Examination of Poverty in Bulgaria
Causes for examination of poverty
In the past 20 years Caritas Bulgaria accumulated experience in providing social services to vulnerable people. Apart from that we have significant experience in listening and rendering assistance to vulnerable groups and we have a lot of information, received directly from people in need. Our goal is by knowing in detail the situation with poverty in our country to carry out better advocacy and lobbying in favor of the most vulnerable and poor people.
Every day our social workers and volunteers meet hundreds of people in need, to whom we render assistance as much as we can, always after conversations with them. The amount of knowledge and experience accumulated through the years has led to the following logical step – working out of methodology for assessment and analysis.
Exploration of the experience of others
At the very beginning of the research, knowing that we are not the first ones to carry out research of that kind we have set for ourselves as a goal and managed to study the experience of more than 10 different organizations from Bulgaria and from abroad who had already carried out such research on poverty. Some of our partner organizations of Caritas in Europe have tremendous experience in studying poverty. Caritas Italy has a network of centers for listening in many parish and diocesan organizations of Caritas. Caritas Spain have created a separate organization which is occupied only with research. In our region organizations like Caritas Bosnia and Herzegovina and Caritas Croatia also have successful research and reports on the topic of studying poverty.
In Bulgaria we have studied the experience of our diocesan organization Caritas Sofia, which carried out research of that kind among its parishes in 2013.
From the international organizations – Eurostat, and from Bulgaria – the National Institute of Statistics also gave us information about their professional research in this field.
In 2013 we started research on poverty among us and namely among our target groups of people in need, with whom we are together every day – in the centers of Caritas, in the parishes of the Catholic Church and among our partners. We have created a methodology as the first step for research not only on poverty among us, but a methodology, which we claim to be able to use as a universal tool for future research in the social field, where we can feel our strength and could contribute to solving the problems of the most vulnerable people in our society. Our intentions are our organization to decide once per year which topics we should explore that are related to our current activities in aid of people in need.
Our methodology is different because we make qualitative and not quantitative research and analysis of the state of poor people. We don’t make reference to pallid statistics of various numbers and percentages but we strive through ordinary conversations to make in-depth research on what the causes for poverty and its consequences are.