“The interaction with the community – a factor for a better future and successful integration” – Social inclusion of Roma and other vulnerable groups in Shumen Municipality

Project completed

“The interaction with the community – a factor for a better future and successful integration”-project of the municipality of Shumen will support the Bulgarian Government to implement the National Strategy for the Integration of Roma in Bulgaria (2012-2020). The project aims at improving the living conditions through better access to services and rights for the Roma community and at empowering Roma and facilitating better acceptance towards Roma community through strengthened cultural integration and identity.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Improving social security
01.09.2016 - 30.04.2019
CHF 313'931

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


The Roma and Turk population in Shumen and Ivanski is 13’006 out of a total population of 76 463. Many Roma prefer to identify themselves as Turks or Bulgarian in order to avoid stigma and discrimination.

The main problems are: i) low attendance of Roma in the kindergartens, ii) low attendance of Roma in the pre-schools groups iii) low academic achievements of students from 1 to 4 grades, excessive drop-outs, and inability to continue their education after the 8th grade, iv) pregnant women do not attend the prenatal consultations regularly, v) part of the Roma population is not insured or have cancelled their health insurance for lack of funds, vi) those who are covered by the health insurance (children 0-18 and pensioners) are not registered with a general practitioner and vii) most of the diseases are the result of bad hygienic conditions and poverty.


The goal is improving living conditions of marginalized and socially excluded Roma people and other vulnerable groups in the city of Shumen and in the village of Ivanski, as well as strengthening a sustainable social and cultural integration of these groups of population. Main outcomes are:

  • Roma children have an enhanced access to sustainable and improved education services corresponding to their needs.
  • Roma parents better understand and are actively engaged in the education process of their children.

  • Children, young mothers/families and pregnant women from marginalized groups have equal access to and use of primary healthcare, and in particular obstetrical and pediatric medical services.

  • Roma people have improved their knowledge of their rights to healthcare and have adopted healthier behavioral patterns

  • Roma community is empowered and the municipal authorities and citizens demonstrate improved acceptance towards Roma community
Target groups

Roma and other vulnerable groups 


Education: measures for reducing dropping out of school with prevention program for Roma children; opening of a new pre-school group in Shumen and construction of an educational center in primary school in Ivanski village; work with Roma parents to enhance their motivation for education cursus of their children through trained education mediators; improving the qualification of teachers for work in multicultural environment.

Healthcare: 1 new health mediator recruited, trained and employed in Ivanski village; health awareness campaign conducted and health education material distributed by the Family Consultation Centre (FCC); renovated health center in Ivanski.

Empowerment and cultural identity: Events organized in public places on a regular basis: sports events and celebrations of Roma holidays; dissemination of a positive image of Roma and project results through measures for publicity and information


Achieved results:  

(by the end of 2018) 

  • The kindergarten and its branch have been renovated as planned (a new group of 18 children aged 5-6 are now attending the kindergarten).
  • The children attending catch up and Bulgarian language classes in Shumen are now 175 and motivational meetings for 120 parents were held.
  • 97 primary school kids in the village of Ivanski attend a renovated Educational Center for afterschool catch up and Bulgarian language classes - 134 parents attend motivational meetings in Ivanski.
  • The gynecological and general examinations in Shumen started
  • Campaigns have covered 690 parents

Expected results:  

  • Educational center in Ivanski functioning as a focal point for all extra-curricular educational activities and work with parents.
  • Extracurricular classes are provided for around 120 Roma children (6-10) in Ivanski / 336 of extracurricular classes (catch up) provided.
  • A new group in Shumen for children aged 5-6 (with 18 new children each year; 54 children altogether) is securing ac-cess to full-time and functioning Shumen kindergarten.
  • 120 students (Ivanski) and 90 children from Shumen kin-dergarten attended 2 summer schools (20 days each) and with improved Bulgarian language proficiency and integra-tion/socialization skills.
  • 372 parents and children (Shumen and Ivanski) attend joined weekend schools.
  • Medical consultations, counselling, and screenings are provided in Shumen in the Medical center DKC I and in Ivanski.
  • 15 health literacy and family planning education campaigns covering a total of 1,500 people.
  • Publications in the local media, TV, radio, local print and the Internet.

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   313'931 Swiss disbursement to date CHF   59'581
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)