From June 9th to 11th U.S. Embassy Political Officer Daniela Ionova-Swider attended the 14th Annual Children’s Roma Festival “Open Heart” in Veliko Tarnovo, organized by the Center for Interethnic Dialogue and Tolerance “Amalipe.” More than 2,000 children of different ethnic groups from over 250 schools participated in the festival, which featured a “United in Diversity “parade and presentations of song, dance, crafts, culture and traditions. The festival also included a round table discussion on preventing early school dropouts attended by Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria Iliyana Yotova, Deputy Minister of Education Denitsa Sacheva, Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Rositsa Dimitrova, Mayor of Veliko Tarnovo Daniel Panov, and Roma Inclusion Ambassador’s Group representatives.
Amalipe is the largest Roma NGO in Bulgaria. It focuses on the improvement of education, health and socio-economic status of Roma. One of its signature programs aims to reduce early school dropouts among Roma children, in partnership with more than 2,500 teachers, 250 schools, universities, and cultural institutes.