World Refugee Day 2007 National Activities: Bulgaria
World Refugee Day, 20 June 2007
Refugees planted trees in a central Sofia park. Refugee children performed national dances.
Awareness workshops were held in UN clubs in secondary schools around the country. They reached 1,000 secondary school students and teachers in 12 schools and culture clubs in seven cities. Various activities were organized, including multimedia lessons, debates, quizzes, essay competitions and photo exhibitions.
A national competition for best "human interest" story was organized. Twenty journalists participated with feature stories, documentaries and interviews. Three awards were given.
- UNHCR concerned by border practices after deaths of two Iraqis at the Bulgaria-Turkey border
- Bureaucracy threatens the dream of enterprising refugees in Bulgaria
- Bulgarians urged to "see refugees through new eyes" in media campaign
- UNHCR chief urges Europe to help Bulgaria cope with Syrian refugee influx
- Bulgaria struggles to cope with Syrian influx at dilapidated camp
UNHCR country pages
The Children of Harmanli Face a Bleak Winter
Since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011, more than 2 million people have fled the violence. Many have made their way to European Union countries, finding sanctuary in places like Germany and Sweden. Others are venturing into Europe by way of Bulgaria, where the authorities struggle to accommodate and care for some 8,000 asylum-seekers, many of whom are Syrian. More than 1,000 of these desperate people, including 300 children, languish in an overcrowded camp in the town of Harmanli, 50 kilometres from the Turkish-Bulgarian border. These people crossed the border in the hope of starting a new life in Europe. Some have travelled in family groups; many have come alone with dreams of reuniting in Europe with loved ones; and still others are unaccompanied children. The sheer number of people in Harmanli is taxing the ability of officials to process them, let alone shelter and feed them. This photo essay explores the daily challenges of life in Harmanli.