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About Us

FOUNDATION

NGO Organization Drom is a Vidin based non-governmental non-profit organization, registered within the Vidin District Court on September 15, 1997. The organization was pre-registered, as per new legal requirements with court decision No.382/21.10.2002 and was enlisted in the Central Registrar for legal entities with non-governmental goal for public activities under No. 20031208016.

MISSION

Support the integration of Roma within Bulgarian society, thus helping the process of democratization and European integration.

GOALS

 

  • monitor and report the human rights situation of Roma in Bulgaria;
  • provide legal aid for Bulgarian citizens of Roma origin in cases of infringement of their human rights;
  • promote integration through education and access to quality education for Roma;
  • help economically disadvantaged Roma integrate in the society;
  • distribute information for cases in which the human rights of Roma are violated;
  • act as a social mediator between Roma and the local authorities;
  • coordinate with other NGOs working for the integration of Roma within Bulgarian society;
  • promote the Roma ethno culture in order to create tolerant attitude towards Roma.
     

ACTIVITIES

Legal counselling and legal aid
In 1997 we started as a Human Rights Advocacy NGO for the protection of Roma rights and interests. The organization used to provide legal counselling and legal aid in court for discriminated Roma. The problem of ethnic discrimination, which the Roma from the north-western part of Bulgaria encountered was two-fold. On the one hand, it was revealed in their contacts with Institutions (Police, Social Services, Bureau of Labour, Court and Prosecutor’s Office, Municipality), while on the other hand, it was experienced in contacts with ordinary citizens. The legal practice of the NGO for a period of ten years reached: legal counselling provided to about 1500 citizens of Roma origin; around 500 complaints for discrimination; and 63 legal cases supported, three cases out of these went to the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg. During the course of our legal work until 2007, we were supported by the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Sofia, Bulgaria), European Roma Rights Centre (Budapest, Hungary), Minority Rights Group International (London, UK), Amnesty International (London, UK) and Human Rights Watch (New York, USA).

  Education
The desegregation process, led by NGO Organization Drom, started in June 2000 and its basic idea is to provide free access to quality education for Romani children from the all-Romani segregated „Nov Pat” quarter to the mainstream schooling system. For more on this, please see “Education”.

 Media
NGO Organization Drom develops video films, runs documentary programs on Regional TV and works closely with the regional, national and international print media. Moreover, the organization works closely with national and international policy makers on human rights campaigns and campaigns, targeting introduction of strategies and legislation that embrace equal participation of Roma in public life. For more on this, please see “Advocacy”

International cooperation
NGO Organization Drom representatives take part in international activities and keep contact with international NGOs. In the near future, we are planning to strengthen our role in the international environment through cross-border cooperation.


Ms. Donka Panayotova

Chairperson

 

Ms. Donka Panayotova is the chairperson of NGO Organization Drom. She has established the organization in 1997 as a human rights NGO and three years later started implementing the most popular education initiative in Central and Eastern Europe, namely, the pilot project for the desegregation of Roma education, the so-called “Vidin desegregation model”. Ms. Panayotova has a Master Degree in Pedagogy from Sofia University “Kliment Ohridski”, 20 years of experience as a teacher, and 20 years of experience in the non-governmental sector. She has participated in national strategy development for Roma and regional strategies for Roma Integration. She has contributed to WITNESS (New York), Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and European Commission reports. Her work was acknowledged by Open Society Foundation (New York) and the World Bank (Washington DC). Ms. Panayotova is the co-author of two books The Sociometry: science or method (2007) and The children are growing (2009), and she also published numerous articles and has given interviews for the national and international press and the electronic media. Ms. Panayotova has been a speaker in international conference events in Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, among other.

 


 

Ms. Savelina Roussinova

Advisor

Ms. Savelina Roussinova is a professional with over 20-year experience in human rights research and advocacy, with substantive expertise in equality and non-discrimination policies. Savelina holds MA degrees in English philology, Human Rights, and Public Policy and Management. She served as Executive Director of the Human Rights Project in Bulgaria (1997-2000) and as a senior staff member of the European Roma Rights Center based in Hungary (2001-2008). Аs a founding member of a national organization for legal defense of the rights of Roma, Savelina campaigned for the adoption of comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation in Bulgaria and for governmental policies for the social integration of the Roma minority. Her work at international level involved research on patterns of discrimination against Roma in access to fundamental rights, especially the rights to education, housing and healthcare, and advocacy for equality policies in Central and Eastern Europe. She wrote and contributed to comprehensive reports on the situation of Roma in Europe and advocacy submissions before UN Treaty bodies, the Council of Europe, the OSCE and other international organizations. As of 2018, Savelina is the Executive Director of the Community Investment Fund based in Bulgaria and works for the development and implementation of model approaches for the legalization of Roma housing.


Mrs. Tanya Kaltzeva, Lawyer

 

Mrs. Tanya Kaltzeva has graduated in public administration from Southwestern University – Blagoevgrad in 2001 and then obtained her law degree from Sofia University “St. Kl.Ohridski” in 2010. Since then, she has served as attorney in law in her private firm. Before, she had experience with law firms (Legalex and Genchev from Vidin) and she had also experience as Radio and TV journalist. She joined the team of NGO Organization Drom in 2014. She provides legal consultations and serves also as TV anchor for the TV Program “Hour of the Lawyer” on TV Vidin, run by NGO Organization Drom.

 

Mrs. Bilyana Kostova, Lawyer

 

Mrs. Bilyana Kostova has graduated from the Sofia University “St. Kl. Ohridski” n 2001. Since then, she has been working at the Vidin Regional Court for about a year and after that she served as attorney in law at her private firm. More recently, she has partnered with the National Bureau for Legal Support, attached to the Ministry of Justice. She joined the team of NGO Organization Drom in January 2018.

 

 

Mr. Kalin Kirilov, Financial Manager

Mr. Kalin  Kirilov has graduated from the Dimitar Tzenov Academy of Economics in Svishtov in 2000.  He has close to 20 years of experience in financial management and accountancy by heading financial departments at the Vidin District Authority (2000-2002), Vidin Municipality Social Services Department (2004-2012) and more recently at St. Petka Hospital in Vidin. He has joined the team of NGO Organization Drom in November 2017. 

 

Ms. Tiana Brownen, Video Advocacy and Fundraising

 

Ms. Tiana Brownen is a Fulbright English Teacher at the Yordan Radichkov Foreign Language High School in Vidin, Bulgaria. She recently graduated from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri with two majors in Communication and English. She supports work on equal housing rights campaign, video advocacy campaign, and fundraising efforts. She joined the team of NGO Organization Drom in October 2018.

 

 

 

Ms. Allison Bailey

Video Advocacy and Fundraising

 

Ms. Allison Bailey is a recent graduate of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She majored in political science with two minors in French and theatre arts. Originally from Webster City, Iowa, Allison is now a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at Tsar Simeon Veliki Secondary School in Vidin, Bulgaria. She is very excited to be working with Organization Drom on video advocacy campaign and fundraising. She joined the team of NGO Organization Drom in January 2018.