Acknowledgements from the graduates of the free Bulgarian language training

More than 8 months into the brutal war in Ukraine, Bulgaria is a host to more than 54 000 citizens of Ukraine who have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter abroad. The IOM Bulgaria team continues working hard to provides various forms of support to people fleeing the war and facilitate their integration in Bulgaria.  

Mastering a foreign language can be challenging and even intimidating, yet it is a major prerequisite for the migrants’ integration in the country’s labour market, building strong social connections and bolstering their sense of independence and self-esteem. 

Beneficiary posing with a certificate

Subsequently, one of the key focal points in IOM Bulgaria’s activities related to the crisis in Ukraine is providing free Bulgarian language training to people fleeing the war in Ukraine. With the support of The Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) by The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) we have been able to offer educational opportunities to hundreds of individuals. 

Ukrainian beneficiary with a Bulgarian language certificate

The Bulgarian language programme started at the end of August and as of today, 56 people have already completed the course and received a certificate. Currently there are 134 Ukrainian citizens enrolled in the programme, and by the end of December we expect 190 people to have completed their Bulgarian language studies at levels A1 and A2.   

Some of the most rewarding moments in our work is seeing the results and witnessing the beneficiaries’ sense of satisfaction and gratitude.

a gratitude card from a beneficiary

a gratitude card from a Ukrainian beneficiary

Every day the Bulgarian language tutors and IOM team members receive touching messages with words of gratitude. Some of the people who completed the language course even sent “thank you” cards. One of them starts with the words “Thank you for making us feel significant”. Such words coming from people who have gone through innumerable hardships and pain motivates us more than anything to keep working hard to support vulnerable migrants in Bulgaria. 

Ukraine response banner