General Information
ROMACT Cycle: 
Mayor of the Municipality: 
Merdin Bayram
Contact Person within the Municipality: 
Djemile Djemalova Kulyumova - Head of department "Education, Health and Social Policy"
Dyian Dankov
Total population: 
10 374
NSI 2017
Roma living in the Municipality: 
3 500
Description of the Municipality: 

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Varbitsa is a town in eastern Bulgaria and is part of Shumen Province. Varbitsa municipality includes 16 settlements.
Most of Varbitsa's 3 500 Roma are located in two neighbourhoods: Troshka, where Horohane are living  and Musikantska, where Drandari (musicians) are living. The latter are more marginalised with part of the neighborhood houses built outside a regulated frame and without basic utilities.
Other Roma live in separate neighborhoods of the villages of Byala reka, Mengischevo, Lovets, Tushovitsa, Metodievo, Malomir and Ivanovo. 
School attendance is rather high, however, about 25% of Roma girls do not complete primary school and get married at the age of 16-17. 
More than 500 Roma community members migrated to Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands in the last 5 years.

The ROMACT Process

Varbitsa joined ROMACT programme in November 2018 with the signature of the Letter of Agreement.
In September 2019, the Taskforce for Roma Inclusion was created. 
In  March 2020, the Municipal Action Plan for Roma Inclusion was adopted. 

The Municipality benefited of ROMACT expertise for the following project :

"Patronage care for elderly and people with disabilities in the municipality of Varbitsa", OPHRD, Procedure BG05M9OP001-6.002 "Patronage care +".
Budget : 32 000 euros
Status : approved

Trainings provided by ROMACT experts :

Community Action Groups (CAG):
* Advocacy and negotiation skills with local authorities.
Understanding ROMACT process. Necessity to address marginalisation;
Increase group consolidation of CAG - Varbitsa; improve advocacy and negotiation skills with LA;
Fundamentals of the advocacy process and successful communication with local authorities;

Local Authorities (LA):
* National programs 2021 - 2027 funded by the EU structural and cohesion funds in support of municipal policies for social inclusion;
* Partnership management for planning and implementation of municipal policies for social inclusion;
* Establishing a municipal taskforce establishment;
Participation in a public consultation of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Bulgaria;
Development of a Plan for integrated develoment of municipality - PIRO;
Approaches for working with and within Roma community. Working in intercultural environment;

Taskforce :
National programs 2021 - 2027 funded by the EU structural and cohesion funds in support of municipal policies for social inclusion.

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 April 2020 - March 2021:
Initiative to counter COVID19 pandemic – Municipality of Varbitsa
ROMACT supported the municipality with 2549 € reaching 142 families in Roma community. The project covered information campaign on COVID19 and provided masks, disinfectant products, informative flyers to raise awareness in the community. Food supplies were also provided for families with dire financial situation.
Installation of fences of the two cemetery parks - Municipality of Varbitsa
ROMACT supported the municipality with 4098 € for the installation of fences around the two cemetery parks in the town of Varbitsa. The project included the landscape cleaning of the cemeteries and installation of fences around the borders of the park. Information meetings were organized with the local Roma communities to build trust between the community and the municipality. Meetings also ensured long-term planning for the care of the cemetery parks which have religious and cultural importance for the local community.
Support for students – Municipality of Varbitsa
ROMACT supported the municipality with 3464 €, reaching 266 students from families with dire financial situation. The project increased the pupils’ school attendance with higher level of self-esteem in a proper sanitary environment through the procurement of school supplies and hygiene products. Pupils and their families received counselling sessions on the importance of education to reduce school dropouts during the pandemic.

Timeline Points

21 Nov 2018
Step 1- Becoming Commited- Signature of the letter of commitment
24 Sep 2019
Creation of Taskforce
28 Feb 2021
End of ROMACT Process
27 Mar 2021
Step 3- Translating priorities into measures- MAPRI updated and adopted by City Council
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