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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

Learning Action Partnership: Efforts for Guaranteed Sustainability

Sofia, February 12, 2020

The first for 2020 meeting of the Learning Action Partnership took place in Sofia on February 12, 2020. The agenda included review of activities done on project up to the moment, fixing of concrete future activities and defining small working groups for the different strategic directions.
Representatives of organizations and institutions who participated shared their working plans and the possibility of inclusion of other LAP members in joint activities. Part of the feedback was connected with the increase of fake news, including on priorities of the Partnership. The atmosphere of the event was businesslike, but with extremely well expressed solidarity and good collaboration feeling. In the debates during the meeting important actual topics were covered, such as increasing media and digital literacy of children and challenges, which we are meeting in our work with teachers with long practice on certain age and with burnout. Forming network of children and young people with innovative model of managing was discussed, which will aim decreasing the aggression of children under residential care. How to focus our work so that the efforts put to have guaranteed sustainability; science and research approach and regional and national level partnerships; the need to work together to change the environment – were among topics discussed during the event.

 
Most significant change: Documenting stories

Dolna Banya, January 24-26, 2020

On January 26-28 BFPA organized a meeting of the teams working on the project „My body, my rights” from Sofia, Yambol and Montana. Representatives of the three locations shared their experiences from the implemented field activities. We discussed problems which health mediators, self-help group members and their partners face and paid special attention on possible ways and strategies for solving. Participants put accent on good practices that had been identified up to the moment. It was the perfect time to watch and discuss several videos, showing the fieldwork as well as image “memes” with messages, which show benefits of family planning.
Participants gave feedback also for the freshly prepared Manual for self-support groups and for the Health application for mobile devices, which will be useful in the future work on the project and after its ending. Divided into groups by locations the participants from Sofia, Yambol and Montana worked on possible ways of documenting stories for the most significant change of people’s lives as result of the work of project teams and health specialists.

 
Start of the second edition of the Sofia Health Education Academy

Sofia, December 16, 2019

After a successful and intense first year during which the first batch of alumni peer educators of the Sofia Health Education Academy got skills and knowledge which they are already sharing with their peers, we started the second academic year. In this process the BFPA team works with valuable partners – the PIST Directorate of Sofia Municipality, the National Centre for Public Health and Analyses with MoH (NCPHA) and the Bulgarian Red Cross Youth (BRCY)
During the academic 2018-2019 teams of young people from 1st High school, 144th, 119th schools, 1st ELS and the Professional School of Textile and Fashion Design, supported by their school psychologists underwent an intensive training program and at the end of the education received certificates and demonstrated their abilities in front of schoolmates, parents and teachers.

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