This initiative aimed to promote equity and inclusion in one of Sofia’s worst-regarded areas by putting the focus on local entrepreneurs highlighting the positive elements of urban diversity. The Women’s Market (Bulgarian: “Женски пазар”) is the oldest market in the capital Sofia, established more than 140 years ago. Since then, the Women’s Market has become one of the most important trading centres in the heart of the metropolitan city.
Despite the fact that the area is in proximity to Sofia’s Area of Tolerance, where religious and cultural diversity are represented by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches with the Synagogue and Mosque, stereotypes and prejudices have recently fallen into the area itself.
A misleading picture of the Women’s Market has been created in the wider public due to the increasing number of newcomers who settled down in Sofia after fleeing their countries of origin. Over this time, the neighbourhood hosts a multicultural cluster of people from Iraq, Syria and Turkey. They have settled down and open small businesses, turning the neighborhood into a vivid and vibrant place of Sofia. Nevertheless, diversity has often been seen through the lens of the negative picture of migration, poverty and sorrow.
Yet, what if we turn such stereotype and prejudice into a project that boosts its hidden
strengths and connect them? We decided to create a special map, providing interesting insights of the foreign businesses and the stories of their owners with the aim of raising awareness about the area by unravelling its micro-economic and entrepreneurial potential for the city.