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1Drom

Equal access to housing for Roma in Vidin

09.12.2017

Sonya Machorska

  Equal access to housing for Roma in Vidin was held today by NGO Organization Drom, supported by Open Society Foundations. The NGO has for twenty years "paved the way" for a better life of the Roma Community in the District of Vidin.

   Due to the pilot Roma Desegregation project in Vidin, launched by Organization Drom and its chairperson Ms. Donka Panayotova in August 2000, whole Central and Eastern Europe has followed the example and today majority of the Roma children in Vidin study in the mainstream school system, outside the segregated Roma school in the Roma Neighborhood.

   In the past year, the work of NGO Organization Drom has been to create conditions for access to housing for Roma in the Roma Neighborhood “New Road” in the town of Vidin. Thanks to the collaboration with the Municipality Council and Municipality of Vidin, owners of houses in the Roma neighborhood can purchase the municipal land on which the houses were built by signing a contract with the Municipality and paying the fee, they can receive a so-called Tolerance Certificate. This is not a proprietary document, but it can protect the Roma from eviction. Thus, paying 15 leva per sq.m. (based on the tax assessment of the dwelling), people may remain living in the houses they have built. Under the Territorial Settlement Act, a building is legal if it is built on its own land and on pre-approved construction permission papers.

   Dr. Krasimir Kanev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, took part in the conference and he shared various case studies from other cities in Bulgaria, praising the Vidin Municipality decision, regarding legalization of the Roma houses.

   Mr. Genadi Velkov, Chairman of the Municipal Council, described the experience of local authorities in legalizing the illegal houses in the Roma neighborhood and the approved Ordinance, which allows the owners of buildings to participate in an auction for the purchase of the municipal land on which they are built.

   Ms. Svetlana Krasteva from the Vidin State Archives, briefly presented at the event the archive documents, which showed the first settlements and subsequent relocations of the Roma in the city, as well as the division of the neighborhood, named differently in the years to come.

   An interesting sociological survey was conducted by NGO Organization Drom with 120 Roma households from the Roma Neighborhood in Vidin during the period between November 28th and December 4th, 2017. The survey results were presented at the conference by Ms. Donka Panayotova, who emphasized that the survey is representing the whole neighborhood because the methodology included a randomized sample. The scope of the survey included 100 Roma households who live in illegal houses/buildings and Roma households who live 20 legal houses/buildings. Ms. Panayotova emphasized that the survey results show that 11 % of the Roma houses were made of mud, whereas 4 % of the Roma households use candles to light their homes. It was also shown that at least one representative of each of the households is abroad and the birth rate has marked a drastic decline as there is one child (below 15-year-old) in a household. Moreover, each third Roma household, which consists of 4-5 members, lives in one or two rooms. It is very important to mention also that every second Roma household is ready to pay the fee of 15 BGN per sq.m. in order to receive the Tolerance Certificate which will avoid eviction threat.

   Ms. Tanya Kaltzeva, lawyer of NGO Organization Drom, explained during the conference the mechanism for legalization of the houses, spoke about the achievements and what is foreseen, including cooperation with the Bulgarian Helsinkii Committee on issues related to human rights protection in Northwest Bulgaria. At the beginning of this year, NGO Organization Drom signed a partnership agreement with the Bulgarian Helsinkii Committee for regional representation, which is unique in Bulgaria.

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Nicholas Woodcarvers on St. Nicholas Day

06.12.2017

Sonya Machorska

   Nikolay Nikolov of Vidin is the only Bulgarian person included in the "Catalog of the Mother of God", published by the Moscow Patriarchate. In 2017 the Catalog for the first time included materials for artists of contemporary Christian art not only from Russia but also from abroad. The edition includes icons, jewelery, mosaics, architecture, sculpture, small sculpture, ceramics, porcelain, painting boxes, goldwork embroidery and sewing beads, carvings, bone and stone, painting, miniature crafts, monumental art, photography, the work of designers and information about their authors. The aim of the "Catalog maestrov solajnogo christianskiskoskusstvi" is to show the level of development of Christian art and to draw attention to the works of contemporary art.

   Nikolay is "acquainted" with wood-carving at one of Vidin schools where he attends a workshop. Craft engulfs him. After years with a group of friends, woodcutters made the iconostasis of the church in the village of Bukovets. So the "thrill" takes him where he is. Under his talented hands, dozens of works of wood-carving have come out. Nikolay, with particular pride, stood beside the Proskinarium with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary (nearly 300 years). He is also proud of the Lord's Throne in the Troyan Monastery, with two cross-crosss in the Lopushanski Monastery, with the church plate in various Bulgarian churches and most of all in Vidin.

   The passing year brings another joy to Nicholas - he participates in the Fifth International Bianale, organized by the Orthodox Theological Faculty of VTU "St. St. Cyril and Methodius "in two years.

   Named after St. Nicholas the Miraculous Wonderworker or St. Nicholas, the master craftsman continues to work miracles with his hands and mind, decorating the most holy places for Orthodox Christians and leaving a trace behind. Because he knows that "things are known in deeds ..."

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Ethnographic exhibition in Knjazevac, Serbia

04.12.2017

Sonya Machorska

   The 12th Traditional Ethnographic Exhibition "Traditions in Europe" was arranged in the Serbian town of Knjazevac, said from the press service of the Municipality of Belogradchik. The exhibition is organized by the Association for Preservation of Traditions "Izvor" and the Municipality of Knyajevac with the participation of associations from 34 cities from Serbia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Montenegro and Macedonia. The exhibition presented food and beverages prepared according to old recipes, crafts and others.

   The forum was opened by Milan Djokic, mayor of Kniajevac municipality, after which the hosts presented an interesting cultural program and a fashion show "The Will to the Future".

    At the Bulgarian stand, arranged by Belogradchik municipality, guests could see linen panes arranged with Bulgarian motifs of live colored wool; handmade embroidered carpets with Bulgarian embroidery and crochet - carriages, tablecloths, dress; handmade jewelery and engraved glass.

  The Princely Ethnographic Exhibition "Traditions in Europe" facilitates the contacts between the different countries and the treaties for future cooperation.

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Preservation of traditions by the Wallachian minority in Bulgaria

02.12.2017

Sonya Machorska

   The final stage of the cross-border project "Preservation and Transmission of Vlach (Romanian) Values ​​through Creative Workshops in Bulgaria" gathered in Vidin today representatives of the Association of Wallachians in Bulgaria and guests from the nearby Romanian city of Calafat. Plamka Lubomirova, Chair of the Association, told the attendees about the activity with several groups of children, teachers and elderly women who showed them and taught them old crafts.

   It was with great pleasure that the audience listened to the songs of the children from the village of Baikal, Pleven district and the girls from Calafat, as well as to watch the dance performances of the folklore group from the village of Florentin, Vidin.

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National Music Festival "Petko Staynov"

01.12.2017

Sonya Machorska

  With honoring the well-known composer and musician Petko Staynov the festive musical days began in his hometown of Kazanlak, announced the press center of the municipality.

   A solemn speech for the world-famous artist, founder of Bulgarian symphony and choir ballad, said Dr. Galina Lukanova, chairman of the Bulgarian Choir Union. The celebration was attended by Petko Staynov - grandson, manager of the Petko Staynov Foundation, representatives of the Municipality of Kazanlak, graduates of the local schools, citizens.

   The second national music festival "Petko Staynov" will continue until December 3rd with the appearances of 11 choral formations from Bulgaria and guests from Greece. The concert program starts with the Blind People "Akademik Petko Staynov" - Sofia and a children's vocal studio "Smileys" at the Louis Braille School of the Blind. Choirs from Plovdiv, Sofia, Kazanlak, Shumen, Dupnitsa, Chamber Choir from the Stara Zagora Opera are also participating.

   Petko Staynov was born on 1 December 1896 in Kazanlak and was a Bulgarian composer and pianist. He enriched the Bulgarian musical culture and contributed considerably to its development. A composer of great creative talent, of wide musical and general culture, possessing a keen sense for the topical ideas of modern time, he dedicated his entire life and all his abilities to Bulgarian music and musical culture, and to the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

   At the age of six Staynov injured one of his eyes; as a result, the other eye was also infected. At 11 he lost his sight completely. He graduated from the Institute for the Blind in Sofia (1915), where his talent for music showed for the first time. Later he studied music with Andrei Stoyanov and made his initial attempts at composing. In 1920 he left for Germany for a year of studies at the Private Musical Lyceum in Braunschweig. In 1923 he graduated from the Dresden Musical Conservatory, majoring in composition under Alexander Wolf and in piano under Ernst Munch. Having returned to Kazanluk in 1925, he created his first major work: the Thracian Dances symphonic suite in three movements.

   Staynov's symphonic output includes the suites Thracian Dances (1925, 1926) and A Fairy Tale (1930). They reveal the beauty of his native land, the fervour of folk dances, and evoke fairy-tale images. His two symphonies are marked by deeply felt philosophic generalisations.

   Staynov's symphonic works breathe powerful philosophic suggestions, while some of them, like, for example, Thracian Dances and Thrace, have become symbolic for Bulgarian music. Petko Staynov's choral songs reveal features of the Bulgarian people's character. Till the early 1930s, he followed the traditions of choral art laid by the first composers in the genre, introducing at the same time elements of his own style.

   With his choral ballads Staynov laid the foundation of a whole new field in Bulgarian music

   His overall work in both the symphonic and the choral genres contributed to some neglected stages in the development of Bulgarian music and thus further established his status as an outstanding figure in Bulgarian musical culture.

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Equal access to housing for Roma in VidinEqual access to housing for Roma in Vidin

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Nicholas Woodcarvers on St. Nicholas Day Nicholas Woodcarvers on St. Nicholas Day

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Ethnographic exhibition in Knjazevac, SerbiaEthnographic exhibition in Knjazevac, Serbia

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Monday, 18 December 2017
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