First Person from the Roma Community with a University Degree


For Ivan and his family, the autumn of 2020 turned out to be very different. Ivan had his first day at the University of Shumen “Archbishop Konstantin Preslavski”, and his wife had her first day at high school. Their son had his first day at kindergarten.

Ivan is 27 years old and comes from the village of Ivanski in Bulgaria. He finished secondary school, and even though he had the dream of becoming a doctor, he did not get the opportunity to study. Then he found out about the “Young Roma Teachers” program, which provides mentoring as well as financial help until graduation from the University. With this program young people can study pedagogy and receive a work placement afterwards.

In the summer of 2020, Ivan was accepted at the University of Shumen to study early childhood pedagogy full time. In the preparation for the first semester, he was thinking of his wife, Viliyana, who did not have the chance to finish secondary education. He managed to convince her that although she is a mother now, she can still finish her education. Therefore, she enrolled in the Professional High School for Agriculture. Their son, Hristo, is two years old. The young parents realize that the time spent in kindergarten is crucial for his development and enrolled him in kindergarten “Svetulka” in the village of Ivanski. That is how the whole family started their school year.

Now there are two people from the village of Ivanski – Ivan and Antoaneta – taking part in the “Young Roma Teachers” program, financed, and implemented by Trust for Social Achievement, with the help of “Amalipe”.

The main goal of the project is that participants of the program are hired in the local kindergarten in the future. Program participants receive mentor support as well as financial help during their studies. Their families are very proud of them and support them in any way they can. Ivan and Antoaneta will be the first people from the Roma community in Ivanski to graduate from University. In this way they can serve as a good example for the community, and hopefully more people can follow in their steps.