How important are health mediators in crisis?

The poorest groups in any society have always been the most vulnerable, especially in times of crisis. Bulgaria is no exception to this rule, especially in the last two and a half years, during which we have all felt the parallel development of several deepening crises - the Covid pandemic, the energy crisis, inflation and the rise in the cost of living, which has faced families with low or irregular incomes with a increasing amount of difficulties. The effort they have to make to provide food for their children, or to meet even the most basic hygiene needs, or to have the money to pay their regular bills for electricity, water, heating and medical treatment when they need it, has increased enormously.

The biggest problem facing local administrations and institutions has been accessing and locating these families in extreme need in the country so that they can assist them.

Being aware of all these problems, the team of the Trust for Social Achievement Foundation voluntarily decided to assist the Social Assistance Agency by inviting volunteers from our partner organizations. Through their support, people in need were more easily identified on the ground. This is how Miglena Kirilova from Nikola Kozlevo in Shumen got involved. As a health mediator who has been working in the field for years, Miglena knows the municipality and the problems of its people - the high percentage of unemployed especially among the Roma community; she meets families, is familiar with their problems and needs, tries to assist them in all their attempts to cooperate with the administration.

Miglena is one of the people, thanks to whose efforts and daily rounds in some of the most at-risk neighborhoods in the municipality and in the midst of the Covid pandemic, managed to provide vital food packages for 54 families in need in Nikola Kozlevo.

And just like Megi, dozens more people are joining the network of volunteers that has been created. In this way, the government agency was able to learn about the needs of thousands of people in 18 districts across the country and assist them with a total of 485 food parcels.

Miglena's partnership and facilitation has been key. While working on the ground and going into the neighborhoods and homes of hundreds of families, she gathers information needed by social workers. The agency, together with the Bulgarian Red Cross, thus secured the food parcels under the Operational Food Programme 2014-2020.

As a token of appreciation for her hard work, the Trust for Social Achievement nominated Miglena for the "Do Good" campaign of our partners, the Lachezar Tsotsorkov Foundation. The aim of this campaign is to highlight the "hidden heroes" so that the good they do can serve as an inspiration to others. Today, we are delighted that Miglena is among the selected and awarded volunteers of the "Do Good" campaign.