Bulgarian among the world’s 10 most outstanding persons

Sofia Kalinova became one of the 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the World for 2015, beating a serious competition in the face of over 200 pretenders from all over the world. The TOYP initiative (Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World) belongs to the international youth organization JCI (Junior Chamber International), and Bulgaria enters the contest for the first time this year. Tendrik had the formidable pleasure to sponsor TOYP’s Bulgarian final.

The TOYP prizes are given to young and outstanding people who have shown success in different spheres and their achievements have contributed to the sustainable development of the society. These prizes are intended for active young citizens who bring with themselves the spirit of modernism and lead by example.

In May 2015, Sofia was selected among the “10 Outstanding Young Persons of Bulgaria” in the category “Humanitarian and/or voluntary leadership”. The reason for being nominated in the first place is her boldness and determination to fight against the discrimination of Bulgarians with impaired hearing.

Ever since she was a kid, Sofia has had hearing problems and felt significant prejudice towards herself and those like her. As a student she faced a serious challenge — she had been refused to attend a high-school state exam in English due to the “Listening and comprehension” part. Instead of putting up with the circumstances, she decided to be bold and started fighting for her rights. After writing to the Ministry of Education, and eventually being granted permission to take the exam, despite her hearing problems, not only did she attend it, but totally aced it! Thanks to her efforts, each Bulgarian student with impaired hearing now has the right to take an exam in a foreign language.

Sofia’s everyday fight against prejudice in Bulgarian society to deaf citizens on all levels, as well as the diverse initiatives she undertakes helping the deaf people brought her the prestigious national prize. Later on she received international glory and recognition that will help her go on with the fight for her noble cause.

Currently, Sofia is doing a degree in Law and Political Studies in Ireland, where the university has granted her access to a sign language interpreter. This is also one of her causes –to provide a sign language interpretation option for every student with hearing problems in Bulgaria. This will immensely help them to achieve better results in their studies. This is a big step towards the integration of people with disabilities in society and Sofia realizes her important role in the achievement of this aim on a local and international level.

JCI Bulgaria selected a winner for each of the 10 TOYP categories, and awarded the winners in official ceremony, where Petar Dyaksov, local president of JCI Plovdiv and founder of Tendrik, had the pleasure to personally give the prize to Sofia. Subsequently, JCI Bulgaria automatically nominated all ten Bulgarian winners for the Global final of TOYP. Although Bulgaria entered the competition for the first time this year, Sofia impressed the international jury and won the hearts of thousands supporters from all over the world. The distinguishing of a Bulgarian participant among the global TOYP winners proves that there are no boundaries for the talent, qualities, inspiration, and selflessness of the Bulgarian outstanding young persons.

As one of the 10 Outstanding Young Persons in the World for 2015 Sofia Kalinova will be awarded by the Junior Chamber International (JCI) on a ceremony in Kanazawa, Japan.

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