Providing refugees with financial education

“Today… we made life a bit better for a family of refugees in Bulgaria.”

"When I first went into the refugee camp, it was evening and nearly winter. I was there with two volunteers. We were carrying bags of clothes and food.  

No one can be ready to see the conditions in the camp. And they’re difficult to describe, too. There were a few curtains separating small spaces, to make rooms for each family. Some people had made beds from basic mattresses, and other people slept on the floor.  

We met a huge family of about twelve, including a really little one, about one or two years’ old. I really didn’t expect the welcome they gave us. They wanted us to stay and talk with them. A few of them spoke some English, but the rest of them just wanted to talk to us in whatever way they could. They even prepared us a dinner in traditional Syrian style. Couscous, with vegetables and sauces – it was like a small celebration for them, simply that we were paying them attention. They sang some traditional songs. It was really emotional.  

These people were a normal family – just like mine. Of course they’d come over from a different country with a different language, different cultural traditions, but I felt really close to them.  

I kept thinking that we could help more, that we could involve more people. So I decided to apply for this Experian refugee project, working alongside two charities – CVS-Bulgaria and Caritas Sofia. The project helped to organise workshops and language lessons and trips for the children, to give them something to do and to help them keep up their education.  

And now we can help the parents of those children too. For the families who want to stay in Bulgaria, we can give them financial education. From just opening a bank account, to how the financial system here works, we’ll be able to give these people the financial information they need to get their lives started again.  

It means a lot, seeing what a difference we’re making, how we’re changing lives. Meeting these people, you know you’re doing something meaningful just from the smile on their faces. It gives you strength to continue to do more, as much as you can."

Elitsa Popova Experian Bulgaria