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LYRA - Launching Young Roma Advocates

SUPPORTED BY THE OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS

The LYRA project (Launching Young Roma Advocates, 2020 – 2022) aims to overcome inequalities in marginalized  Roma communities, especially in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), by empowering Roma young leaders and “exporting” knowledge about Roma in the mainstream majority and vice-versa. The initiative is supported by the Berlin regional office of OSI and gives focus on often underestimated and not stimulated great potential Roma youth have and on insufficient implementation of the universal health coverage of Roma minors, insufficient recognition of adolescent and teenage age children in national preventive programs in the field of maternal and child health.

The activities strive to initiate a long-term processes of formation of new generation of Roma youth advocates that could contribute to sustainable positive changes both in Roma communities and in the Bulgarian society as a whole, nationally and internationally. 

The project will address SRHR needs of Roma youth and will combat stereotypes and negligence of the Roma issues in Bulgaria, especially in the health, education and social sector.

The initiative is to include not only the youth themselves, but to collaborate with their parents. Project activities focus on creating a cohort of 24 young Roma age 16-25, from three different locations for problem solving inside and outside the marginalized communities.

The project will map the lack of implementation of the universal health access principle among the most excluded Roma minors, it will highlight gaps of existing national health program in addressing the health issues of adolescent/ teenage age children, which most significantly impact Roma minors of Bulgaria and will identify gaps of involving Roma children voices in relevant policy discussions that directly impact children life and health in the light of the UN convention on the Rights of the child.

 

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Latest news

28 new health mediators from the class of 2022 received their certificates after successfully passing the exam

Sofia, April 29, 2022

On March 21, 2021, the new scholar year was opened for health mediators from all over the country. The training is organized for the eleventh consecutive year by the National Network of Health Mediators and the Faculty of Public Health at the Medical University of Sofia. As always, BFPA experts are part of the training team. This year's course includes 28 health mediators, who will start working in May in 22 municipalities in the country.
For the third consecutive academic year, the educational sessions were online due to the still significant prevalence of Covid-19. Against this background, there is a great need for trained health mediators to support the implementation of state and municipal policies for public health. For the past two years, health mediators have been among the professionals working at the forefront and helping people from vulnerable communities by explaining, informing, reassuring, supporting the poorest families, providing donations of food and basic necessities. In many places in the country, health mediators have implemented information campaigns on the benefits of vaccination against covid-19 - this activity still continues at the moment.

 
Working Conference of LAP and Starting the ‘Eyes Peeled’ Campaign

Sofia, April 18, 2022

On April 18, 2022 in Sofia the National conference of the Learning Action Partnership on zero tolerance towards sexual exploitation of children was held.
About 70 participants from different organizations from NGO sector, state institutions, UN structures, journalists, public figures, professionals working with children and young people in Sofia and the country joined the event.
Representatives of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA), UNICEF and the International Organization of Migration (IOM) presented the LAP key activities during the years, on the global and local context of the problem sexual violence and exploitation concerning political and regulatory decisions, as well on the conditions in safe zones for the unaccompanied children passing through the country.

 
Migration: risks and opportunities during labor migration in UK

Samokov, March 28, 2022

A team from the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) delivered in Samokov an information session on March 28, 2022 in the “HUB-a” coworking space. Among the participants there representatives of the local Roma community, young people form 11 and 12 grade and their teachers, representatives of the Social services and the Municipality. Pavlina Filipova and Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova talked with the gathered about the opportunities and potential dangers when starting a job in the UK. Dobryana Petkova, a professional with long year practice in prevention of trafficking people, shared with the group on some specific marks to recognize the danger of trafficking people for labor and sexual exploitation. The training team was complemented by Villy Angelova form the British Embassy in Sofia and Ralitza Zgalevska from the BFPA team.

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