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THE “VOICES OF EXCLUSION” PROJECT
EutopeAid program of the European commission
Centre for Social Practices – Sofia
Summary

To draw attention to yourself, to be trusted, to have influence - all this is not a question of luck, but of skill.
Every skill can be taught, learned and applied.
Professor Howard H. Hillman in the book
"The outline of things" (1968)

The problem
Bulgaria is like a patchwork rug, woven by different "minorities". There are ethnic, cultural, speech-use and religious "minority communities". There are people with disabilities, people addicted to alcohol or drugs. There are abandoned children and lonely aged people. There are people, living out a lifestyle different from that of the rest.
What do we know about these people? Very little - because they are practically invisible to the media, which is the mirror of society.
Ethnic and religious minorities in Bulgaria make up at least 15% of the whole population. But they shape only one-two percent of the media bulk. This is not fair: this way these people remain unheard, unseen and misunderstood.
Although rarely, there are some minority groups that get reflected by the media. But there are problems in this also. The bulk of the materials written on the Turkish theme is about "The deeds and thoughts of MRF (Movement for Rights and Freedom)". Where in this is the splendid Turk culture, religion, way of life? The materials about the Roma picture them usually as being mainly criminals, or desperately poor. What about the ones that have made it, what about the history and the traditions? About the Bulgarian Muslims the materials are as few as about the Chinese living in Bulgaria - almost nothing.
And there is something else. Most journalists dealing with minority communities are from the majority. Even when meaning well, they lack the knowledge and the feel, that the people themselves have.

Solving the problem within the frames of the project
There are many "minorities" in Bulgaria, but we have the finances to work only with three: two ethnic groups (Turks and Roma) and one religious (Bulgarian Muslims).
What we are going to do, is train over one year students from these groups, who have qualified in the process of application. Enabling them to become leaders, to make teams - and most of all, to explain the thing that are important to them to the media. And in such a way, that they will be understood, looked for, read, watched and listened to, and people will take sides on their account.
In is very important that the real voices of the Turks, Roma and Bulgarian Muslims are heard. And understood by the others.
Only this way Bulgaria can become a modern European country: a country that takes pride in all of it's citizens, in which the majority, the media and the authority, understand and help all minorities (ethnic, cultural, religious and all others).
The training is done over the space of three hundred school-hours in 11 stages (each of them being three days) in Sofia and other parts of the country. The lectors will be mainly Bulgarian and European specialists in the field in question. The travel, sleep, and food expenses of the students are covered, and they are supplied with material for the training. At the end of the course the students receive a diploma-certificate.

  
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