The Chairman of the Sofia City Council, Mr. Georgi Georgiev, officially opened the school year at 119. Secondary School “Acad. Mikhail Arnaudov” together with Mr. Narasimha Rao Nilagiri Lakshmi, representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
This year, both Bulgarian students and children and teenagers from refugee families from Ukraine will start the school year in the school. According to data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, over 2,018 Ukrainian children were enrolled in Bulgarian schools and kindergartens in the last 6 months.
Georgi Georgiev welcomed students, teachers and parents and wished them all academic success. Georgiev also presented all students with reflective bracelets to ensure their safety on the road.
Mr. Rao also gave a speech in which he congratulated the school for being an excellent example of how refugee children can become a part of school life and get the opportunity to develop their gifts to become responsible and successful citizens of the world. He also specified that around 90 million people around the world are forcibly displaced, 41% of them being children and have limited access to education.
“Bulgaria has a long history of helping refugees, and in view of what is happening in Ukraine, our activities should be even more focused. UNHCR welcomes the efforts made by the Bulgarian state to support the refugees, help them find a livelihood and get involved in the economic and social life of the country. Ensuring access to education is part of these efforts, and UNHCR thanks Bulgaria for all the actions to include refugee children in the national education system,” the UNHCR representative also shared.
119 Secondary School’s headmaster Diyan Stamatov welcomed students and officially put a start to the new school year with the ringing of the first bell.
The joint opening of the school year is supported by the Bureau of Information and Services for Third Country Nationals.