Radka from Yambol, who came back in class

In the spring of 2019 there was some excitement in “Spring” Kindergarten in Yambol. The director, Svetlana Zlateva, showed enthusiasm in restoring one of the pre-school groups in order to give all children in the obligatory pre-school age the opportunity to enroll. The eastern wing of the kindergarten’s building, which had been closed for 20 years, needed complete renovation but Mrs. Zlateva was convinced she could find sources of funding. Her idea was to involve the parents in the process as well, thus increasing their motivation and improving the kindergarten attendance of their children.

After four months of negotiations with the municipality of Yambol on the potential sources of funding and after completely renovating the eastern wing, in September the restored preschool group welcomed 28 children aged 4- 5 for the first time in twenty years. Among these kids were Radka's 4-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

It turned out that Radka had a lot of problems and that meeting Mrs. Zlateva was of special importance to her. The director of the kindergarten first helped the young woman with certain documents she needed for her correspondence with the municipality. After Zlateva's intervention, the problem was solved, but soon after that it turned out Radka had financial problems and could neither buy new clothes for her children, nor pay for their kindergarten medical examination. After Mrs. Zlateva found out about the problem, she lent Radka money and provided her with donated clothes. What is more, she offered the young woman the position of a health officer at the kindergarten.

Over time, the two women got close and Mrs. Zlateva learned that Radka, who was born in the Burgas village of Ravnets, actually had attended school and had dreams of continuing her education and finding a job. At the age of 14, after finishing 7th grade, Radka met the fate of most Roma girls - to be stolen and married against their will.

The support she received from the staff of the kindergarten helped Radka not only to find employment, but also to gain confidence and motivation to continue with her studies. Now the girl is a student in the 8th grade in Yambol. There are four other women of Roma origin who work at the kindergarten managed by Mrs Zlateva’ who would like to continue their education.

It was the kindergarten director who told us this story. Svetlana Zlateva believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to learn and develop.