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Break the Silence: Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Violence of Children Could Happen Everywhere

Campaign posterSofia, November 18, 2020

Break the Silence: November 18 is the European Day on protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual violence.
The first thing that comes to mind when we hear ‘sexual exploitation’ is usually connected with red lanterns, streets or roads with women (and men) sex workers, trafficking of human beings. Sexual exploitation of children could have also other faces – sex services in exchange of expensive things such as smart phone or modern accessory or at the cost of a lunch, sweets or instead of rent for parents’ accommodation. It can happen via internet and to affect minors before they become teenagers. That’s why it is needed to break the silence and to ask for zero tolerance concerning this ugly phenomenon. Statistics show that one of five children becomes victim of violence, including sexual. As parents we can prevent this: we can teach them for instance on the Rule of the Bathing Suit. It says that no one has the right to touch their body, especially where the body is covered by a swimming bathing suit. Medical examinations and manipulations as well don’t have to be allowed without their informed consent. The rule helps children to understand that their bodies are their own, that there is good and bad touching, as well es personal borders and social ethnic norms.

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Six Small Projects in the Frame of LAP Supported

OAK logoSofia, October 2020

The second competition for small projects for organizations of Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place in June and July 2020. In the defined for collecting proposals deadline five proposals were presented, among which with the help of a special selected committee, as well of organizations members of LAP, for supporting were approved three:
ReAct logoProject ‘ACT>Re-Act>ImpACT! – innovative approach for advocacy of HGO concerning sexual exploitation of children’ of Re-Act Association has the ambition to develop innovative business oriented approach for effective advocacy of NGO with the help of professionals in marketing sphere.
Logo RoditeliProject ‘Can You See Me? – the hidden vulnerability of children from sexual exploitation and violence’ of ‘Parents’ Association will contribute for improving and effective applying of ‘Mechanism for reaction against harassment and violence in the institutions in the system of preschool and school education’ as exploring the gaps concerning prevention and its effective applying in cases of risk and/or cases of sexual exploitation and violence against children, including online.
SAPI logoProject ‘Individual Protection – advocating for changes in the legislation for individual assessment of children victims of sexual exploitation’ of Social Activities and Practices Institute (SAPI) is aiming to improve the policy and the law on individual assessment of children, victims of crimes, incl. sexual exploitation within the meaning of a directive 29/2012/ЕС.

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Two round tables at the second year end of the project “My body, my rights”

ParticipantsMSD logoYambol, September 24, 2020
Montana, September 28, 2020

At the end of the second year of BFPA’s project “My body, my rights”, supported by the initiative for socially responsible business “MSD for mothers”, the association organized round tables on the need and benefits of family planning with a focus on vulnerable communities in two of the project locations. During the meetings a recap of the activities up to now was made and future ones were discussed for the third year. Both events were attended by  municipal representatives, Regional health inspectorate, Regional health insurance fund, health mediators, health specialists, representatives of local NGOs, Community support centers, social workers and most importantly – members of the target communities in which activities are implemented.
A special accent was BFPA’s new short animated products - “Family planning” and “Pregnancy with a smile”. The discussion was on the activities until now and their effect on improving the level of information in the target groups, the need for such activities in general, the best working communication channels in the Roma community, the role of the self help groups and the health mediators, the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and other problems, i.e. the duplication and decentralization of social activities from different institutions. A recapitulation of what has been done until now in Montana was made by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of BFPA and Petar Tzvetanov, local Project Coordinator, and for Yambol – Tzveta Petkova, member of NNHM’s Board and Kina Asenova, local Project Coordinator.

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My Body, My Rights: Meeting of the Teams from Montana, Sofia and Yambol

MSD logoParticipantsDolna Banya, September 2-4, 2020

Meeting of the teams on the project ‘My Body, My Rights’, supported by the prohgamme for socially responsible business “MSD for Mothers” took place in Dolna Banya on September 2-4, 2020. Special guests during the event were the Executive Director of ‘St. Sofia’ First OB Hospital Dr. Gergana Kolarova and the coordinator of BFPA in Pleven Dr. Krasimir Romanov. The priceless opportunity to have a direct dialog with Dr. Kolarova was highly appreciated by the team in Sofia and gave them the possibility to adjust the field efforts and optimize the collaboration with the hospital in the field of family planning.
Topics of the discussions during the three-day meeting were: what examinations to be done during the pregnancy and what is doing the gynecologist in the different stages; what are the benefits from health insurances; how much does it cost and how to recover health insurance rights; the benefits of visualization for understanding the information. Short educational films, developed to help the work at local level, were presented.
The work during the three days with health mediators and other colleagues working on the field from Montana, Sofia and Yambol included discussing the progress currently made and future activities trill the project end.
In the crisis months from the beginning of the year two tenth graders from Yambol were close to drop out from school due to the death of their parents, but the project team supported them and the boys will finish their secondary education. Two of the girls, trained on the project this year will be studying pedagogy in Veliko Tarnovo University.

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The Learning action partnership was introduced to Safenet’s Cyber Scout Programme

OAK logoParticipantsSofia, August 24, 2020

“I’m a 15-year old boy, in the ninth grade. Recently I met a girl in the social networks. After chatting a few days in Skype, we turned on cameras, send saucy pictures…. Now it transpires the girl is not a girl at all, I was recorded and being blackmailed, for money, for more pictures, otherwise the recordings will be made widely public. What do I do to get out of this situation?”
Another case:
“I’m in the sixth grade. A classmate who is a Facebook friend of our history teacher downloaded her picture and made her a professional profile in a porn site. What do I do, how do I react?”
The two cases are just a small part of the one-day training on the Cyber Scout programme for internet safety and online security for the members of the Learning action partnership (LAP). We talked about online bullying, online sexual exploitation, about the ways we should react, what rules apply, what is allowed and effective… We review different cases – from a threat from a pedophile regarding the security of a child to an innocent at first exchange between friends which escalates to online harassment that can have serious and long-term consequences for the victim’s life and mentality.

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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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