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 located in the central part of North Eastern Bulgaria. It groups the main city of Shumen and 26 villages with a total population of about 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 poor illegal housing. The lack of knowledge of Bulgarian language combined with non-attendance in compulsory preschool results in a low level of education. The lack of health insurance for over 60 % of the Roma inhabitants of Shumen is an obstacle to access any health services. Unemployment and lastly anti-Gypsyism are also issues affecting Roma in Shumen.   
Shumen joined ROMACT with the signature of the Letter of Commitment by the Mayor on the on 21 November 2013. The Roma Community Action Group was set up with the help of the facilitator by February 2014. The CAG gathers around 10 Roma from Byalata Prast, Everest and Vitosha neighbourhoods, 4 of them being women. The group notably comprises also members such as the health and employment mediators, an NGO representative, former municipal councillor and some active young people.
After four meetings, the representatives of the municipality, together with members of the CAG, had identified and agreed on the priority development needs of the Roma community in the fields of education, health, employment, housing, infrastructure and culture. These needs are addressed in a Joint Action Plan which includes the following measures:
EDUCATION

  • Provision of equal access to education for children from ethnic minorities;
  • Raising the level of education in preschool groups where Roma children are enrolled;
  • Education for tolerance and preservation of Romani culture as part of the Bulgarian culture;
  • Early school drop-out prevention and reintegration of drop-outs in the educational system;
  • Responsible parenthood about the education of the children;
  • Raising competences of the pedagogical staff to work in an intercultural environment.

 
HEALTH CARE

  • Decreasing child mortality;
  • Improvement of health care for new born and children of preschool age;
  • Improvement of the prophylactics among Roma;
  • Improvement of access to healthcare for Roma in disadvantaged position;
  • Raising the health care knowledge of Roma;
  • Increasing the number of people from ethnic minorities with healthcare insurances;
  • Monitoring and evaluation of health status of people from ethnic minorities;

 
EMPLOYMENT

  • Provision of information for Roma with the aim to find employment;
  • Promotion of employment through qualification and prequalification;
  • Promoting competitiveness through training on how to look for jobs;
  • Provision of permanent employment for individuals of active labour age;

RULE OF LAW AND NON-DISCRIMINATION

  • Validation of tolerant interethnic relations through various forms of cultural and educational activities;
  • Strengthening the representation of Roma in public administration at all levels;
  • Prevention of aggressive behaviour in school and in various institutions;

HOUSING

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

YOUTH ACTIVITIES

  • Formation of attitudes among young people for active citizenship and initiative;
  • Preservation, development and promotion of the specific ethnic culture of the Roma as part of the Bulgarian national culture and creating conditions for equal access of Roma to public cultural life at different 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.
Nevertheless, additionally to what has been decided to be implemented through the Joint Action Plan, some of the initiatives have been already approved by the municipality and their implementation involved the members of the CAG at different levels:

  • An illegal dumpsite located between two of the neighbourhoods was removed;
  • Street lights in Byalata Prast were repaired;
  • Experts from the Regional Educational Inspectorate checked the school attendance of Roma children in several schools.

The CAG was also consulted by the municipality on the draft of the Action Plan of Shumen municipality for the implementation of 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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