The National Coordinator of the RAYN Network – Gabriela Tosunova is the topper of the 2018 – 2022 graduating class at the Faculty of Law and History of the Southwest University “Neofit Rilski”.
“During my time at Southwestern University, I got two B’s and went to advanced because I have the motivation to do my best.”
“I have been like this since I was a little girl and I graduated from the Zemedelska Profesionalna Gimnaziya in Sandanski with full honours, I want the best results, B is not enough for me,” says the girl.
“Before I enrolled in the major I graduated in, I wavered between it and a few others. I prayed for wisdom from God and on my morning commute to the university I received a phone call from an unknown number encouraging me to enroll in Public Administration and that for me was the answer to my prayer. Four years later, I work at the foundation from which I received that phone call! There are no coincidences!”
Gaby says that she did not face discrimination or lowered expectations from the people around her at school because of her origin, but she was often scolded not to say that she was Roma, because to them she was Bulgarian. Her friends and classmates all liked and supported her, but she says she insists on it being known that she is Roma because she believes in the role and motivation of role models for the community. Her peers think negatively about their educational opportunities and development just because of their ethnicity and society’s negative attitudes towards Roma, but through her example many of them are motivated to fight and continue their development in education.
“I believe and know that I achieved everything with the help of God. I owe everything to Him and to my parents. I did not give up even when many of my friends tried to discourage me that I would not make it with this major because I knew God had a plan,” Gabriela said.
“There were times when my parents already joked with me and said they would throw away my books just so I could go out with the other children and young people, because I always shut myself in my room and read since I was little,” Gaby says with a smile. Her parents have always been supportive, both of her and her two older sisters, who graduated in education and are also working.
Gabriela is now the National Coordinator of the REYN Network and a Program Assistant for the Early Learning and Care Program at the Trust for Social Alternatives Foundation. Apart from her undying desire to learn and develop, Gaby has a talent for drawing very well, she is involved in making portraits and caricatures and has already started a new venture – her own business – working on opening her own party agency.