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

Group photoPetrohan, 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.

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

ParticipantsZaechar – 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.

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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.

 
Six Small Projects in the Frame of LAP Supported

Sofia, October 2020

The second competition for small projects for organizations of Learning Action Partnership (LAP) took place in June and July 2020. In the defined for collecting proposals deadline five proposals were presented, among which with the help of a special selected committee, as well of organizations members of LAP, for supporting were approved three:
Project ‘ACT>Re-Act>ImpACT! – innovative approach for advocacy of HGO concerning sexual exploitation of children’ of Re-Act Association has the ambition to develop innovative business oriented approach for effective advocacy of NGO with the help of professionals in marketing sphere.
Project ‘Can You See Me? – the hidden vulnerability of children from sexual exploitation and violence’ of ‘Parents’ Association will contribute for improving and effective applying of ‘Mechanism for reaction against harassment and violence in the institutions in the system of preschool and school education’ as exploring the gaps concerning prevention and its effective applying in cases of risk and/or cases of sexual exploitation and violence against children, including online.
Project ‘Individual Protection – advocating for changes in the legislation for individual assessment of children victims of sexual exploitation’ of Social Activities and Practices Institute (SAPI) is aiming to improve the policy and the law on individual assessment of children, victims of crimes, incl. sexual exploitation within the meaning of a directive 29/2012/ЕС.

 
Two round tables at the second year end of the project “My body, my rights”

Yambol, September 24, 2020
Montana, September 28, 2020

At the end of the second year of BFPA’s project “My body, my rights”, supported by the initiative for socially responsible business “MSD for mothers”, the association organized round tables on the need and benefits of family planning with a focus on vulnerable communities in two of the project locations. During the meetings a recap of the activities up to now was made and future ones were discussed for the third year. Both events were attended by  municipal representatives, Regional health inspectorate, Regional health insurance fund, health mediators, health specialists, representatives of local NGOs, Community support centers, social workers and most importantly – members of the target communities in which activities are implemented.
A special accent was BFPA’s new short animated products - “Family planning” and “Pregnancy with a smile”. The discussion was on the activities until now and their effect on improving the level of information in the target groups, the need for such activities in general, the best working communication channels in the Roma community, the role of the self help groups and the health mediators, the difficulties caused by COVID-19 and other problems, i.e. the duplication and decentralization of social activities from different institutions. A recapitulation of what has been done until now in Montana was made by Dr. Radosveta Stamenkova, Executive Director of BFPA and Petar Tzvetanov, local Project Coordinator, and for Yambol – Tzveta Petkova, member of NNHM’s Board and Kina Asenova, local Project Coordinator.

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