We are meeting with Mustafa while he is packing his luggage. He is heading to Cape Cod, USA, to work in the summer. Just like all young people, he needs to save some money to gain some financial security in the fall, when he will start looking for a new job in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Mustafa is a young man of Roma origin. He is 24 years old and hails from Provadia, a very small town in Bulgaria’s northeast corner. We first met him four years ago.
Back then he graduating from Shumen’s Construction, Architecture and Geodesy Professional high school. He was thinking about enrolling in Sofia’s Architecture University. However, as luck would have it, the stars aligned and Arete Youth Foundation, TSA’s grantee and partner, contacted Mustafa at the same time to invite him to participate in a summer leadership camp for Roma students. “It was not only interesting for me but also very helpful, because of the new contacts and because at the camp I inderstood how Trust for Social Achievement was providing financial support to selected candidates to prepare for admission exams at the American University in Bulgaria.”
At first he was rather skeptical. Mustafa shared that at that time he had already an idea what to study at the university and didn't intend to change his direction. Still, he spoke with his parents, who reminded him that they were unable to support and sustain his studies at the American University. He also knew that they needed to also provide for his sister’s education. “I wanted to reduce the weight for my parents”, said Mustafa. After weighting the odds, he decided to give it a shot and applied to the Trust.
Mustafa was not initially very confident, but with the Trust’s support he diligently studied English at the English Language Institute for three terms. After much hard work and study, he enrolled at the University. And soon the long-expected call was made:
“I’ve been admitted. I made it!” he wrote to TSA and the Arête Foundation.
A few days ago we were happy to hear more good news. He has now graduated from the University with a major in Business Administration and Journalism and Mass Communications.
Mustafa is a hard-working person. He never bought into existing stereotypes about the Roma. He shared that “I was lucky because the American University in Bulgaria gathers more than 35 nationalities and cultures” and he did not experience any discrimination while studying there.
At the time we publish this story, Mustafa will be on his way. For the next few months he will reside on the East Coast of the United States. He will be helping at a small restaurant and gaining first-hand experience in market sales. His main goal is to look for a stable job once back in Bulgaria and is exploring options for interesting working in the area of marketing and sales.
“I already received a few offers from different marketing companies, so I consider to contact them as soon as I come back at September and I hope to have the chance to start a work”, Mustafa shared.
We wish him luck and hope he will continue to serve as an example to all students!