SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.

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LABOR MARKET INTEGRATION THROUGH PRACTICAL ASSISTANCE

Sofia Development Association, in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross, organized an event to support the integration of third-country nationals into the labor market. The event was held on March 21, 2022 as a part of the activities of the Bureau for Information and Services for Third-country nationals and in the form of individual consultations for creating a CV and a professional photo session for portrait photos.

The participants in the event got acquainted with good practices for making a CV, received individual advice and assistance for creating a CV based on their previous experience, as well as practical advice and guidance on how to update their resume in the future. In addition, they acquired professional photos suitable for a resume.

By participating in the event, third-country nationals made the first steps required to join the labor market. We look forward to receiving their feedback on the new initiatives that have begun as a result of the consultations.

CONNECTION project: CONNECTING Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

          

      

AGORA design workshop "Rivers of the city and Toplocentrala"

AGORA in Sofia aims not only to support its pilot project - the cultural center Toplocentrala with programming, promotion and identifying potential users and audiences, but also to give ideas for smooth and effective integration of the space in the surrounding park.

In the South Park district, next to the Regional Centre for Contemporary Arts Toplocentrala, the Perlovska River flows in its natural bed, full of wild vegetation. However, the landscape is not developed and the river is cut off from the Toplocentrala. In this regard, the AGORA project partners Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality, together with Toplocentrala, the Collective and the Rivers of the city organize a design workshop during which to gather and present ideas for developing projects for connecting the Toplocentrala with the Perlovska River flowing meters from it.

The purpose of the event is the process of collecting and presenting ideas to be public, and the projects to serve for regenerating and improving the space in order to turn it into the first river beach in Sofia. This activity is the flagship project of AGORA in Sofia.

On 18, 19 and 20 March 2022 from 10:00 to 17:00 at the Toplocentrala was held the first part of the event - a 3-day design workshop for co-creation of ideas, moderated by the Collective team. Through an open invitation, the event was attended by architects, landscape architects, artists, designers, urban planners, engineers and other citizens, interested in the topic.

The second part of the design workshop is forthcoming – a public presentation of the projects, developed by the participants in the working group and the Collective team. The event will take place on April 6, 2022 from 18:30 again at the Toplocentrala and it is open to anyone who would like to join. You are welcome to get acquainted with the projects that Sofia residents developed for easier and more pleasant access to the natural wealth of Sofia and give your feedback!

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).  

SOFIA TOOK PART OF MUTUAL LEARNING PROGRAMME ON LABOUR INTEGRATION OF MIGRANTS IN LIEGE

Labor market integration is an essential part of the full integration of migrants. However, in order to make it happen in the most effective way possible considering the local conditions, cities should share experience, knowledge and good practices. For this reason, within the framework of the UnionMigrantNet project and the cities together for integration (UMN) experts from Sofia, Bulgaria took part in a mutual learning program in Liege, Belgium from 14th to 18th of March 2022.

Among the representatives of the Sofia delegation were Nadezhda Bobcheva, Deputy Mayor of Oborishte District, Veronika Manova from Sofia Municipality, Sanya Raeva from Sofia Development Association, Atanaska Todorova from CITUB, Ivaylo Dinev from the Institute for Social and Trade Union Research, Vladimir Milev from BCRM, Milena Karakanova from Caritas Bulgaria.

The mutual learning program included a visit to the Municipality of Liege, where the experts got acquainted with the activities of Liege, known as the city of hospitality, in the field of integration of migrants, and met in person with the Mayor of Liege - Mr. Willy Demeyer. During the meeting, Sofia presented the activities of Sofia, the first in Bulgaria Bureau for Information and Services for Third-Country Nationals, as well as the services provided by Sofia Municipality to help Ukrainian citizens at the moment.

In the following days, the participants visited the local integration center, got into the shoes of migrants during a city tour for social and professional integration, visited the organization "World of Opportunities" - a partner in the UMN project, met with the General Labor Federation in Belgium and visited one of the refugee camps in Liege.

The topic of labor market integration, which was the basis of the discussions, includes the possibility to improve and expand the services of local and regional authorities and the NGO sector; financial aid, language training, qualification courses and working with the local community; access to housing. A special topic was the growing number of Ukrainian citizens already arriving in Liege.

In June 2022, a delegation from Liege will visit Sofia, during which we will have the opportunity to share in detail their experience and present their work in the field. The final conference of the UMN project will also be held in Sofia.
The UMN project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

      

 

   

THIRD AGORA DESIGN SEMINAR

On March 17, 2022, Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality organized a seminar within the project AGORA - Advanced coGeneration Options for Reintegrating local Assets, funded by the Danube Program 2014-2020.

Over 30 participants took part in the hybrid event, held in SofiaLab and online. The seminar presented good examples included in the AGORA project, such as Toplocentrala, as well as the results from the previous seminars and related studies about the needs of cultural operators and available programs for open air stages and performance places in Sofia. Guests from the Municipality of Gabrovo presented their CINEMA project, also funded by the INTERREG program, which is focused on the regeneration and improvement of urban spaces through cooperation with SMEs.

Seminar participants engaged in an interactive discussion and idea generation for the development of a City Agenda for the regeneration of cultural spaces; discussion topics included imbalances in cultural offer in central/peripheral neighborhoods; fair and equal support for private & public art initiatives; accessibility and affordability of cultural programs; information sharing, networking and partnership building; monitoring and impact evaluation of cultural programs, etc.

You may learn more about the project and the upcoming activities at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/agora and https://www.facebook.com/InterregAGORA.

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).

    

            

CV CONSULTATION AND A PROFESSIONAL PHOTO SESSION FOR PORTRAIT PHOTOS FOR THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS

The integration of foreigners into the labor market can only happen if they know how to reach employers and remain noticed. However, these skills are not highly developed among third-country nationals arriving in Bulgaria.

For this reason and as part of the activities of the Bureau for Information and Services for third-country nationals, the Sofia Development Association in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross organize individual consultations for CV and professional photo session for portraits for third-country nationals.

The participants in the event will have the opportunity to get acquainted with good practices for making a CV, to receive practical advice, guidance and individual consultation, as well as to receive portrait photos taken by a professional photographer.

The event will be held at the Bureau (Sofia, 111 Hristo Botev Blvd.) on March 21, 2022 from 10:00 to 13:00 and is absolutely free and open to the public.

Share with friends and acquaintances (third-country nationals) for whom this training would be useful!

Register for participation by calling +359 879 651 346 or by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We are expecting you!

CONNECTION project: CONNECTING Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

TOGETHER FOR UKRAINE: NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS, THE BUSINESS AND SOFIA MUNICIPALITY WITH JOINT ACTIONS IN SUPPORT OF REFUGEES FROM UKRAINE

A working meeting initiated by Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova on March 14, 2022, which included representatives of the non-governmental sector, business organizations and Sofia Municipal Council, outlined concrete steps to improve the coordination of support measures to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

"We have been working for many years for the integration of third-country nationals in the labor market in Sofia. What the people of Ukraine are going through right now is something none of us expected. The fact is that NGOs and citizens were the first to respond and offer their help and support. Sofia municipality is one of the first institutions that managed to quickly organize and coordinate support actions for the refugees from the war ", said Мayor Fandakova. Accommodation, free medical care in municipal hospitals, the provision of premises for non-governmental organizations to organize help centers, the supply of food and medicine are some of the measures that the municipality has taken so far. The efforts to secure more resources and humanitarian aid continue at full speed.

The Municipal Privatization and Investment Agency SofiaInvest is developing an internet platform to connect employers and refugees from Ukraine looking for work, the mayor of Sofia said. Work is also underway to ensure children's access to school. Svetlozar Andreev of the European Committee of the Regions said the European Union was expected to allocate between 10 billion and 20 billion euros to manage the crisis, with funds going to NGOs, local authorities and small and medium-sized enterprises. Refugees face several main problems in terms of finding a job - knowledge of Bulgarian, difficulties in opening bank accounts, real access to the health care system in Sofia, because general practitioners have their patient quotas full, said the CEO of Caritas - Sofia, Tsvetomir Dumanov. The UNHCR Office in Bulgaria stressed the importance of accurate and timely information in this situation and pledged to assist in disseminating materials to Ukrainian refugees in key locations in Sofia. UNHCR is one of the partner organizations, which together with the Bulgarian Red Cross provides services to refugees and migrants in the Office for Information and Services of Third-Country Nationals established by Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality. The Bureau is already offering information and consultations to Ukrainian citizens coming to Sofia. The Bureau opened in October 2021 and has so far provided consultations and information to more than 450 migrants.

The special focus of the meeting was on employment opportunities for third-country nationals. Discussions included employers' associations, trade unions, small and medium-sized enterprises, Sofia Investment Agency; all of the organizations support the informal coalition of local stakeholders for the inclusion of third-country nationals in the labor market. The participants in the meeting expressed their commitment for further joint actions, both for the organization of emergency assistance to arriving refugees and for setting up functional institutional systems for long-term support in education, employment and health care.

The meeting is part of the activities of Sofia Development Association on the projects CONNECTION and UnionMigrantNet, which are co-funded by the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

       

      

 

   

  

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