Overcoming Challenges: How Amalipe Center Supported 76 Young People on Their Path to Education Through the Equal Chance Program

There are 76 young people from all over the country that the Center for Interеthnic Dialogue and Tolerance “Amalipe” supported during the 2022-2023 school year in completing their secondary education by buying them bus passes and textbooks. This happened thanks to the Program “Equal Chance – Access to Secondary Education”, funded by the Trust for a Social Achievement.

The program is long-term, the beginning was set in 2011, and the Amalipe Center is one of the organizations that administer it from the very beginning. The participating students come from poor families, live in villages and small towns, and study in secondary and vocational schools in major cities. In order to keep young men and women in school, the Amalipe Center helps them not only by covering transport costs and supplying textbooks, but also by involving them in youth volunteer activities. Those supported are required to attend regular school, have a GPA of at least Good, and be involved in extracurricular activities.

For the first academic term, the average GPA of TSA supported students was Very Good 4.63 (for comparison after the first term of the academic year 2021-2022 it was Good 4.48). The average number of unexcused absences was 2. In the second term, there were 3 unexcused absences, and the average grade was Very good 4.63 again. The students’ annual GPA is Very Good 4.76. Fifteen of the students did not have a single unexcused absence for the entire year. The honors are 11. The graduates supported by Amalipe Center, who were 21 this academic year, successfully completed their secondary education. Some of them applied and have already been accepted to higher education institutions. For example, Aksenia Rankova will continue her education in the specialty “Preschool Pedagogy” at “Bishop Konstantin Preslavski” University of Shumen. Sinan Kadyrov will study “Special Pedagogy” there again. Virginia Atanasova has also been accepted and will continue her education at Varna Medical University, as well as Slavka Andreeva, who will receive her higher education at Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”. All four young people studied in Shumen until now. The long-time participant in the Program, Kiril Milushev from the village of Karadjovo, who has always had excellent success, will continue to develop in the future. He will receive new knowledge at the University of Plovdiv in the modern specialty “Business Information Technologies”. Also in Plovdiv, but in a completely different direction, continues the Zyumbyula Lambova from Dulgo Pole, about which we have already told you. In recent years, she was one of the most active students and volunteers in the Amalipe Center youth network. Zyumbyula has always wanted to be useful and help others, and it is no coincidence that this autumn she will go on the complicated path of Medicine.

As in previous years, students participating in the Program are very active in school and extracurricular life. Students from vocational high schools participated in various competitions and always placed first. Some of the participants in the Program are also presidents or members of the student parliaments in their schools and organized and conducted numerous campaigns that motivated their classmates to be active and change their environment for the better. Many of them were also part of the youth groups for civic participation and tolerance for the “Intercultural Academy for Civic Participation and Tolerance” project and in the spring of 2023 organized and conducted numerous civic campaigns, peer trainings and election debates. And senior Sinan Kadyrov even hosted this year’s “Open Heart” children’s festival.

As part of the Program’s activities, it was planned to conduct one school visit with seventh-graders, to whom the Program would be presented and a motivational campaign to continue their education, and the second one, in which they would be taken to Sеcondary or Professional school, where to be presented with their options. During this school year, the Amalipe Center team conducted a total of 12 school visits, in which students from Preselenci, Novi Pazar, Zelena Morava, Turnak, Turnava, Malorad and Muglizh participated. In addition to being given information about their options after grade 7, discussions were held about how important education is to them. The young people also visited vocational schools in the same municipality or nearby towns, where they found out what professions they could get, and even had the opportunity to try some of the vocational facilities in the respective schools they would study in the future. 

The activities of the Equal Chance program and the support that was provided were extremely important to the students. Many of them say that without the textbooks or transport cards they received (especially in the Pazardzhik region) they would not have been able to complete their education or would have had great difficulty in doing so. However, we also know that without the efforts of the students themselves, their successes would not have been a fact either. Therefore, we are extremely proud of all the students who participated in the Program during the past school year and wish them much success in the future!

Trust for Social Achievement (TSA) is a non-governmental organization whose mission is to break the vicious cycle of poverty by promoting opportunities that help Bulgaria’s most disadvantaged citizens achieve educational and economic success. TSA supports programs that, with their integrity, potential for growth and transparency, help to improve the well-being of the poorest people in Bulgaria, with a special focus on the Roma.