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Romeo and Juliet from Kosharnik district

ActorsMSD LogoMontana, September 12, 2019

The Shakespeare and Servantes tour around the Roma neighborhoods of Bulgaria went to the Kosharnik district of Montana. Talented and enthusiastic local children, selected by the Roma actress Natalia Tzekova presented fragments of the drama “Romeo and Juliet” from a newer angle and with adequate health messages. The aim of the social theatre is with the means of art to inform the public in a comprehensible manner about the harm of early marriages and early school drop outs, the benefits of contraception, the importance of prevention of sexually transmitted infections. The messages target young people as well as their parents, some of which joined the scenes to demonstrate their support for what their children are saying. With his monologue about the Roma Don Quixote Valeri Lekov, also part of the production team, explained some of the community specificities. Between the sketches there were “real life” scenes – a woman from the community visits a doctor who explains the benefits of contraception and debunks some “fake news” about contraceptive methods – all this with a lot of humour and highly appreciated by the audience.

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BFPA kicks off a new two-year project “I Want to Know”

Positive LogoViiV LogoSofia, August 23, 2019

With an official green light on August 23, as of Sep 1st BFPA starts activities on a new project – “I WANT TO KNOW – User friendly access to HIV and STI counseling and testing for Roma youth from vulnerable communities”, supported by ViiV Healthcare’s Positive Action Programme via CAF (Charities Aid Foundation) UK. The project’s duration is 2 years, during which BFPA will provide voluntary counseling and testing (VCT) with a focus on young Roma men (but not excluding women as well) from poor and marginalized districts through its coordinators in the five BFPA branches in Bulgaria - Pleven, Stara Zagora, Plovdiv, Russe and Sofia. Activities will begin with a kick-off meeting and VCT training for the service providers, in parallel with informing and awareness raising by elaboration of info materials, disseminated in the targeted communities by one of the closest and dearest BFPA partners – Health Mediators.

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Social and health messages in Roma neighbourhoods through theatre

MSD logoActorsSofia, July 31, 2019

On the last day of July the Roma neighbourhood Fakulteta in Sofia was visited by William Shakespeare and Miguel de Servantes. We started with the best – Romeo and Juliet and Don Quixote. The Roma actress Natalia Tzekova staged a funny and educational performance with the participation of talented children and youth from the neighborhood in which the art was intertwined with social and health related messages. Romeo and Juliet demonstrated the benefits of family planning, contraception and health education and spoke in verse about the harm of school dropout, early marriages and children having children. The participants performed short sketches which contained the same messages, debunked myths and demonstrated how powerful personal example is. Don Quixote explained some of the community specificities which started a short discussion on stage who should take example from whom about health and health prevention. In between sketches and play scenes the participants shared their own personal stories about health and family planning. At the end of the play as a recap of what was presented they raised a few banners with messages on the same topic”: “I have dreams and goals”, “I am not an incubator for babies”, “Ask – someone will tell you”. The audience appreciated the messages and the element of humor in the sketches and play scenes.

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The alumni of the first Health Education Academy graduated successfully

Group photoSofia, June 17, 2019

Monday, June 17th. Our first alumni class of the Sofia Health Education Academy demonstrated their skills and knowledge in front of classmates, teachers, school directors, school psychologists, parents and supporting institutions. The solemn event took place in the Events Hall at 1st High school, Sofia. The young people from 1st, 144th, 119th schools, 1st ELS and the Professional School of Textile and Fashion Design split into three teams after “drawing straws” and presented the topics “Transformations During Puberty”, “Contraception and STIs” and “Prevention of addictions”. We are very glad that our video on puberty was part of the “fun”. Otherwise the presentations pushed the audience to participate actively. The culmination was a surprise for all – we were visited by the TV show “Masters of the air” who enhanced the effect of the challenge.

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BFPA gathered the teams from Sofia, Yambol and Montana on a work meeting

MSD logoParticipantsVarshetz, May 10-12, 2019

From May 10th trough 12th in Varshetz, BFPA held a working meeting under the “My Body, my rights” project, funded as a part of the global “MSD for Mothers” programme. Hosts and speakers at the meeting were Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Ventzislav Kirkov and Boyan Mladenov form the BFPA team in Sofia, and the participants were the local project coordinators, health mediators and social workers from the project locations: Yambol – the villages of Kukorevo, Hadjidimitrovo, Veselinovo and Zavoy; Montana – Ogosta and Kosharnik districts; Sofia –Fakulteta and Filipovci districts. During the working meeting were discussed theoretical and real practice cases from field work with representatives of marginalized groups on topics like hygiene, health messages and campaigns, STI prevention, family planning and contraception. The people working in the project locations shared their experience from this and preceding projects about field work with marginalized groups, they discussed what are the challenges and the most successful approaches for achieving the best results. Peter Tzvetanov, coordinator of project activities in Montana, presented a memorable educational session on self-help groups and his colleagues from Montana and Yambol re-enacted some interesting practical cases. Their colleagues from Sofia put up for discussion theoretical situations that may arise during work.

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

Dolna 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.

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

Sofia, 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.

 
Capacity building in the fields of communication and advocacy

Dolna Banya, August 20-22, 2020

For three days – from August 20 to 22, 2020 BFPA’s team and Board together with representatives of key partners of the Association gathered at a outside-the-box work meeting in Dolna Banya. The public relations and civic law spepcialists Diana Damyanova and Ivana Murdjeva shared with the participants important accents of their professional expertise which are significant for better understanding the public environment as well as for communicating our messages.
The goal of the event was to analyze the needs of our target groups and of the environment we work in, bearing in mind the challenges for the NGO sector and the specificities in communicating with different audiences in order to be more successful when working in ”our” niche – health prevention, family planning, sexual and reproductive health. A short historical overview of the legislative environment and key normative documents was made.

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