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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

Covid-19 pandemic – analyzed and explained
Sofia, January 7, 2021
 
Online meeting with Prof. Radka Argirova, MD, leading virologist with prominent scientific and practical experience was held on January 7th, 2021. The meeting provoked interest and attracted attention of more than 80 people from all regions of the country – among them were representatives of Learning Action Partnership (LAP), BFPA staff and Management bard, NGOs, institutions, medical doctors and health mediators. The topic of the event was ‘ SARS-CoV-2 – About the Virus, Specific Diagnostics and Vaccines’ . During the more than two hours and a half lasted forum was presented a lecture including information about arising epidemics and pandemics, mechanisms of occurrence and evolution of viruses; main generally accepted facts, diagnosis and development of Covid 19. Review of the types of tests for Covid 19 was made, qualities of antigen test and types of PCR tests were discussed, as special attention was drawn to cases with false negative results, asymptomatic patients, and symptomatic patients with negative results. Special attention was also given to the different vaccines elaborated to combat the virus. Participants took the opportunity to ask additional questions after the lecture. You can listren to them in Bulgarian here
 
Outwitting the pandemic - in search of digital applications for health education and information

Sofia, Montana, Yambol, December 2020

Despite the restrictions imposed by the measures against Covid 19, in recent months the planned activities in the second year of the project "My body, my rights", supported by the socially responsible business program "MSD for mothers", continue in three locations - Sofia, Montana and Yambol. The coordinators of the project by places - Fakulteta district in Sofia - Valentin Blagoev, Kosharnik quarter and Ogosta quarter in Montana - Petar Tsvetanov and the whole Tundzha municipality in Yambol (the villages of Veselinovo, Kukorevo, Tenevo, Zavoy) - Kina Assenova, hold meetings of self-help groups - though in  more limited numbers due to precautionary measures, conduct training events for young people - outdoors, through specialized stands for distribution of printed materials for the project itself and for the SRH in general, and most importantly - support marginalized members of communities with hygiene materials, essential goods and medicines and specialized information for prevention from Covid, along with the usual topics - prevention of unwanted pregnancy, prevention of STIs, maternal and child health and many others, through selfless and exhausting walking from the neck of door due to the impossibility to organize large information sessions.

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

Sofia, 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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