Shumen

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Closed
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Krasimir Kostov
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Hristinka Baeva, expert “Education and Culture” Department
Facilitators: 
Milen Milanov
Total population: 
93 649
Source: 
Census 2011
Roma living in the Municipality: 
4 042
Description of the Municipality: 

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The municipality of Shumen is in the central part of North Eastern Bulgaria, with Shuman as the main city and an additional 26 villages.  The total population for the municipality is approximately 94.000 inhabitants.  There are about 2.200 Roma in the municipality, mainly concentrated in three Roma neighbourhoods: Byalata Prast, Vitosha and Everest. Some smaller communities are located in the surrounding villages: Vehtovo, Gradishte, Drumevo, Ivanski, Iliya Bluskovo, Salmanovo and Struyino.
 
In the three main Roma neighbourhoods, 90% of the households live in unfit illegal housing. The lack of knowledge of Bulgarian language combined with non-attendance in compulsory preschool has resulted in low educational attainment for this community.  Over 60 % of the Roma inhabitants of Shumen lack health insurance and therefore lack suitable access to health services. Unemployment and anti-Gypsyism are also issues affecting Roma in Shumen.   

With the signature of the Letter of Commitment signed by the Mayor on the on the 21 November 2013 Shumen joined ROMACT. The Roma Community Action Group (CAG) was set up with the help of a ROMACT facilitator by February 2014. The CAG gathers approximately 10 Roma from Byalata Prast, Everest and Vitosha neighbourhoods, 4 of group are female.  The group notably also includes members who are health and employment mediators, an NGO representative, a former municipal councillor and civically engaged young people.

After four meetings, the representatives of the municipality and members of the CAG identified and agreed on the priority development needs of the Roma community with concentration on education, health, employment, housing, infrastructure and culture. These needs are addressed in a Joint Action Plan which includes the following measures:
EDUCATION
 

  • Providing equal access to education for children from ethnic minorities;
  • Raising the level of education in preschool groups where Roma children are enrolled;
  • Educating for tolerance and the preservation of Romani culture as part of the Bulgarian culture;
  • Preventing early school drop-out and reintegrating drop-outs into the educational system;
  • Encouraging responsible parenthood concerning the education of children;
  • Raising competences of the pedagogical staff to work in an intercultural environment.

 
HEALTHCARE

  • Decreasing child mortality;
  • Improving health care for new-borns and children of preschool age;
  • Increasing the use of preventative medicines among Roma;
  • Improving access to healthcare for disadvantaged Roma;
  • Raising knowledge of health care in Roma communities;
  • Increasing the number of people from ethnic minorities with healthcare insurance;
  • Monitoring and evaluating the health status of people from ethnic minorities;

 
EMPLOYMENT

  • Providing information for Roma with the aim to find employment;
  • Promoting employment of Roma through increasing the qualifications and pre-qualifications of Roma ;
  • Promoting competitiveness of Roma in the employment market through job-seeking skills training;
  • Providing more permanent employment opportunities for working age Roma citizens.

 
RULE OF LAW AND NON-DISCRIMINATION

  • Improving tolerance between interethnic groups by creating various cultural and education focused activities;
  • Strengthening the representation of Roma at all levels of public administration;
  • Preventing aggressive behaviour in schools and institutions;

 
HOUSING

  • Improving the housing conditions of Roma and other vulnerable families;
  • Improving the practical community infrastructure and public utilities;

 
YOUTH ACTIVITIES

  • Fostering attitudes in our young people so that they become active citizens and engage in the wider community;
  • Preserving, developing and promoting Roma ethnic culture as an integral part of the Bulgarian national culture and also creating conditions for equal access of Roma to wider public cultural life at various levels;

 
The Joint Action Plan was adopted by the Local Council on 29 January 2015. The implementation was, however, delayed due to the negative attitude of the Deputy Mayor responsible for the Programme and her reluctance to address the issue.

In spite of this lack of political will, some of the initiatives have already been approved by the municipality and the implementation of these measures involved members of the CAG on multi-levels, these actions were in addition to what had already been approved by the municipality through the Joint Action Plan.  These additional initiatives were:

  • The removal of an illegal dumpsite located between two of the neighbourhoods;
  • The repair of street lights in Byalata Prast;
  • An inspection held at several school attendance records for Roma children conducted by experts from the Regional Educational Inspectorate.

The CAG was also consulted by the municipality on the draft of the Action Plan of the Shumen municipality on the implementation of the  Regional Strategy for Integration of Bulgarian Roma Citizens and Other Civilians in a Vulnerable Social Situation, Living in the Same Situation as Roma 2015-2020.

Timeline Points

21 Nov 2013
Signature of ROMACT letter of commitment
29 Jan 2015
Adoption of the Joint Action Plan
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