Asen Mitkov – fellow from Bulgaria
Asen Mitkov was born and raised in Vidin, north part of Bulgaria. He has solid experience in social work, especially with Roma communities. When he has started his work as social work he though it’s his mission – helping others. He has been working for more than 10 years in this field in his own community in the town of Vidin. Hi is styding 1st year Social Pedagogy in South-West University in Bulgaria.
His first experience with minority groups was when he started to work in the non-profit organization DROM on a project, aiming at desegregation of students from minority. Asen and his team were providing conditions for access to quality education to Roma children in integrated school environments. He was one of the team members who created the Vidin model of desegregation and integration. Asen’s specific role during the running of the project was to be one of the couches for students. That was the person who supported and motivated them visiting school, observed this whole process and resolved problems if happened ones.
Currently Asen is working in Centre for Working with Street Children (CWSC). The main people of the center are Roma children whose parents and family do not take the necessary care and thus neglect them and placed in social risk. The center provides day care, food and clothing, hygiene and health care, educational support and education, positive choices for their spare time, etc. for its students.
Particular emphasis in the work is the return and retention of children in school. Thus all these cares is about to achieve better quality of life of the children, their social integration as well as increased parental potential. Asen’s main role is to do the outreach work. He is mainly working in segregated fields and marginalized part of Vidin, in Roma neighborhood, where he detects children from minority who are poor, neglected or begging. Once he identifies those children he establishes initial contacts and searching for their family or relatives, informing them about the Centre, where the children could receive support. Asen is maintaining contacts with their parents or guardians and ensures counseling and mediation.
Besides his passion for social work Asen is passionate for recording videos. He had four months training course at the non-profit foundation Witness New York as camera man and he participated as volunteer in preparing documentary movie about the desegregation process in Vidin, Bulgaria.
Asen is very keen to see examples and practices from the state in the field of Social work, but he is also looking forward to get more acquainted with Community Organizing.
He speaks Bulgarian, Romanes, little Russia and English. He likes cameras and spends his time shooting movies or work in parks and enjoys chatting with friends. He and his wife have two sons: the eldest is attending South West University while the younger has just graduated from secondary school. He enjoys spending time with his family and having joy outside Vidin. Asen will have his internship at Neighborhood Organizing for Changes (Minneapolis, MN)