The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Bulgaria, in partnership with the Bulgarian Red Cross (BRC), the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (BHC) and representatives of the refugee community, today inaugurated a Blue Dot Safe Space, Protection and Support Hub in Varna. The space is located at the BRC’s headquarters in the city and was opened in the presence of UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria Christina de Bruin, UNHCR Representative in Bulgaria Rao Narasimha, Mr. Blagomir Kotsev, Regional Governor, Varna and Mr. Ilia Raev, Chairperson, BRC Varna.
Actress Elena Petrova national UNICEF Ambassador also took part in the opening ceremony.
More than 5 million refugees have been forced to flee Ukraine since 24 February 2022. Since then, over 450,000 people from Ukraine have arrived in Bulgaria, out of whom over 87,000 are remaining in the country. Out of all received temporary protection in Bulgaria, almost 40% are children. Most of the refugees that remain in the country have decided to settle in the Black Sea area and more specifically in the Varna region.
UNICEF and UNHCR have established 30 Blue Dots along major transit routes of which 6 Blue Dots in Bulgaria – safe spaces providing support to the families fleeing the war in Ukraine.
The Blue Dots are safe spaces and one-stop hubs for protection and essential services, rolled out in countries hosting refugees from Ukraine – including Poland, Romania, and Moldova – to provide key protection and social services including information, legal counseling, psychological support, identification and referrals for children, women, families, and other people and groups exposed to specific heightened risks as they flee the conflict in Ukraine.
The ‘Blue Dots’ expand the assistance provided by national governments and are organized in coordination with state authorities and other partners along key transit routes and destinations to help children and families in need.
So far, around 7,000 refugees, including children with disabilities and unaccompanied children, have received services at the ‘Blue Dots’ in Bulgaria.
- Over 1,600 children have received support in the child-friendly spaces
- 800 people have received psychosocial support
- More than 5,000 people have received information or have been offered referral services
Source and picture:unicef.org