A whole generation of health workers with care for the people is growing in the Roma community in Byala Slatina

 Something is happening in Byala Slatina. A whole generation of health workers with care for the people is growing in the Roma community

An initiative at the end of this summer reminded both residents of the Roma neighborhood in Byala Slatina and people outside that a large-scale process of renewal and education is underway there, and as a result, within a few years, people will know at least twenty health professionals – young people born and raised in the same neighborhood.

Future doctors, nurses, midwives, and laboratory assistants, most of them supported by the Scholarship and mentoring program for students of Roma origin studying health specialties under the Active Citizens Bulgaria Fund, organized another large-scale campaign to measure blood pressure and blood sugar among the local community. Building on their previous experience with campaigns supported by the Bulgarian Family Planning Association, on this occasion a dozen medical students examined and consulted over 150 people within 3 hours. The well-organized crew also planned visits to the homes of elderly and disabled people who were unable to visit them on-site.

Other student volunteers in medical specialties joined the initiative, as well as participants in TSA’s Scholarship Program for Roma women-nurses and midwives.

Once again, the young people relied on the support of the local organization – mother center "Alternative".

In addition to the huge trust in the youth of the community, the campaign also showed the chronically ignored health prevention and screening, but also the existence of a real community of already graduated and future health professionals who know the people and their problems, have the energy and desire to work as a team to improve the health habits of the locals. Quite a few people overcame their fear of the blood sugar testing process with the encouragement and the reassuring words of the young people they know. Quite a few people expressed gratitude and appreciation for what was happening in a spontaneous and emotional way. People were invited to sit down and have their blood pressure and blood sugar measured with the words "Come on, show recognition for our kids, they're here for you!".

Thanks to the trust vested in them via the TSA scholarship programs and by the activists in Byala Slatina, these students are taking the first step towards the transformation of their community by being ambassadors for the cause of non-discrimination and visibility of all successful and ambitious Roma.

Zlati, Beti, Emmanuela, Lucy, Emilia, Hrisi, Reni, Rumi and Radi are becoming examples of the rule, not the exception, for their community. With the conviction that the generations after them will be even more determined on the path to education and successful professional realization, these boys and girls, including more than 10 other students from Byala Slatina that we support, show that the change towards active participation in the public life of their town and country is a fact. Setting aside their free time to apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired, they have the confidence to invite Bulgarian society to walk alongside them and their community.