Refugees and Asylum Seekers

3072      people supported by the Migration and Integration Unit

218        volunteers participated in our programs

72          mentoring pairs

436        people visited the information office in Harmanli

1824      people participated in recreational and educational activities in Sofia and Harmanli

75          excursions

2            labour exchanges with 6 employers and 24 people employed

95          people found paid employment

207       people successfully completed a Bulgarian language course

2518     social mediation sessions

242       people benefited from emergency and long-term accommodation

52         people received psycho-social support

 

All too often refugees and asylum seekers are looked down upon. They are often considered to be a drain on the social system, with little ability to contribute to society. We at Caritas Sofia believe that they have the potential and the opportunity for successful integration. Children show a great desire and diligence in studying the Bulgarian language, and adults often have extensive experience in different sectors, and despite their difficulties they show great initiative. That is why our approach is special, tailored to their specific needs and existing coping mechanisms.

We work in the registration and reception centres; the temporary, closed accommodation centres; and at our integration centre ‘St. Anna’. We offer specialised assistance to people with specific needs and we have an integrated approach to each case.

In the centres, our dedicated facilitators and volunteers use modern methods to educate people in an informal setting. The recreational activities and various classes allow the children to develop different skills and abilities, as well as our excursions for both young and old where our beneficiaries discover the beauty, culture and history of Bulgaria. Regular training sessions for our facilitators allow them to get up-to-date knowledge from experts across various fields, such as early childhood development and protection, and the supportive environment allows them to implement what they have learned in practice.

At our integration centre, ‘St. Anna’, we welcome people with respect and understanding. Here, our trained social mediators carefully listen and direct them to other services whether provided by Caritas Sofia or other organisations. We provide the most vulnerable with money and shelter, and give jobseekers individual support in finding the right job. Our Bulgarian courses are appropriate for both beginners and those with some knowledge, and our friendly teachers are always ready to help overcome any challenge.

We are proud that Bulgaria’s first mentoring program for Bulgarians and refugees is ours. Through it, as well as the many events we organise, we lay the foundations for lasting friendships between our beneficiaries and their Bulgarian hosts.

Caritas Sofia is the only organisation providing educational and recreational activities in the closed centre, Busmantsi. Our team on site may not be numerous but they work with great dedication and aspiration.

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