Martenitsas for Education
Актуализирано: 27.05.2021 г.
Nineteen Bulgarian women were killed by their partners in 2020 according to an article by "OffNews", seventeen of whom were killed between January and November 2020, according to an article by “Rado Free Europe, Bulgaria”. On the occasion of November 25 - The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women - the "Bulgarian Fund for Women" reported an increase in cases by 30% since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. “Puls” Foundation and “Animus” Association shared that in Bulgaria, there has been a serious increase in both the received signals and the number of people who became victims of domestic violence for the first time. It is not clear whether the number of victims is greater than 19, as in Bulgaria there are no official statistics by state institutions. *
Currently, in Bulgaria, there are no working legal measures to counteract the problem of domestic violence. Bulgaria is one of the six EU member states and the only country in the Balkans that has not ratified the Istanbul Convention, the most recent example of international experience in preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. The local government also abandoned the Child Protection Strategy, which was supposed to help child victims. **
“Okrilena” Foundation and the fight against domestic violence
We at the “Okrilena” Foundation believe that supporting crisis centers is extremely important in order for them to continue to operate and keep their doors open to anyone who witnesses or is subjected to domestic violence. This month we were kindly invited by the “BCause” Foundation to attend their "8th of March Online Accelerator", which Ms. Lyudmila Atanasova and her team organized to train NGOs in the art of fundraising. “BCause” is an expert organization dealing with the development of philanthropy and social investment. In response to the increasing number of cases of domestic violence in Bulgaria, “BCause” sought opportunities and resources for crisis assistance to organizations working in this field. The needs of organizations working to support women and children victims of domestic violence have increased during the pandemic. The purpose of the online accelerator was to help participating organizations create successful donation campaigns themselves and to enable donors to be useful through supporting specific actions created to combat domestic violence, in addition to raising awareness and empathy in society. We at “Okrilena” joined the accelerator to better understand the needs and difficulties that organizations and centers face in this area and how we could be useful as an NGO fighting against domestic violence and for gender equality in Bulgaria.
During the accelerator we met strong and brave women who, with limited funding, managed to shelter and help women and their children to live through the trauma inflicted by the violence in their homes and to continue their lives independently and fully later on. We noticed that the participants were all mentioning a similar problem, namely that they failed to spread public awareness outside the areas where the centers are located. This further complicates fundraising and reduces the facilities that the centers can offer to their temporary residents. As an organization that is primarily concerned with increasing public engagement on issues related to gender equality and