Sasho Kovachev from Bulgaria aims to counteract the marginalisation of the Roma people. He and his organisation LARGO are committed to ensuring that the Roma have a fair share in education and economic development, in health care and in the protection of human rights.
They are the largest ethnic minority in Europe and all have to deal with similar problems regardless of their home country: the Roma people. They are often excluded from education, health care and economic development. Their human and civil rights are impinged upon by a majority society which does not accept their ethnic differences. The situation is particularly difficult for Roma women, who are also subject to cultural constraints such marrying too young. In order to counteract this situation, the organisation “Liberal Alternative for Roma Citizen Union” (LARGO) in Bulgaria strives for the integration of the Roma people into civil society and for the protection of their ethnic and linguistic identity.
A demand for political involvement
Sasho Kovachev is chairman of LARGO. He supports the Roma community in the Kyustedil province in the South West region of Bulgaria and has dedicated himself to pushing forward the integration of the Roma community into civil society. He is founder of the local council of the Roma people in Kyustendil, and he works to ensure that the Roma participate politically and fight for their rights. Kovachev encourages them to actively engage in dialogue with local authorities and state institutions to discuss the concerns of their community. In order to reach the long-term goal of providing access to health care, education and economic development for the Roma people, Sasho and his team are particularly engaged in developing the negotiating skills of the Roma leaders.
Support for those who are particularly disadvantaged
By founding a social counselling centre, Sasho Kovachev has made it easier for disadvantaged citizens to access health and social services. He and his colleagues fill in applications and forms, and refer the applicants directly to the administrative bodies responsible. Sasho Kovachev has developed a programme to deal with the discrimination of women which helps them to integrate into Bulgarian social life. He is also the initiator of a regional network to promote the health and the social status of women.
In a “club” for Roma with a disability, Kovachev addresses the needs of a minority discriminated in two ways. In cooperation with his organisation, he is the spokesman for the rights and wellbeing of a particularly vulnerable group within society.