Velingrad

General Information
 
ROMACT Cycle: 
Closed
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Kostadin Koev
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Tanya Krasteva - Junior expert "Humanitarian and social activities"
Facilitators: 
Tsonko Tsonev and Yuksel Yasharov
Total population: 
40 707
Source: 
National census 2011
Roma living in the Municipality: 
2 141
Description of the Municipality: 

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Velingrad Municipality is located in southwestern Bulgaria and is part of Pazardzhik Province. Velingrad town administrates 21 settlements. 
 
According to official data, the Roma population consists of 5% of the total population in the municipality. However, according to municipal sources, the Roma population is about 4 600 people. They live in separate neighborhoods and are concentrated in Velingrad and Draginovo.

Some of the main problems Roma are faced with are:
• Illegal houses;
• High migration rate to western European countries;
• High unemployment rate;
• High level of discrimination against Roma;
• Absence of water supply network in parts of the Roma neighborhoods;
• Unregulated landfills;
• High rate of population without health insurance.
 

The ROMACT Process

ROMACT started in March 2020 with the signature of the Letter of agreement.

The Taskforce for Roma inclusion was created following Mayor's approval in September 2020. 

The Municipal Action Plan for Roma inclusion was adopted by the Local Council in March 2021.

Several training were provided: 

The local authorities were coached/trained on:
* Opportunities under the new Erasmus+ Program (2021-2027) in the School Education sector

The CAG members were coached/trained on:
* Role and functions of an NGO
* Role and functions of local authorities and advocacy
* Participation in the public discussion: Budget 2021 and Plan for integrated development of the municipality 2021-2027
* Registering an NGO

The Taskforce members were coached/trained on: 
* Team work

The Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following project:
"Socio-economic integration of vulnerable groups and integrated measures to improve access to education", OPHRD&OPSEIG
Budget: 750 000 euros- Approved

ROMACT Small Grants Scheme
 
ROMACT offers small grants scheme to support the efforts of the municipalities and Community Action Groups to respond together to the needs of the most vulnerable and to multiply the good practices across ROMACT municipalities.
 
Under the scheme of small grants, the following projects were supported by ROMACT between May 2020 - March 2021:
 
Initiative to counter COVID19 pandemic – Municipality of Velingrad
ROMACT supported the municipality with 3569 €, reaching 280 people with dire financial status from Roma community. The project provided essential food supplies for the families most adversely impacted by the pandemic. Volunteers from the community took part in the implementation of the project and actively assisted with the distribution of the food packages.

A Brighter Future – Municipality of Velingrad
ROMACT supported the municipality with 4923 € to install streetlights in the Asphaltova Baza and Anezitsa neighborhoods. The project improved the living conditions of the neighbourhoods where around 4500 Roma community reside in poor conditions. Streets lights provided a safer environment for children returning from school during winter and reduced petty crimes in the neighbourhood.

Together for every child – Georgi Benkovski Primary School
ROMACT supported the school with 3855 €, reaching 24 students with dire financial situation. The project provided the students with tablet PCs and internet services for one year to ensure Roma children has access to online education portals during the pandemic. The implementation of the activity was received by the community extremely positively and led to a significant inclusion of students in the online learning  process.

 

Timeline Points

25 Mar 2020
Step 1- Becoming Committed- Signature of the letter of agreement
29 Sep 2020
Creation of the Municipal Taskforce for Roma Inclusion
23 May 2021
Municipality Action Plan for Roma Inclusion was adopted by Local Council
31 Dec 2021
End of ROMACT Process
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