Did the war in Ukraine change the attitudes of Bulgarian society towards migrants and refugees? Do we know how to help the people who need protection for themselves and their families, no matter what country they are coming from? What does it take to realize that the differences between “us” and “them” are one more opportunity for improving the way we all live?
These questions framed the roundtable discussion held within the project “Da opoznaem drugia”, implemented by the Bulgarian Red Cross and the State Agency for Child Protection. The event, held on 5 August 2022, brought together representatives of civil society, universities, international organizations working for the integration of refugees in Bulgaria. Sofia Development Association also shared its experience and lessons learned from several initiatives on the topic. One is the need for providing regular, impartial information to the host society about the real situation of refuges and migrants in the country. Coalition-building and advocacy with fellow civil society organizations, but also collaboration with local and national public bodies are critical for changing the negative attitudes and misperceptions of integration. At the end of the day, acknowledging dignity and treating others with respect is the first step of building a prosperous society.