Women in Bulgaria, particularly Roma and Turkish ethnic minorities, experience high levels of poverty and social exclusion.

Why we care: Lack of education and technological skills perpetuate poverty and social exclusion of minority women in Bulgaria.

How we’re solving this: Technology training, English language skills, and legal and career counseling help women overcome barriers to gain economic independence.

Minority women in Bulgaria are also discriminated against at home as well. Many are victims of domestic violence and single mothers who rely on social welfare. They tend to be the most economically dependent, and some even face the threat of losing children in judicial proceedings. Work in the information technology sector presents an economic opportunity for these women; however, they lack access to information due to low levels of education and limited freedom of movement.

Gender Alternatives Foundation seeks to establish a Women’s Resource Centre in Plovdiv, Bulgaria to expand minority women’s access to quality training and education programs. The Centre will provide skills-building trainings on information technology, English language courses, and legal and career counseling to ensure participants have the confidence to meet market demand in a globalizing economy. Through these activities, women will also analyze the causes of poverty and violence, voice their concerns, and build their capacity to participate as equals in society.

In the Centre’s first year, 64 women will take part in the information and communication technology (ICT) and English language courses and more than 50 women will benefit from legal consultations on their social and economic rights, along with access to career counseling. The Centre will build partnerships among the marginalized women, their communities, and the society as a whole to bolster the ability of local economies to compete in the national and international marketplaces.