Maria Atanasova holds a BA degree in Midwifery from the Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria. In 2017, Maria joined a social enterprise called The Social Teahouse; as one of the mentors, she guided and tutored youths and children who have been deprived of parental care. In 2018, she chaired as a Volunteer Coordinator and led a group of volunteers, organized activities, recruited volunteers and collaborated with different institutions. At The Social Teahouse, she also has been part of the initiative, She in Varna, with the aim of empowering young girls and women.
Maria further demonstrates her active engagement within the Romani community in Bulgaria by participating in a mentorship program in a Romani NGO, where she advises Romani youths and aids them in pursuing their educational goals. While working with at-risk groups, Maria became more aware of social inequalities. For her efforts toward increasing the visibility of young Roma people and her contribution to the intercultural understanding, Maria Atanasova was selected for “Young European of the Year” in 2020 by the Schwarzkopf Foundation Young Europe.
Due to her combined medical background and volunteer experience, Maria’s academic interest has changed. She has joined the RGPP program to develop her critical thinking and analytical skills and is taking tutoring classes in Political Science and International Relations as her plan is to pursue an MA degree at CEU. Maria believes in fostering cooperation among different communities and is dedicated to working for Romani Youth political participation. Her focus is on engendering intercultural understanding and raising awareness of social issues.