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A lot has been said about the Convention, and nothing about the women and children, victims of violence

Sofia, January 19, 2018 

Nearly 200 NGO’s, supported by academics and citizens, unite in support of the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul convention) with an open letter:
It would be funny if it wasn’t so cruel. That is how we console each other – we, the people who are not indifferent to day-to-day abuse and who for over twenty years support women, brutally beaten by their husbands and partners, help children who have suffered unthinkable forms of violence, work on legislature changes and improvements so we can save human lives. Because for us every person saved from a life of violence is a huge victory. That is our cause.
A lot of quite outrageous things have been said about the Istanbul convention, but no one mentioned the purpose of the document – namely, the women and children who are victims of violence. No political party or organization mentioned the woman from Okorsh, beaten with a hot plate. The woman from Haskovo, beaten to death. The stabbed woman from Sofia. We did not discuss the babies and children whose mothers live in constant fear for their own lives. Etc, etc….. The political and power confrontation is at the expense of the already dead women. At the expense of Elena and Viola.  At the expense of the children who will live their lives without a mother and with the nightmares of abuse and terror. At the expense of each 1 out of 3 women in Bulgaria, victim of domestic violence whose story does not reach anyone, let alone the media.  At the expense of women seeking help and it is refused to them because “it’s their own fault”. At the expense of those 70% of students between the ages of 13 and 16 who know personally a victim of domestic violence.
The situation benefits the perpetrators. It benefits those who think they have the right of ownership over their wife and children. It benefits those who beat, violate, abuse, isolate, stalk and finally kill their wife or partner. 

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BFPA at 25: Prevention, Education, Health Services, Information and Advocacy

BFPA teamSofia, December 13, 2017

Colleagues, young people, volunteers, friends and partners gathered at December 13, 2017 to celebrate together the 25th Anniversary of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA).
”People are our most valuable and precious resource”, shared Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, BFPA Executive Director. “During the years of our existence we have realized more than 70 macro projects; over 1 million and 500 thousands people received by us health services, informational materials or had been included in trainings and reached by campaigns. During our work we were the first that introduced the interactive methods of training – highly effective for working with different target groups, including in multiethnic environment. Also we introduced in our country the criteria of quality of services and the concept of youth friendly services. We have piloted and we currently use the peer education model, applied also by many other partnering institutions and organizations working with teenagers and vulnerable communities. The concept of mobile services provision in the area of sexual and reproductive health in regions with difficult access is also our achievement.”
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BFPA presents AIDS Press: HIV/AIDS – How do we Talk and Think, What do we Do on the Topic

AIDS PRESS LogoSofia, December 1, 2017

Nowadays more than ever there is a need to think on how we talk on HIV and AIDS, how media deliver messages and how we behave towards people, living with HIV. The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) challenges everyone: let’s think about how PLHIV bear the stigmatization, still present from the previous time inertia. The science is developing and progressing in its discoveries and this happens including in the area of researches concerning HIV. The HIV-infection today is treated as a chronicle disease. But insufficient information, not fully understanding of the specifics of HIV/AIDS by everyone, even by health professionals are a barrier on the adequate attitude and understanding of the issue.

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Youth in Bulgaria: Internet Is Not „Spoiling”Children! Information on it Must Happen in the Family and at School

Official guestsSofia, November 20, 2017

The Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) participated in this year’s forum Voice it 2017: Youth Opinion Matters, which was realized for a third year. The event was organized by National Network for Children and Youth Network ‘Megafon’ in partnership with UNICEF Bulgaria and celebrated 28th anniversary of the ratifying of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
BFPA, represented by Ralitsa Zgalevska and Boyan Mladenov together with two of the organizations’ youth volunteers Maggie Vasilovska and Nedko Geshev, as one of the hosts of the event gave opportunity for discussions on topics, connected with health and sexuality education. Other NGOs collected feedback of young people about the right of opinion, nondiscrimination, children and the judicial system, harassment and violence, mental health, education, internet and digital literacy.

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Prevention of Sexual Violence and Sexual Exploitation of Children is Possible

OAK LogoOfficial guestsSofia, November 17-18, 2017

The Learning Action Partnership (LAP) conducted its first conference „Prevention of sexual violence and sexual exploitation of children is possible” on November 17 and 18, 2017 and thus officially declared its existence in public space. The agenda included presentations, panel discussions with representatives of state institutions and discussion. The topic of sexual exploitation of children was presented and discussed from different aspects, as the aim of organizers and participants was together to look for ways to improve the working coordination mechanism for reaction after cases of sexual exploitation and violence, to exchange good practices, as well to unite their efforts in the name of the cause to reach as a society zero tolerance towards cases of violence and sexual exploitation of children.

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Second training of the peer educators from Sofia Academy for health education

Petrohan, April 12-14, 2019

In the three days between April 12 and 14 took place the second module of the preparation of peer educators from the Health and Sexuality Education Youth Academy, realized with the support of the PIST directorate of Sofia Municipality. The focus of the second stage of education was upon elaboration of communication skills, teambuilding and team work, acquiring of knowledge about the prevention of trafficking of human beings, knowledge of hygiene as a starting point to peer education, adopting healthy eating habits and preventing eating disorders, work with vulnerable groups. In addition to health knowledge, the future peer educators acquired also social and personal ones – how to define one’s personal space – useful when working with young people with disabilities, and how to plan their own free time.

 
The health mediators from Montana, Zaichar and Pirot share their experience

Zaechar – Pirot, March 20-21, 2019 

On March 20th and 21st 2019 the health mediators from Montana participated in working meetings with their colleagues in Zaichar and Pirot. The meetings are organized by BFPA and  take place within the final phase of the ZOV (HEA) programme (Health and Education for All), supported by the Bulgarian – Swiss Cooperation Programme. Besides the members of the National Network of Health Mediators (NNHM) from Montana, in the study trip were included health specialists working with vulnerable communities in the field, representatives of the Regional Health Inspectorate and of the local municipality. Their colleagues were expecting them in Serbia: representatives of local authorities, local NGOs in Zaichar and Pirot, health specialists, volunteers from the vulnerable local communities.
The key topics on which Bulgarian and Serbian colleagues worked together were exchange of ideas, presenting good practices related to improving the access to health services, education and social services for marginalized groups. The health mediators from Montana were selected to share their experience due to the good results they achieved in their work on the ZOV Programme.

 
First field activities under the Project “My Body, My Rights”

Sofia, Montana, Yambol, February 18-28, 2019

 Partners in the project ‘My Body, my Rights’ (2018–2021) gathered in Sofia on February 25 and 26, 2019 to exchange experience and information. The initiative for health care, information and services for vulnerable people from marginalized families is implemented in Sofia, Yambol and Montana. The meeting gathered the team of BFPA, local project coordinators and health mediators form the three locations, as well as municipalities representatives.
So far, the project team conducted 24 focus groups in the three project locations Montana, Sofia and Yambol - 6 in each one. Participants in the focus groups were girls and boys aged 12-15, 16-25 and over 25 years old. The aim is to explore the attitudes of young people in the communities (especially marginalized groups) towards the family planning services offered and whether they can take independent decisions about their reproductive health.

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