The Refugee Advisory Board (RAB) supports refugee leadership through their participation in the policy-making process that has a direct impact on the well-being of refugee communities with a focus on local integration. The Council consists of 5 members who are refugees. It consists of members from several countries, namely Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. They speak multiple languages, including Arabic, English, Kurdish, Persian, Bulgarian, Russian and Spanish. It has been supported and configured by UNHCR Bulgaria.
Members of the Refugee Advisory Board
Alan is a Kurd from Syria. He has a medical diploma with 2 years of experience as an ophthalmologist. He travelled and lived outside Syria for most of his life and when he decided to settle and continue his profession in Syria, the war began. He decided to move and since late 2014, he settled in Bulgaria and works in IT-related projects. He is passionate about travelling, cooking, and technology. Travelling around the world helped him realize that what brings us together is much more than the differences we have among ourselves. So let us focus on what could bring us together in the Bulgarian society, and be part of it in order to have a good future for us and for the Bulgarian society as a whole.
Alias is 37 years old and has many identities. He is a refugee, a traveler, a husband, a teacher, a father and maybe your future advisor and friend! He loves to travel, read, write, dance, listen to music, meet new people and learn new things. His strengths are administration and management, and translation into Arabic, Spanish and English. He has many years of experience in teaching Arabic and Spanish at various universities.
The reason he chose to be part of the Refugee Advisory Board is that each piece of it belongs to some part of the world, and helping others reinforces that spirit and helps the pieces come together.
Ahmed is an electrical engineer from Iraq. He worked in the independent press for 8 years in addition to his work in construction and decoration. He has lived in Bulgaria since 2015. He worked in humanitarian organizations in Bulgaria (Caritas Sofia) for 4 years as a coordinator of the integration program (orientation program) and the employment program (Career Center). Through his work he has gained vast experience in the humanitarian field. He currently works in a technology company in Bulgaria. As a member of the Refugee Advisory Board, he wants to be the voice of refugees, as well as part of solving the problems they face. He wants to create a positive image of Bulgarian society among refugees
Kays is 29 years old and was born in Northern Afghanistan. He has been in Bulgaria since 2016 and currently works for an international company. He has worked as a social mediator and translator at Centre for Legal Aid Voice in Bulgaria. He likes to be busy and use every opportunity to build a bright future for the benefit of Bulgarian society. He studied English literature at the University of Balkh, Afghanistan. He speaks English, Pashto, Dari, Farsi and a little Hindi; studies Bulgarian language. Kays is in close contact with the Afghan community in Bulgaria. He likes Bulgaria because of the warm, hospitable and friendly people and sees many common features between Bulgarians and Afghans.
His advice to newly-arrived refugees and asylum seekers in Bulgaria is to be patient, to look for opportunities for development and work.
Silsila is from Afghanistan and has lived in Bulgaria since 2015. She studied civil engineering in Afghanistan and is currently studying economics and control at the New Bulgarian University. She worked for 4 years in radio and television as a TV presenter. In Bulgaria she has worked in a non-governmental organization (Caritas Sofia) as a case manager. She now owns a fashion company that produces modern clothing (a combination of East and West) by refugee women living in Bulgaria. For Silsila, being part of the Refugee Advisory Board means a lot because being the voice of women is invaluable. She hopes and wants to encourage many other women to be able to stand up for themselves, be able to be independent and make choices for their lives.