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Meeting with the Belgian intercultural mediators
30.09.2012 zdravenmediator.net - Диляна Дилкова

Within Integro Association’s project “Platform for generating approaches and methods for the integration of Roma population on a regional level”, three experts– Liliya Makaveeva (Integro Association), Prof. Ilona Tomova (Bulgarian Academy of Science), and Prof. Ivaylo Tarnev, are investigating working models, approaches and practices in the sphere of integration of minorities in three municipalities – Gent, Belgium; Ostrava, Czech Republic; Kavarna, Bulgaria. The goal is to research the specific approaches in different communities and groups and how a real participation of the ethnic minorities in the decision-making processes on a regional level is guaranteed.

The three experts visited and made field research in Gent and Brussels and met representatives of the local authorities, social services, labor bureaus, and NGO’s.

During the visit, they met with representatives of FOER ICB - the largest Belgian NGO, which deals with the problems of minorities and has 40-year-old history. There was also a meeting with the Roma services to the FOER ICB, where Roma people work primarily as education mediators. One of them is Biser Alekov, who is a trainer of the mediators in Bulgaria in the ROMED Programme.
A meeting with the FOER ICB Department of intercultural mediators was also organized. The Intercultural Mediator Programme has a 20-year-old history in Belgium. The mediate between representatives of different minorities and the healthcare system and are practically health mediators. Currently, there are Arabs, Roma, Albanians, Serbians, and Russians working as intercultural mediators. The Moroccan Hamida Chikhi, is the Coordinator of the Intercultural Mediators Programme. She has a degree as a Psychiatric nurse and has worked eight years in the Belgian Anti-Discrimination Committee. The meeting went very well and both sides expressed desire for collaboration and exchange of experience.
In Gent, we organized a meeting with Angel Ekov, a Roma from Kotel, who has been in Belgium for 10 years. He has worked as an intercultural mediator in a hospital, has a psychology degree, and recently founded a Help Centre for Roma People in Flanders.


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