Integrated Approach for Social Inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable Groups in the region of Ruse Municipality

Project completed

The goal of the project is to support the Bulgarian Government to implement the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma in Bulgaria (2012-2020) which aims at improving their living conditions through better access to services and rights for the Roma community and at empowering Roma through strengthened cultural integration and identity, improved acceptance and enhanced Roma participation in decision making/policy institutions.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Improving social security
01.07.2015 - 30.04.2019
CHF 1'234'954

Note: the texts under all the headings, with the exception of 'Results achieved', describe the situation before the start of the project.


According to the 2011 census, the population of the district of Ruse is 216,612 people, of whom 8, 615 identify themselves as Roma. A large number of Roma practicing Islam identify themselves as Turkish and speak Turkish. A large number of Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin who practise Christianity identify themselves as Bulgarians. The main problems in Roma neighbourhoods in Ruse, Ivanovo, Borovo and Vetovo include i) lower rate of pre-school enrolment of Roma children compared to other communities ii) parents’ underestimation of their children’s education and the difficult adaptation of Roma children in kindergartens and primary schools due to their lack of habits on hygiene, eating, and lack of knowledge of the Bulgarian language iii) low health awareness iv) high morbidity, high mortality, shorter average life expectancy of Roma and v) lack of information concerning maternal and child health.


The overall objective of the project is to improve the living conditions and to create the right conditions for sustainable integration of marginalized and socially excluded communities with a focus on Roma and others living in similar situations in the municipalities of Ruse, Ivanovo, Borovo and Vetovo. 

Specific objectives are: 

  1. Roma and other vulnerable groups in Ruse Municipality benefit from better access to education services

  2. Roma and other vulnerable groups in Ruse Municipality benefit from better access to healthcare services

Roma and other vulnerable groups identity and acceptance in Ruse Municipality are strengthened.

Target groups

Roma and other vulnerable groups

  • Comprehensive inclusion of Roma children in the educational process (work with kindergartens and primary schools in the main municipality (Ruse) and Ivanovo, Borovo and Vetovo municipalities
  • Training on development of the creative potential and socialization of Roma students, language training etc.
  • Creating a sustainable model of cooperation between Roma parents, a wide range of experts, educational specialists, school boards, local authorities and NGOs to improve the quality of decisions parents make regarding their children's education
  • Training for professionals on pedagogical work in multicultural environment and skills for multicultural dialogue
  • Building access to quality outpatient and specialized healthcare services (training for emergency and outpatient care physicians for operations in the Roma community, campaigns on the risk of teenage births, abortion etc.
  • Establishing 4 Medical Care Units in the community. Selection and training of 6 Roma health mediators
  • Establishing 4 Public Advisory Councils on Roma issues, 24 festival/events on Roam cultural information

Achieved results:  

(by the end of 2018)

  • Repaired and equipped kindergarten
  • 2 afterschool programmes covering more than 50 kids
  • Modules of after school activities for pre-school children
  • A manual for teaching Bulgarian to kindergarten and primary school children has been developed
  • Psychological consultations with parents in all locations
  • Health campaigns for children and parents
  • 7 health and educational mediators being invoved in activities
  • 867 general examinations, 166 gynecological examinations and 1200 screenings completed

Expected results:  

  • Establishing and functioning of 4 Public Advisory Councils on Roma issues in the partner municipalities of Ruse, Ivanovo, Borovo and Vetovo
  • Establishing 12 educational premises with improved facilities and equipment
  • Selection, training and appointment of 8 educational mediators;
  • Training of the pedagogical staff in the kindergartens and schools
  • Expanding of health knowledge and providing access to health information with specific focus on primary healthcare, reproductive health and family planning and mother and child health to the target population
  • Establishing 4 Medical Care Units in the municipalities in the segregated areas, securing an easier access to health services for people living in the Roma communities
  • Training and appointment of 6 Roma health mediators. After the completion of the project the health mediators shall continue their work in the respective municipality through delegated budgets.

Directorate/federal office responsible SDC
Credit area Swiss Contribution to the enlarged EU
Project partners Contract partner
Foreign state institution

Budget Current phase Swiss budget CHF   1'234'954 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   245'875 Budget inclusive project partner CHF   1'452'888
Project phases Phase 9 01.09.2016 - 30.04.2019   (Completed) Phase 8 01.09.2016 - 30.04.2019   (Completed) Phase 7 01.04.2016 - 30.04.2019   (Completed) Phase 6 01.07.2015 - 30.04.2019   (Completed) Phase 5 01.07.2015 - 30.04.2019   (Completed)

Phase 4 01.07.2015 - 30.04.2019   (Completed)