Maria Atanasova

Volunteer & Advocate for Integration of Roma Youth

Maria Atanasova is a young Roma from Bulgaria and a volunteer with Arete Youth Foundation, a Romani non-profit organisation working with Roma communities in Bulgaria. The organisation supports the development and integration of Roma youth via mentorship programmes. Maria mentors students, organises initiatives in the Roma community and represents Arete Youth Foundation at conferences, events and institutions. She is also a volunteer coordinator at The Social Teahouse - Varna, a social enterprise offering mentorship and entrepreneurship programmes with the aim of supporting children without parental care. Atanasova organises activities for the children from these institutions, participates in the communication between institutions and volunteers, mentors young people in The Social Teahouse, recruits volunteers and coordinates a group of 20 volunteers. Maria won the Young European of the Year 2020 by Schwarzkopf Foundation; the prize for volunteering, mentorship and activism. 

Upon receiving the Woman in Youth Activism Award, Mariya Atanasova said, “The Women of Europe Awards are important because we still need a reminder in society that there are strong women across Europe who are great role models.”