Monday, June 23, 2014

How Sofia held Refugee Day: "Bus of Tolerance" and renovated refugee center

Over 51 million people are currently forced to leave their home due to persecution and the fear of death. This is the biggest number since the Second World War, as the representative of UNHCR in Bulgaria, Mr. Roland-François Weil stated in his speech on last Friday, the World Refugee Day.  We went to several events on that day, in honor of all the people fleeing from their home. At 11 o clock Mr. Roland-François Weil, together with the Mayor of Sofia Mrs. Mariya Fandakova introduced a Bus Nr. 280 to the public, which was painted by the artists Stoyan Stoynov and Atanas Skodov. The faces of refugee children shall represent the different nationalities and that nobody wants to be a refugee. The Bus is going to drive as a symbol of Tolerance through the city, reminding of the over 11.000 people seeking for protection and asylum in the last years in Bulgaria.


At the early noon, the Vrazhdebna refugee center for resettlement in Sofia opened the door for Media, officials and NGOs members. The event was initiated by the UNHCR office in Bulgaria by Bulgarian Red Cross. The visitors were expected to be guided to this newly renovated center where 60 people reside at the moment and enjoy the performances prepared by the refugee children. However, due to the respect of the situation currently happening in Varna the performances were canceled. Nonetheless, the head of the center colonel Ivan Penkov guided everyone around the center showing the improved conditions of living, press representatives played football with the small ones in front of the center thus making everyone smile.  Although it is hard, their lives do not stop. 

written by Indre Lechtimiakyte and Ida Meyenberg

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