Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in Bulgaria. Identifying blind spots in Roma inclusion policy

The report has been prepared by NGOs Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, World Without Borders Association and Gender Alternatives Foundation by the authors as follows:

• chapter “Social prejudices and hate speech towards Roma”: Alexey Pamporov and Gancho Iliev (World Without Borders Association);

• chapter “From hate speech to hate crimes: example of Gabrovo”: Deyan Kolev and Ivan Todorov (Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance);

• chapter “Gender equality and violence against women”: Rada Elenkova (Gender Alternatives Foundation);

• chapter “Secondary segregation in education”: Deyan Kolev and Teodora Krumova (Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance). The overall report development was coordinated by the NGO Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance. The report was prepared as part of the Roma Civil Monitor pilot project.

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Civil society monitoring report on implementation of the national Roma integration strategy in Bulgaria. Assessing the progress in four key policy areas of the strategy

This report has been prepared by NGOs Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, World Without Borders Association, IndiRoma Foundation, Gender Alternatives Foundation and Roma Academy for Culture and Education, Knowledge Association; the chapters have been edited by following authors:

•      Employment – Rada Elenkova (Gender Alternatives Foundation),

•      Housing – Nikolay Bliznakov (IndiRoma Foundation),

•      Impact of Healthcare Policies on Roma – Alexey Pamporov and Gancho Iliev (World Without Borders Association),

•      Education– Deyan Kolev (Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance),

•      Case study in Lukovit – Ralitsa Popova (Knowledge Association),

•      Case study in Sliven – Stela Kostova (Roma Academy for Culture and Education).

The overall report development was coordinated by Amalipe Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance.

The report has been prepared as part of the Roma Civil Monitor pilot project, ‘Capacity-building for Roma civil society and strengthening its involvement in the monitoring of National Roma Integration Strategies’. The pilot project is carried out for the European Commission, DG Justice and Consumers. It is coordinated by the Center for Policy Studies of the Central European University (CEU CPS), in partnership with the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network (ERGO Network), the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) and the Roma Education Fund (REF) and implemented with around 90 NGOs and experts from up to 27 member states.

 

The full text of the publication is available here:

Roma Civil Monitor pilot project. Civil Society Monitoring Report on Bulgaria

This report has been prepared by Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance, World Without Borders Association, IndiRoma Foundation, Roma Academy for Culture, Education and Gender Alternatives Foundation and the following authors:

  • Governance – Alexey Pamporov, Gancho Iliev, Milena Ilieva (World Without Borders Association);
  • Anti-discrimination – Nikolay Bliznakov (IndiRoma Foundation);
  • Addressing antigypsyism – Stela Kostova (Roma Academy for Culture and Education);
  • Impact of mainstream education policies on Roma – Deyan Kolev (Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance);
  • Case study of Plovdiv – Rada Elenkova (Gender Alternatives Foundation)

The overall report development was coordinated by Center Amalipe.

This report has been prepared as part of the Roma Civil Monitor pilot project, ‘Capacity-building for Roma civil society and strengthening its involvement in the monitoring of National Roma Integration Strategies’. The pilot project is carried out for the European Commission, DG Justice and Consumers. It is coordinated by Central European University (CEU) and the Center for Policy Studies (CPS) in partnership with the European Roma Grassroots Organisations Network (ERGO Network), the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC), the Fundación Secretariado Gitano (FSG) and the Roma Education Fund (REF), and is being implemented with around 90 NGOs and experts from the 27 Member States.

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European funds for Roma health integration

The present book is continuation of the debates that started during the Hearing “European funds for Roma integration” held in Brussels on March 16, 2015. It concentrates on 3 of the EU countries with bigger Roma population, namely Bulgaria, Romania and Spain.

The authors believe that the book forms a good basis for discussing the overall framework for putting healthcare higher in the agenda of Roma integration policy.

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Intercultural education and educational integration

 Education is an area in which Center “Amalipe” is working since its foundation. The main cause of Center “Amalipe” is to transform the school into a place where every child can find himself, a place where every child can start to believe that he might be winner, a place to get a chance to dream and to be a man!

Every child can be a winner! If you make a child to believe that he can succeed and sincerely strive for it, you have managed to find the key to success in its development – from there on no one and nothing can stop him to achieve it. This is the basic approach that “Amalipe” applies within the three-year program for Reduction of Roma children drop out of school, organized with the support of the Foundation “America for Bulgaria”. A major element of this approach is the introduction of intercultural education (with a focus on the introduction of classes on “Ethnic Folklore – Roma folklore”) as a means of preservation and renovation of the cultural identity of the Roma community, as well as mutual understanding and formation of tolerance between children of different ethnicities.

This publication presents the results of experience of Center “Amalipe” and the schools, involved in the program during the last three years – both in numbers and as specifically solved cases.

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Manual on Roma History and Culture

The aim of this manual is to serve practitioners and stakeholders in the field of education and intercultural learning. It is designed also for all the people interested in the biggest European minority: the Roma minority – its history, culture and worldview. It would not give you answers to all questions about Roma but it will give you a basis for further research; it will give you a starting point for reconsidering stereotypes and myths about Roma; and last but not least, it will give an orientation tour in the Roma world view.
The manual has been produced within the project “Contribution to the Role of Education – Educating Educators” (CORE) financed within the Lifelong Learning Program of DG Education and Culture of the European Commission.

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“When dreams come true…” – Personal stories of Roma medical students.

What is a dream? A vision for the future, that captures your entire heart and at the deepest level, your spirit and soul. Open your mind up to the awesome power ofyour creative imagination.

This book tells the personal stories of students of Roma origin who study in different medical universities in Bulgaria. They share the difficulties that they had in the process of education but also the successes they have achieved. Some of these are feel-good stories, but others are rather sad… Nevertheless, all those show the great determination to education and success of group of young people who chose their future to be devoted to healthcare. What were their motives and good role models you will find out in the narratives of the students themselves as well as their desire to be the role models for the ones to follow them.

The book also gives information about the Roma health scholarship program for university students and the advocacy training organized annually by Center Amalipe. During the week-long program the young people worked on developing crucial skills for their future work of people who will bring tremendous change in their community. This is why we called them The White Swallows! You can read their stories here.

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The Community Development Center: The Heart of the Community

coveren_sarceFORWARDS:COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AS PROMISING TREND IN ROMA INTEGRATION

The present report outlines the main results and conclusions from the implementation of the project Promoting Participatory Fieldwork at Grass-root level in Marginalized and Traditional Roma Communities, implemented by Amalipe Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance (Bulgaria) in partnership with Liga pro Europa (Romania) and ARSIS (Greece) and financed by the European Commission within the Daphne III Programme. The idea of this project emerged in 2010. During the cycle of trainings of social workers and teachers from Bulgaria, Romania and Greece the trainees shared on many occasions their opinion that the institutions failed to perform successful fieldwork, when it is about Roma. Often, the social workers are not welcome and when they visit a Roma quarter/neigh- bourhood, they encounter an invisible yet, very firm barrier of mistrust failing thus to resolve many of the field cases. When it is about occasions of domestic violence or the problem concerns traditional practices (such as early marriages, arranged marriages and so on) among Roma, the so- cial workers’ failure is almost a hundred percent guaranteed, which makes them not to respond to such signals. Not to mention that it is extremely rare that someone would signal them, at all. They don’t perform preven- tive work, because they regard it as doomed to failure: one cannot do prevention at minimal or even lower levels of trust. Exactly the same find- ings and assessments were registered as a result from the national inquiry involving all Departments for Child Protection in Bulgaria, and orga- nized by Amalipe Centre and the State Agency for Child Protection.

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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.

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Monitoring and evaluation of the National Roma Integrations Strategies (focus on Bulgaria and Romania)

 

 

On April 5. 2011 the European Commission announced Communication “EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies”. Within it the Commission required all EU member states to submit National Roma Integration Strategy until December 31.2011.  Later. the draft of new European Social Fund (ESF) Regulations proposed by European Commission on October 6.2011 stated the existence of NRIS as ex-ante conditionally for every EU state for participation in ESF absorbtion.  Following this requirement all Member States (exept Malta) submitted their documents until the end of March 2012.

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Preventing Early Marryages

Early marriages in the Roma community (the point is actually about cohabitation, family creation and not about “marriage”, because the legal act of marriage is not present or in most cases even not possible) is a topic, which is currently attracting the attention of the so called “general public” and “public opinion”. On the one hand, early marriages are often combined with “arranged marriages” and even “forced marriages”: usually it is the parents who initiate this form of cohabitation. Very frequently, this leads to “dropping out”, i.e. to early school leaving, which is related to limiting the further appropriate social realization of the person. Early marriages are usually followed by “early births”, because – at least with the traditional Roma families, as well as the marginalized ones) the married woman is expected to prove that she can give birth: she is highly appreciated as the continuer of the family and if she cannot fulfil this role, she has to bear one of the heaviest stigmas. Frequently, different forms of domestic violence, divorces, and diseases among these young mothers accompany early marriages, etc. Therefore, we could see a whole series of negative phenomena, to which any European society is (or at least should be) painfully sensitive. On the other hand, early Roma marriages seem out of the ordinary, exotic and inexplicable: a remainder of the “non-European marriage model” (typical for the people to the east of the Trieste – St. Petersburg line of John Hajnal). This “exotics” is often related to the stigmatization of the whole Roma community as a backward and unable for development generator of children. It is accompanied by the even more definite ignoring of the truth that, not so long ago, early marriages were typical for the majority of the nations to the east of Trieste – St. Petersburg line (and a little earlier – for all European nations), and by neglecting the

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The Health Status of Romani Women in Bulgaria.

The idea for the present report appeared to feel a gap existing regarding Romani women health situation in Bulgaria. Only few peaces of data are available regarding Romani women situation. They are even fewer concerning Romani women health status. At the same time, dynamic changes in the health system in Bulgaria in the recent years affected mostly Roma. This necessitates a study “mapping” the situation. The present research does not pretend to be an exhaustive study but it sets a frame that should be additionally filled up in the future. The authors will be happy if the present research provokes other research teams to continue and extend this work.

The research aimed at revealing the heath status, problems and needs of Romani women in Bulgaria with respect to factors such as type of settlement, Romani sub­group they belong to, age and marital status which would create a clearer picture. A tailored approach has been extremely important because the specifics of the different sub-groups within the Roma community, for example, define different problems. More­over, the different Roma groups due to the difference in the intensity of their contacts with the macro-society are at a different level of modernization which also influences their attitudes towards various issues. At the same time, a number of factors have an impact on forming the perceptions and concepts of the members of a community: religion, type of settlement, type of family, educational level, socio-economic status, and so on. This could result in diversity even within a single Roma community and in contrary situation in two neighboring settlements.

The full text of the publication is available here:

WOMEN DESTINIES

PROJECT „PREVENTION OF EARLY/ FORCED MARRIAGES”

The project is carried out by Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “Amalipe” – Bulgaria (leading organization), Liga Pro Europa – Romania and the Association for Social Support ofYouth ARSIS – Greece (partners). The project is supported within the DAPHNE III 2007-2013 Program of the European Commission.

The project aims at preventing and reducing the number of early and forced marriages among certain traditional Roma communities in Bulgaria, Romania and Greece by studying the problem, establishing a multidisciplinary network and partnership between institutions, NGOs and the informal Roma leaders, by campaigns to increase the public awareness and the working with Roma families The activities within the project include:

Study of the problem of the early and forced marriages: Since no specific research of | the early marriages in the Roma community has been made until now and the project needs reliable data on this problem, a study of the phenomenon of the “early marriages” in Bulgaria, Rumania and Greece is planned in the first months of its implementation.

This study includes sociological research of the marriage attitudes of Roma people in Bulgaria, survey of the legislative and institutional frame, referring to the problem in these three countries as well as a study of the attitudes of the on- field workers in order to have a reliable picture of the situation, the attitude of the different parties, concerned with it and the possible ways for finding issues.

Establishing and testing a pilot model for early/ forced marriages prevention: on the base of the results from the research, the project team will suggest different types of activities to prevent the early/ forced marriages. The model will stand on the idea that community work among the conservative Roma groups and families has to be the leading activity in finding issues for the problem instead of the more severe administrative sanctions (which is now the prevailing practice). The model will also relay on the coordinated joint efforts of the responsible institutions, NGOs and informal Roma leaders to prevent the early marriages;

The full text of the publication is available here: