The team of Plovdiv 2019 explores the access to health and education in Stolipinovo
435 household surveys with nearly 2,000 respondents was summarized in a study on the educational and health access of Stolipinovo communities. The data were presented by the team of Plovdiv 2019 in a report that is part of the project All Together – for Better Education and Health, funded by the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program under the Program for Promotion of Social Inclusion of Roma and Other Vulnerable Groups. The study was made to be a starting point for the training of mediators and teachers to work with different groups in Stolipinovo. It will be organized by the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation as the next stage of the implementation of the project after the conducted introductory training of teachers for working with children from the neighborhood.
According to the study done for the period June – July 2017 the most important priorities for the citizens in Stolipinovo are: to pay attention to their family, to secure stability and financial security, and on a next stage – not to lose the respect of family, colleagues, neighbors. It is notable that the large number of people in the sample reported that they had a personal GP – 91%, but still about one third of the respondents are uninsured. The study shows that low income is a factor in dropping out of health insurance, but it is not the main source.
In Stolipinovo, the mother’s close concern for the little child is considered important. Therefore, the use of junior kinder-gardens is rare, and by the children of 3-4 years only one third visit a garden. At the age of 5-6 and pre-school preparation already three-quarters of the children are covered. That is why the authors of the report recommend creating a more flexible service of hourly classes per day.
Virtually all children in the neighborhood undergo immunization, three quarters are taken annually on a prophylactic examination and the rest – less often. The health situation shows that the most common are cardiovascular disease and diabetes, then asthma and mental illness, including neurosis. In Stolipinovo people die earlier – the share of people of the sample reaching the retirement age of 65 is 4%.
In the last few years, the percentage of young people who are 9th, 10th, 12th grade is growing steadily. Community attitudes are changing – secondary education for children is the desired standard even by parents with much lower education. Still the university is distant and considered unattainable in the community. The proportion of children not covered by the education system or dropped out before the 7th grade has declined twice in ten years and is now about 1 in 10 children. The study showed that the main factor in early childhood dropouts is domestic family problem – divorces, single mothers, single fathers, parents working abroad, and grandparents. A factor is the weak knowledge of Bulgarian language. The good news is that there is no explanation of school drop-out for financial reasons in the poll. This means that today the school is a more important priority than the household and financial difficulties of families.
The report analyses more information on the demographic characteristics, employment and wealth of residents in the neighborhood.
One distinct is the difference in the indicators per district of the neighborhood that can be mentioned. Of the sample, about 40% of men work, and 20% of women (who are engaged in informal work in the neighborhood). The biggest employer for the residents of the neighborhood is the Municipality of Plovdiv, and of the 435 households surveyed, 265 people are abroad. An early age of marriages between the residents of Stolipinovo is still observed. One of the alternatives, according to the report, is that mediators could strengthen the relationship with school and look for motivation to complete secondary education.
The project All together – for Better Education and Health has budget of BGN 1 077 495 and aims to achieve the educational and health integration of Roma and other vulnerable groups living in the territory of Stolipinovo in Plovdiv and in the town of Kuklen. The project includes several components: infrastructure, education and healthcare. The project’s activities also include the construction of the Health Center East and the construction of an Educational Center in the yard of the schools Naiden Gerov and Kiril Nektariev in Stolipinovo.
Leading organization for the project All together – for Better Education and Health is the Municipality of Plovdiv, which provides co-financing of BGN 43 633. Partners are Plovdiv 2019 Foundation, Kuklen Municipality, the India – Roma Foundation, HC East, school Nayden Gerov, school Kiril Nektariev, KG Lilia and the National Network of Health Mediators.
The project activities are planned to be completed by the end of April 2019.