Mahala - Cluster from the Fuse Platform in the programme of Plovdiv 2019
In Plovdiv, the Roma population is considered to be close to 80,000. Many of them claim to be of Turkish or other origin and only a small percentage self-identify as Roma. In Plovdiv, these communities are concentrated in four areas: Stolipinovo, Sheker Mahala, Hadji Hassan Mahala and Arman Mahala. Stolipinovo among them is one of the biggest ghettos on the Balkans. We use the word “ghetto” to determine its isolation from
The cluster with a Turkish name is among the most important programme sections of Plovdiv 2019 and includes projects for integration of social, ethnic and minority groups. Its aim is to achieve maximum involvement and participation of the Roma and Turkish communities to help overcome barriers and stereotypes towards minorities and their territories and vice versa - the prejudices in the minorities themselves for life outside the ghetto.
This is the project cluster registering the biggest international interest on behalf of partner organizations including the Panel of the European Commission. Ambivalent and complex this cluster relies less on public and mass events than on education, encouraging creative and entrepreneurial initiatives, social activity and dialogue. Activities related to the creation of active community cultural projects in Stolipinovo are united in the flagship project with the same name - Mahala. As part of the work on the cluster, we have also an ethnographic study of the communities in the neighbourhood of Stolipinovo, which you can read here.