Bulgaria: news from Shumen and Byala Slatina

 via the Bulgarian National Support Team

On the 28th of April in Byala Slatina a meeting took place between the Community Action Group (CAG) and the Mayor of the municipality – eng. Ivo Tzvetkov. During the meeting the problems of the Roma community identified by the CAG were presented, along with proposals for initiatives to solve these issues, the question of the participation of the Community Action Group in the newly established Municipal Council on Ethnic and Integration Issues, and the future update of the strategy on the integration of Roma of the municipality.

During the same meeting, some of the short-term requests of the Community Action Group were voiced such as cleaning the road to the Roma graveyard, rebuilding the children’s playground and other issues related to infrastructure. In response, the Mayor encouraged the CAG to apply for participation in the Municipal Council on Ethnic and Integration Issues as well as in the development of the municipal integration strategy.

In Byala Slatina, the municipality is renovating an office space with the purpose of granting the CAG the necessary space where they can hold their regular meetings. (photo)

In Shumen, after the meeting of the CAG with representatives of the Direction on Education and Culture within the municipality of Shumen, two of the short-term problems of the Roma community which were introduced at the meeting were addressed within a few days.

The first issue mentioned, which was almost immediately solved, was to clean the illegal dumpsites between the neighbourhoods “Bialata prust” and “Everest”. Thanks to the quick reaction of the municipality at this point the problem is solved.

Another issue noted by the CAG was that sometimes Roma children miss classes although they are formally registered as attending. Some of the children have migrated abroad together with their families. After discussion between the CAG and representatives of the Direction on Education and Culture of the municipality, the Regional Educational Inspectorate checked the school attendance of Roma children in three of the municipalities’ schools –  High School “Trajko Simeonov”, 6th Basic School “Enio Markovski” and in the 3rd Basic School “Dimitar Blagoev”.

Finally, the Community Action Group members took also active part in the national campaign “Let's clean Bulgaria” on the 26th of April and cleaned their neighbourhoods (photo gallery).

The  group continues to be active and is getting prepared for the participatory planning meeting which is bound to take place in June.

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