Training on Roma history, language and culture (fight against internalized antigypsyism) took place between 31 March and 04 April 2023.

Training on Roma history, language and culture (combating antigypsyism) under the Youth Against Antigypsyism Project took place between 31 March and 4 April 2023 in Sofia, Bulgaria. The training is part of a series of trainings organized by Center Amalipe and Phiren Amenca, within the framework of the project “Youth Against Antigypsyism” – YAG
During the training the participants had the opportunity to get to know each other and work on several key topics: Roma history, language and culture; the challenge of being a Roma woman; internalized antigypsyism; identity formation; Roma celebrities. During the first day, led by Deyan Kolev and Teodora Krumova, participants explored Roma history, language and culture, as well as the challenge of being a Roma woman. Participants had the opportunity to work in groups on each of the topics, with each group presenting the Roma groups they had information about from their countries and regions. Kolev introduced the participants to the different Roma groups and subgroups, both in Bulgaria and in EU countries. In addition, Deyan Kolev presented to the participants the different theories about the origin of Roma, as well as the important dates in Roma history.










Afterwards, the participants continued their session with Teodora Krumova, who presented in an interactive way the topic of the challenge of being a Roma woman, as the participants examined the stereotypes among the community. The participants were divided into several groups and given different case studies in which they had to take on their roles. Ms. Krumova gave homework to all participants to find information about famous Roma women they know in order to make a publication.
At the end of the first day, Raicho Chaprazov joined the training and introduced the participants to Roma celebrities in the world. He presented in an innovative way to the participants how world proven actors, musicians, producers show and are proud of Roma culture.
On the second day of the training, Boyan Zahariev from the Open Society Institute was a trainer who presented to the participants a survey on social distances towards Roma. In the second part of the training he presented the term internalized antigypsyism, and the participants had the opportunity to work in groups again.
In the afternoon, Ognyan Isaev – Director of Educational Programmes at the Trust for Social Alternative presented to the participants the topic of identity formation – the participants had to make a tree with roots, a pole and a crown, with each part of the tree representing a different element forming the identity of a person. At the end of his part, Mr. Isaev shared his personal story about his path to success.
At the end of the day, Lalo Kamenov, Director of the Center for Educational Integration of Children and Students from Ethnic Minorities, was the guest speaker. He presented to the participants the main activities of the center and how they are implemented. He stressed that Roma inclusion needs such young people to take matters into their own hands and start paving the way for the future generation to eliminate discrimination among the Roma community. The participants asked Mr. Kamenov many questions related to the education system in Bulgaria and what efforts he is making to ensure that schools and kindergartens are not segregated.









On the third day of the training the participants visited the Professional High School of Textile and Leather Products in Sofia. They met with students from 8th to 12th grade. Following an old Bulgarian tradition, the guests were welcomed at the school by a student dressed in traditional Bulgarian costume, who held a bread with colourful salt for them to taste. The school’s director Valentina Dimitrova together with teachers, an educational mediator and a social worker presented the school as well as the professional fields in which the children are trained. The participants had the opportunity to see how clothes and shoes are made. After a short tour of the school and an introduction to its history, the participants were divided into two groups in two separate rooms where they met the students. In the groups, three people were chosen to tell their personal stories to the students to motivate them to continue their education. Tashko Kirilov – teacher, Rayna Emilova – teacher and Maria Atanasova – CEU student shared their personal stories.
After the visit to the school, the participants visited the National Assembly in Bulgaria, where the Parliament’s PR gave them a tour of the building, introducing them to the work of an MP, how to vote, how laws are made. During their visit the participants had a discussion related to the history of the parliament. At the end of the tour, the participants left their messages to the new MPs elected on 2 April 2023.
At the end of the day, participants gave feedback on the training. They said that the training had achieved its objectives and also “it was interesting, innovative and full of very detailed information”.


The training was implemented within the YAG project by Center “Amalipe”, Bulgaria. The YAG project (Project No. 101049207) is funded by the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme (CERV) of DG Justice, European Commission and coordinated by the Phiren Amenca International Network, Belgium in partnership with RGDTS, Hungary and the Centre for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “Amalipe”, Bulgaria. However, the views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or [name of the granting authority]. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.