Journalism, Youth participation and empowerment

Make news vs Fake news

Improve functional literacy of marginalized students and publish online student Roma newspaper, which doesn’t exist in Bulgaria, made by them together with peers as mentors – Make news, no Fake news.


Who is behind this?

Ivanka Vateva

Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation



Idea pitch

We’ll work with Roma from schools and vocational high schools in Pleven and Dolna Mitropolia on2 stages - increase functional literacy and publish student newspaper. This is unique in Bulgaria and important for their labor realization, which is problematic. Our project achieves 2 more goals: rapprochement of2 social groups - in literacy of Roma their peers from elite schools will participate as mentors; we’ll teach students distinguish fake news by creating real news - Make news vs Fake news.

Where will your project idea take place?

Pleven district, North-Western planning region

What is the specific societal challenge faced by this region?

Bulgaria ranks last in EU in the PISA test. 53% of 9-graders have basic reading skills (OECD average 77%).This lack is even deeper among ethnic minorities, leads to their marginalization and, in the long run, to problems for the whole society - high unemployment,pressure on the social system, crime, and in prticular to easier acceptance of fake news.The problem is clearly evident in the typical for Pleven diametrical performance in the BLL exam - 5 elite schools are in the first 100 and 5 "Roma" high schools - in the last 100 out of 1,000 schools.
The news is that proficiency and communication in Bulgarian is already the most important competence that employers expect (survey of the Employment Agency among 400,000 companies, 2019). 42.3% of employers in Pleven district state such a need.

Who are you doing it for?

1. For the students from 11th and 12th grade from 5 high schools and vocational high schools in Pleven and one high school in Dolna Mitropolia, who will develop their abilities for storytelling and writing. A total of about 130 people, the best in the preparatory activities, will form an editorial board for a Roma student newspaper;
2. Students from 11th and 12th grade in 3 elite Pleven schools, who as volunteers will be mentors of their Roma peers;
3. The families of the students and the Roma community in the two towns and villages in which the participants are;
4. Teachers of Bulgarian Language and Literature (BLL)
5. Residents of the region, which in the last 20 years has lost 4 of its 5 local newspapers.

How do you plan to get there?

By raising the language culture and highlighting natural leaders and most ambitiouschildrenamong Roma students, to build an editorial board of at least 5 people to lay the foundations of a Roma student newspaper.
1. Improving language culture and functional literacy of 11th- and 12th-graders of Roma origin from 6 schools in Pleven and Dolna Mitropolia with poor results in the BLL exams, by performing didactic tasks: finding the meaning of complex words in the Bulgarian interpretive dictionary; creating text with a given word (sentence; paragraph; story); arrangement of anagrams; oral retelling of a story by Bulgarian author. Group visit to a film together with project volunteers - students from leading local schools with excellent results on the BLL exams in recent years, and a written retelling of the plot.
2. Organizing Scrabble game competitions – proven to develop vocabulary and cognitive skills - in each school and 2 final competitions between the school winners and student mentors;
3. Organizing debates among the participants in the project, together with the Debates club at the Center for Work with Children – Pleven;
4. Establishment of an editorial board for publishing a Roma student newspaper;
5. Additional (initial) training in journalism, technical and technological skills;
6. Publishing once a month of own newspaper "Roma -F-a-k-e-Make news" (working title)

What are the expected results?

All the participants will acquire new personal skills, teamwork skills, increased self-esteem, knowledge in an attractive for young people profession, such as journalism. It is a chance for young Roma to become more curious, to learn many things outside their environment - about public institutions, about thetreasuresin museums, galleries and theaters. Their roleofjournalists will meet them with interesting people. It will be an occasion to delve into their own family and community history, to find interesting facts, to create. The authors themselves will challenge the people around them with their work and will pave the way for followers.

How does your idea strengthen active citizenship at a local and community level?

We want to show young Roma that it makes sense to be educated and literate. The smartest and most persistent among them will prove to be natural leaders and will join the editorial board of the newspaper. And because good example is contagious, they will attract their siblings, friends and neighbors. Communication between peers from the Bulgarian and Roma ethnic groups in everyday life is rare and, unfortunately, is often more of a confrontation, at best - a manifestation of curiosity. During their joint work, in games, competitions and debates, the participants will get to know each other, and this creates trust. All of them, and especially the young Roma, will develop their knowledge, skills and desire to be active citizens, not consumers.

Why is this idea important to you?

For 30 years of publishing a newspaper (from 2001 to 2015 daily; from March 2015 - online) the team of our foundation has accumulated vast experience. We have the ability to find common language with local and state authorities, institutions and organizations from the whole spectrum of public life. Contemporary Pleven Media Foundation has not only built relations with civil society organizations in the region, it’s one of the locomotives of these processes. Our main efforts have always been to provoke higher civic activity.
Over the years we’ve set the direction of local politics, we’ve stood behind causes and events, and encouraged good deeds. It’s time to expand our horizons by creating something that we know how to do and that hasn’t been done in Bulgaria - a Roma student newspaper.

€ 35000,-

Total budget

€ 35000,-

Funding requested from Civic Europe

Major expenses

Project management - 18,000 euro
Salaries for teachers, juries, judges of the competitions - 2,000 euro
Diplomas, certificates, prizes - 1,000 euro
Publicity - 300 euro
Advertising materials - 1,000 euro
Trainings (travel expenses, accommodation, catering, etc.) - 1,500 euro
Publishing the newspaper - 9,000 euro
For hosting - 200 euro
Games and stationery - 800 euro
Transport costs - 400 euro
Indirect costs - 800 euro

What do you need from the Civic Europe community?

We expect opinions, comments and advice for effective inclusion of Roma youth in the social and cultural life of their municipality. Is there an idea realized elsewhere for publishing a student Roma newspaper? We don't want a crutch, just a friendly shoulder.




Idea created on April 26, 2021
Last edit on April 26, 2021

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