Roma Professional Network

The Roma Professional Network is a community where professionals support one another, foster their talents, exchange ideas, and develop partnerships with local businesses.

Through regular meetings and events, the network connects young professionals and students with real businesses in order to strengthen the labor market and help participants achieve their career goals. The network also provides a platform for beginning a dialogue that addresses issues impacting the Roma community in the workforce.  

Office 1 Superstore, AVON, TNT, Panda Cooperation, and IBM are some of the businesses that have been represented at Roma Professional Network events.

Click here to visit the Roma Professional Network Facebook Group.

Problem

Historically, no networking groups or support systems have existed for professional Roma in Bulgaria. Therefore, the opportunity to collaborate and to build trust among Roma and with the larger community was lacking. The absence of a professional “brand” and visibility of Roma in the private sector prevented college graduates from entering the private sector. The Roma people of Bulgaria have not had a substantial number of role models and professional credibility in the working world. Many who do graduate from college do not disclose their ethnic identity for fear of losing career opportunities, in some cases due to discriminatory practices and a legal system void of equal opportunity employment laws and affirmative action legislation. As a result, the community loses positive role models. Additionally, this further reinforces negative stereotypes (all “Gypsies” are lazy, uneducated, and antisocial) by removing all positive examples of successful Roma business people, leaders, and educators from the public eye.

Solution

The Roma Professional Network helps fill the void of professional development and support for Roma in Bulgaria. Network activities support individuals who wish to pursue a career in the private sector. The network encourages talented, educated young professionals to stay in-country by creating partnerships and supplying job opportunities in connection with the local business community. By building up a core of professional Roma, there will be role models and support for future generations who wish to hold professional positions in the private sector.

Mission

To support Roma throughout their professional careers via on online community and in-person professional development opportunities.

Vision

Roma professionals will serve as role models for future generations and will take on leadership positions in all sectors of Bulgarian society.

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