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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

How Health Knowledge to Get to Roma Communities

Dolna Banya, July 5-7, 2022

After two days fulfilling work on leadership and advocacy with unbelievable roma young people from Lom, Dupnitsa and Byala Slatina problems in respective communities were identified. Discussions in searching the best decisions were led; image of the target groups and stakeholders was created and the needed communication skills on leading a successful campaign were discussed. Role plays, practical cases and individual video presentations with messages were commented.
The health mediators Tanya Kirilova from Lom, Daniela Ljubenova from Dupnitza and Mirena Bocheva from Byala Slatina are real mentors for the young people from the communities they work for. The three of them, together with Dr. Rada Stamenkova, Pavlina Filipova and Ralitsa Zgalevska from BFPA team actively contributed to support the motivated and well-prepared young people, enthusiastic to advocate for better health of people from their communities. In the coming months the team will continue to work on building their capacity as leaders and to help them with expertise and guidelines.

 
ARIE project coordination meeting

Ljubljana, June 24, 2022

On June 24, a reporting and coordination meeting on the ARIE project, supported by the ERASMUS+ program of the EU was held in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Project coordinators, from the 6 organizations from the participating countries - the project leader Italy, Lithuania, Greece, Bulgaria (BFPA is the Bulgarian project partner), Romania and the host of the meeting Slovenia. The previous activities carried out in individual countries were discussed: dissemination of the methodology and pilot training of end users – people living with HIV (PLHIV). The representatives of the individual countries talked about the difficulties and obstacles in the implementation of the activities, and then shared their successes, passing on valuable experience to the other participants. Future actions on the project and deadlines for their implementation were identified.

 
BFPA supports parents' and teachers’ communities in Pasarel in their search for the right communication channels with children and adolescents

Pasarel, June 11, 2022

The primary school in the village of Pasarel hosted a meeting between parents, teachers and representatives of the Bulgarian Family Planning and Sexual Health Association (BFPA) Dr. Rada Stamenkova and Ralitsa Zgalevska on Saturday, June 11, 2022. The director Ivaylo Kiskinov and the school psychologist Nadezhda Dedova, on whose initiative the event took place, were also at the vivid discussion, planned as a two-hour but prolonged three-hours without break - there were many questions, long answers, shared opinions, personal stories, observations and experience exchanged. It was about how to talk with children for growing up before they reach puberty, how to prepare them for the changes ahead, how to stay calm and confident as they go through the challenges of this specific and difficult age; how to stay in touch with them without avoiding awkward questions and at the same time not manipulating the information they receive, together with enhancing the ability to identify fake news on Internet.

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