Simple is beautiful! Every city and country have a complex system of access to services, distributed between governance levels, institutions and voluntary service providers, locations, with diverse requirements and processes. Add language barrier, insufficient city orientation of a new comer, and most likely you are facing frustration.

After working with 14 other cities for over a year in an ongoing EU-funded project called CONNECTION (Connecting Cities for Integration Action), Sofia is using an European grant to run an advice bureau that can dramatically improve integration outcomes. To simplify foreigners’ access to services Sofia has joined forces with the Bulgarian Red Cross and UNHCR, and 13 NGOs active in the area of third-country nationals’ integration to set up a Bureau for Information and Services for TCN as a single point of reference, overcoming complexity. Equally important, the Bureau being a joint effort, allows for sharing resources, expertise, responsibilities and vision between a broad variety of stakeholders.

“The idea is simple – to help each citizen of Sofia have easier access to jobs, education, training, cultural orientation. This would help individuals and families and in return will help the city growth and sustainability”, says Malina Edreva, Chairwoman of the Committee on Education, Culture and Diversity in Sofia City Council.

The Bureau for Information and Services will be officially launched on September 17, the Day of Sofia. It is established in the framework of #CONNECTION project.