROMA STEREOTYPES BE COMBATTED?

The officials and field workers in the sphere of public services (especially in the sphere of education, health and social care) from countries with significant number of Roma population often share deep prejudice against the Roma people. For some countries like Bulgaria and Romania, this prejudice roots in the traditional stereotypes even since the Middle Ages, when the Roma people were called “the untouchables”, i.e. the people, who nobody should even touch. In other countries, especially the ones in Western Europe, where Roma immigrants recently increase in number, these stereotypes are new. Nevertheless, they have one and the same result: the Roma citizens face discrimination and the public policy for Roma integration has no public support that appears as strong obstacle that prevent its implementation. The service providers (especially in the field of education, health care and social inclusion) could not fulfil effectively their job in Roma community and the Roma citizens could not receive quality services.

 Having all these in regard, the Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “AMALIPE” (Bulgaria), Justitia et Pax (the Netherlands) and Roma Center for Health Polocies SASTIPEN (Romania) initiated the project “TO TOUCH THE UNTOUCHABLE: combating traditional and new anti-Roma stereotypes” . The project was two-year initiative starting from February 2011. It was financed by DG Justice of the European Commission within Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Program.

The idea of the project was to fight against racism and anti-Roma attitudes, based on traditional and new stereotypes among the people providing public service in the sphere of education, health and social care. It aimed to fight traditional and new anti-Roma stereotypes on behalf of educational, social and health field workers in Bulgaria, Romania and the Netherlands, as well as to encourage the mutual understanding and intercultural dialogue between Roma communities and field workers, following principle № 3 of the conclusions of the European Council dated 8th June 2009. Main purpose of the project was to create a model for efficient usage of public services by Roma people, which should guarantee that all members of vulnerable communities enjoy their main rights.

The project set three main objectives:

– Change of the attitude and stereotypes (traditional and new) of the state employees and field workers towards Roma people. A system for trainings, meetings and joint activities was set to increase the information level of state employees and field workers regarding the specificity of Roma community and how they could work more efficiently with it and how to overcome cultural barriers;

– Change in the way of thinking and the negative stereotypes on behalf of Roma communities towards state employees and field workers.

– Creation of a model for cooperation with Roma community, following principle 10 of the conclusions of the European Council dated 8th June 2009 “Active participation of Roma people”.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Download

To Chicago and Back

We started our journey in Chicago, where we had the chance to see how different ethnic communities struggle to both integrate as well as preserve their identity. Some of them had a lot of similarities with the Roma. We were able to borrow ideas from them all, which we will adapt to improve our work in Bulgaria.

Back to Mother Earth

Our first meeting was with Dr. Alaka Wali from the Field Museum (http://www.fieldmuseum.org/) in Chicago who acquainted us with the experience of the Peruvian organization ARAA/CHOBA-CHOBA. They try to incorporate and connect community values with schooling. Ecology is a key method used in their extracurricular activities with children.
A similar approach was used by the American Indian Center in Chicago (http://aic-chicago.org/), where we met with Adam Kessel and Megan Bang on October 22nd. The American Indian Center (AIC) in Chicago is the oldest urban Native American center in the nation. AIC acts as a primary resource for urban American Indian culture and utilizes a land-based education program to attract children. Our discussion there continued for more than two hours. We found many similarities between Native Americans and the Roma. We were especially interested in their successful promotion of fellowship between Indian people of all Tribes living in metropolitan Chicago. They have also managed to maintain cultural values and to foster educational advancement of Indian people by engaging school groups and introducing a land-based curriculum and garden, which they use to make a connection between the children’s current urban environment and their historical past. We discussed our experience in Bulgaria, and came to the conclusion that both approaches could be combined and that we could both benefit from the lessons we have each learned when working with schools.

You can read the whole text here

Presentation about using mother tongue for achieving high academic results (in BG)

Presentation about the experience of Bulgarian and American schools (in BG)

The full text of the publication is available here:

Human Resources Development OP 2014-20 and Roma integration

On 28 of November 2014, the European Commission approved the “Human Resources Development” Operational Programme, making it the first approved Operational Programme for Bulgaria for the period 2014 – 2020. It outlines how the European Social Fund can be used to achieve smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in several key areas: labor market (incl. youth employment, education and training, combating unemployment), social inclusion (incl. Roma integration, deinstitutionalization, development of modern social services and social economy) and modernization of public policies.

The present article analyzes the text of the “Human Resources Development” OP, related to the issue of Roma integration. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of the approved program and proposes concrete actions to secure the European Social Fund for the implementation of integration policies.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Community monitoring of health care services in Veliko Tarnovo and Pavlikeni Municipalities January 2012

 

 

The condition and tendencies in the health status of the nation, including the persons belonging to ethnic minorities, can be evaluated considering the demographic process, illnesses and risk factors, the physical growth and capability, as well as, the self health assestment. Main reasons for the health impairmant of the Bulgarian citizens, espesially Roma people, are poverty, unhealthy way of living related to malnutrition, constant distress combined with other risk factors such as smoking, alcohol dependancy, drug dependancy, low motor activities, etc.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Guatemala: days before the end of the 13th Baktun

In late November and early December, when thousands of tourists made reservations for Southern Mexico and Guatemala, hoping to see the end of the world,  predicted of the Mayan in their country, representatives of Amalipe and 6 organizations from Macedonia visited Guatemala . The visit was organized by the Centre for Equality and Health System Study(Centro de Estudios para la Equidad y Governanza en los Sistemas de Salud – CEGSS) in Guatemala and the “Open Society Institute” – New York. It was not part of the flourishing tourist industry related to the end of the world expectations “appointed” for  December 21 2012. We visited Guatemala looking not to the past of the ancient Maya, but to their descendants’ presence; we did not expect the end of the world, we saw how the community monitoring of health services in indigenous communities at a grass-root level is and will continue to be made.

“El Corazon del mundo Maya” – “The heart of the Mayan world” with this sentence Guatemala welcomes thousands of tourists every day landed at the airport in Guatemala City. Accompanied by a photograph of the pyramid of Tikal, the sentence shows that the country keeps the ruins of the most ancient cities of an ancient civilization that captivates the minds of millions around the world with its splendor: the most accurate calendar in the world, exceptional knowledge of mathematics, amazing architecture, unique in its depth in space vision and mentality.

Guatemala is a country of contrasts. We met the both faces of the country: the shine in the big modern hotels in the center of Guatemala City, where well-dressed white women and their caballeros have breakfast without losing a drop of aristocracy, and on the other hand the woman bent under the burden on her head, or 7-8 year polishers who instead of having happy childhood during the holidays fight each other for the attention of the white gentleman who wants to have his shoes mirror polished , that face, blackened by the sun by the burden of time or just because they are children of God, he has baked them in the oven of human history. In this game, however, the Lord plays with two queens …

Guatemala is a country of contrasts. It greeted us with colours woven on looms by skilled female hands, which do not miss the thread of tradition; colors, tucked in the skirts, in hair and in the hospitable people’ smiles, regardless of grayness of hopelessness in which they live. On the first day we were in the heart of this color – Chichicastenango market, which striked us with its syncretism: religion, traditions, languages, beliefs, and most of all – the ability to preserve the richness of their culture and … to survive. You can feel it just standing in the center of the market, close your eyes and just listen – buzz, intonation, blend of languages ​​and dialects … You can see it when you open your eyes and look up – not to the Lord – the Gods, Christian or pagan seems to have forgotten these people, even though they desperately and persistently try to pray for their blessing in pagan and Christian way. In the center of the market is located the big Catholic church of Santo Tomas. In the past – in that other time – it has been mayan temple. The stairs to the entrance were also strewn with colours – not by the flowers that women sell but by the diversity of their clothes. Men and women were kneeling everywhere – in the church, around the church, in the foot of the church and quietly whispered pagan and Christian prayers, burned incense and herbs, offered gifts in sacrifice, crossed themselves and quietly returned to their everyday lives. We squeezed through the narrow gaps between stalls dotted with colorful hand-woven clothes that are an attraction for tourists, but for locals they are more than life – livelihood, necessity, tradition that women are trying hard to preserve in order to convey the vanishing proud to their children and to preserve their identity.

The whole newsletter can be downloaded here.

The full text of the publication is available here:

Download

How will pre-school and school education be financed in 2021?

By its decision, the Council of Ministers adopted the standards for the activities delegated by the state with natural and value indicators in 2021. The draft law on the state budget is already in the National Assembly. Both documents set basic parameters for the financial support of activities in preschool and school education. What do […]

Read More

Statement of Center Amalipe Center on the proposed amendments of the Law on Non-Profit Legal Entities

Amalipe Center expresses its strong concern about the Amendments to the Law on Non-Profit Legal Entities, submitted on 01.07.2020, with signature № 054-01-60, which we consider to be unconstitutional, contrary to the EU legislation, democratic principles and that it contains discriminatory provisions. The adoption of the bill by the National Assembly would have an entirely […]

Read More