A few years ago I was invited to join an international delegation of diplomats and human rights experts as an interpreter in a Bulgarian village facing ethnic violence. I was not a professional interpreter back then, nor am I now, but given the sensitive and complex situation, all the invited professionals declined the job. What happened in that small village was an isolated case of ethnic tension between Roma and ethnic Bulgarians, but sporadic ethnic tension continues to occur throughout rural Bulgaria.
I realized that someone needed to do something about it and that it would require a careful approach that wouldn’t polarize society further. I’m convinced that education is the best long-term strategy to solving complex problems, so I started a non-profit which provides training for personal and professional development for girls and women in rural areas of Bulgaria.
If you want to hear my story of how I went from an accidental interpreter to become the founder of a non-profit that empowers girls and women, come to the Peace & Justice Center on the 1st of December at 5pm, where I will be a guest speaker at the monthly WILPF (Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom) meeting.
-Marina Kisyova, PJC Fellow