Minister of Labour and Social Policy Zornitsa Rusinova presented the Annual Social Innovation Awards. The Minister pointed out that the social economy theme is new to Bulgaria as well as to the European Union but there were many companies, cooperatives, non-governmental organisations and services in Bulgaria implementing projects in this field. There are many challenges before us but there are also ideas in the field of social entrepreneurship, related to the social integration and employment of disadvantaged people, which we can develop.
Minister Zornitsa Rusinova awarded the winners in the Social Innovations in Employment category. First prize went to Municipal Company Lozana EAD providing sustainable employment to 40 people, of whom 25 seriously disabled persons including with intellectual and mental difficulties. Second prize was awarded to Dimitrovgrad Social Enterprise, Dimitrovgrad Municipality working for the active social inclusion of people from groups at risk. Third prize went to the Social Tea Shop in Varna providing mentorship support and firs job to young people from social institutions.
Deputy Minister Denitsa Sacheva awarded the prizes in the Social Innovations in Social Inclusion category. First prize was awarded to Together We Can Do More Association implementing jointly with the Central Cooperative Union a fund-raising project in support of children and families at risk and prevention of separation. Second prize went to Balkan Federation of Adapted Physical Activity “BALKANS AND THE BLACK SEA REGION – FAPA” implementing sport initiatives for children with disabilities. Third prize was for Silvena and Krasimir Hristovi raising a child with the Down’s syndrome.
The Chairman of the Agency for People with Disabilities Mincho Koralski awarded the prizes to the winners in the Social Innovations in the Provision of Social Products and Services category. The jury awarded first prize to Listen Foundation which created an online platform for sign language and speech to text transformer. ASSIST – Assistive Technologies Foundation won second prize. It has created demonstration devices for eye control assistive technologies so that they can consult people with severe physical disabilities. Second prize was also awarded to Kolev & Kolev OOD manufacturing custom made orthopaedic footwear for children. Third prize went to APPEAL Association from the town of Gorna Oryahovitsa. The Association consults and trains children deprived of parental care, children victims of trafficking and violence, and children with disabilities.