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Visit by EMMAUS and HDI in Vidin

25 March 2019

NGO Organization Drom welcomed staff of Emmaus Helsinki and Helsinki Deaconess Institute (HDI) in Vidin in early March 2019. The purpose of the visit was to prepare the ground for launching a second-hand shop activity in Vidin.

The Helsinki Deaconess Institute is a charitable foundation boldly working to uphold human dignity since 1867, which makes it one of the oldest existing foundations in Europe.They provide help to people at risk of social exclusion, including Roma.

Emmaus is an international solidarity movement, which was found in Paris in 1949 to combat poverty and homelessness. The initiative has a parent organization, Emmaus International, which today represents 350 groups in 37 countries, which offer variety of charitable services. Emmaus Helsinki was founded in 1966. The group runs two markets for donated goods and is involved in development cooperation, together with Cordis in South Africa and Cuna Nazareth in Peru.

HDI and Emmaus were represented by three staff members. Ms. Ulla Hoyer from Emmaus, textile engineer by profession, has been a volunteer for more than twenty years and also served as chair of the organization. She works on development projects and sustainability. Being active at the international level, she visited many projects around the world. Ms. Anu Hyle is the Director of Emmaus Helsinki. Before, she was a staff member of HDI. Mr. Borislav Borisov is Bulgarian and he has been working for HDI for many years. Currently, he is managing programs at HDI.

Ms. Donka Panayotova, chair of NGO Organization Drom, introduced the official representatives from Helsinki-based organizations to the Deputy Mayor of Vidin Municipality, who explained the situation of Roma in Vidin and the work of the Municipality on programs and policies for minorities. A meeting with the Director of the Bureau of Labor shed light on the substantially high unemployment figures for Roma in Vidin. The meeting with the Director of the English language school in Vidin was very positive as an offer for volunteer support came for NGO Organization Drom. Finally, a visit to the Roma Neighborhood was made, which unveiled the poverty situation of Roma in the poorest economic region of the European Union.

The launch of the second-hand shop is expected in early May 2019 and, thus, it is hoped that NGO Organization Drom will create new opportunities for the Roma community in Vidin.


On the photo: Ms. Ulla Hoyer and Ms. Anu Hyle from Emmaus in Vidin, March 2019