Last week I went to Svishtov, Veliko Tarnovo, Varna and Burgas. I met a lot of people from minority groups. Almost all of them talk about the same thing: poverty.
During a week-long trip to the north and east of Bulgaria, I saw that people from minority groups generally talk about the same things. They talk about their low wages and their financial difficulties. Apart from that, some Bulgarian people express their discomfort with them.
They do not want the assimilation campaign of the past to be repeated. The suffering of people in those years was so great that they do not want their children to see and experience such an environment. They said that after the communist era passed, they now live more comfortably and more free, but sometimes criticized by the Bulgarians. I would like to tell you about an incident that I personally experienced.
While we were being vaccinated at the hospital, the nurse told us why we are here, to leave the country, and said nothing to our Italian friends. It's really sad that things like this happen. Everyone can live in peace as long as no one bothers anyone. I saw that some stereotypes and prejudices continued in Bulgaria. However, I noticed that there is no such distinction between young people. With my experience, I can clearly say that racism decreases as the average age decreases. The person I interviewed in Svishtov was also advocating this. He said: “The important thing is to be human. Now everyone is looking their own way. I am guiding young people to live in a more peaceful society.
Whether they are Christians, Muslims, Bulgarians or Turks, as long as people sit down and try to understand each other.” These thoughts are really valuable and I think everyone should listen to these words. I think these ideas should be instilled in children at a young age in schools. Thus, a more peaceful society can be achieved in the future.
This person I interviewed also said that reading is really important, but because of poverty, many children can't afford to study. Children who do not receive a good education also acquire bad habits or tend to do harm. I think governments should support the educational life of every child. I hope things get better with education. In addition to this, I interviewed with the vice mayor who is from that minority group. He argued that minority groups should be involved in society and should be supported and said that otherwise they would live together and count in the same place without adding anything to them.
When I went to a neighborhood with Roma people, I saw people living in miserable conditions. I think these people should be educated as well. Because they have more than three children although their financial situation is not good. It doesn't make sense to take responsibility for so many children when they can't even take care of themselves. Apart from that, another thing I saw in the neighborhood was the old and bedridden couple. After the fire in the neighborhood, their houses were damaged and although the firefighters said they would help, no one helped. The people living there think that they cannot get help from anyone because they are gypsies and speak Turkish.
To sum up, I think the most important thing is to educate people. It is very important to do this starting from a young age. Because at a young age, it is much easier to put certain things in children’s heads. I also think that adults should be given lessons on issues such as sexuality and life and I hope in the future everything will become better and brighter.
Mustafa Tuncer, volunteer@ICDET