The Blagoevgrad community gathered together on the AUBG campus to mark World Refugee Day on June 19. The first-ever event for World Refugee Day (June 20) in town happened in collaboration between AUBG and South-West University, the international charity Humanity First and volunteers from Blagoevgrad. The “Home without Borders” event was attended by nearly 200 people, including families with children from Ukraine.
The event began with the symbolic release of white doves by representatives of Humanity First, AUBG, SWU, and the volunteer and Ukrainian communities in Blagoevgrad.
“AUBG’s family is large – our university is home to students and faculty from more than 40 countries,” said AUBG Dean of Students Sabina Wien. “As soon as the war broke out in Ukraine, AUBG provided support to both our Ukrainian students and their families who are victims of the aggression, as well as to the refugees who arrived in our region. We are happy to join this initiative and host today’s event. To us, Home without Borders is a symbol of solidarity not only with the Ukrainian refugees in Blagoevgrad, but also with all people around the world who need protection. People who need a home without borders!”
Zubair Khan, Director of Humanity First – Germany, Dr. Svetlana Hristova who teaches at SWU, Sabina Wien from AUBG, Savina Topurska on behalf of the volunteers and Anastasia Mozgova on behalf of the Ukrainian community in town, all spoke at the event. Volunteers from Blagoevgrad who work to support the refugees received diplomas from the international charity Humanity First.
The Home Without Borders program included a concert by children and young people from Ukraine, as well as an exhibition of drawings on the topic of “Peace” by Ukrainian refugee children. The child artists were rewarded with treats and their families received food vouchers provided by Humanity First. There were also art workshops for the children, and the catering was provided free of charge by the Punjab da Sher restaurant. A donation point by the Ahmadiyya Muslim community was also set up for new and second-hand clothes and belongings for those in need.
On June 20, the Ukrainian refugees will distribute water as a sign of gratitude to the locals of Blagoevgrad. The campaign is funded by Humanity First.
During the summer months, Blagoevgrad will host courses in Bulgarian, speech therapy classes and art workshops, organized by the Arms Wide Open Foundation and funded by the BCause Foundation and BG4UA.