Project ERIAS – examples of positive integration in the labour market

Astonishing musician Ayubu Mbarazi from Tanzania likes life in Sofia

The Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry gathered a collection of examples of positive integration of people from third countries in the Bulgarian labour market. The aim of the initiative, implemented under the ERIAS project – European Refugees Integration Action Scheme, is to convey a positive message about the integration of foreigners in the host society. These examples are key to achieving subsequent benefits for the labour market.

The examples will be combined in a collection of stories about integration /Vade Mecum/ from different European countries. BCCI will publish some of the examples in its “Infobusiness” bulletin. If you want to share your story - as an employer or employee, see more information here.



Ayubu Mbarazi is a volunteer at Open Sofia Foundation. He is working in Bulgaria for the second time. He came at the end of 2019 in Sofia for a study visit. One may ask why a young man from Tanzania that studied fine and performing arts and an astonishing musician has come to a small country in South East Europe. He has been working in Tanzania for the Cigogo music festival, runs a band and has experience in an art center.

It seems he does not have a lot of difficulties being a foreigner in Bulgaria. Though, food might be a challenge at the beginning as well as the language. What he enjoys mostly in Sofia and Bulgaria are the friendly people. He says that you cannot get lost in Bulgaria – there is always someone to show you the way. He discovered this during a round trip in the country he made with friends. Ayubu speaks Swahili, English and some native Tanzanian languages and he has learned some words and phrases in Bulgarian too.

The musician says that what he likes most of his job is that he can use and explore his talent to teach music to kids, to implement his knowledge and pass it further. The other reason to adore what he is doing in Sofia is the support and guidance he receives from his supervisor - Mrs. Pepa Peneva that is ready to give a hand and to help him grow.

Ayubu likes life in Sofia. He comes from Temeke district, Dar Es Salaam and gets along easy with life everywhere. On the other hand, he communicates with many Bulgarians and foreigners that live in Sofia. The Open Sofia Foundation – his present occupation - was founded in 2006 to support and promote cultural dialogue and relationships through various forms of art and communication. Since 2008, the team of the foundation has been developing educational and cultural programs with a particular focus on children and young people.

When asked for advice to other people from third countries coming to stay and work in Bulgaria, he stated that the country provides a good chance, people are nice, there are many opportunities and one can easily get along with the locals.

Though he is not expected to stay long in Sofia, Ayubu feels himself at home where he is now. Asked how he found his current occupation he answered right away – “Ï like to be a volunteer. I see the positive. I have learned to see the good and the nice in everything.”

He may come back again to our country because as he says he is not a citizen of Tanzania; he is a citizen of the world.



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