Bulgaria: Women’s Health Initiative

Bulgarian Cover: “Our Body, Ourselves”


Нашемо мядо, Нце самцме (2001)

Translation: Our Body, Ourselves



Our Bodies, Ourselves Project

The Women’s Health Initiative at the Health Psychology Research Center in Bulgaria published an adaptation of Our Bodies, Ourselves in 2001.

Supported by the Women at Risk program at the Open Society Institute and the Global Fund for Women, the text is cast within a framework of gender justice, emphasizing the rights of women as consumers, patients and citizens.

“Нашемо мядо, Нце самцме” includes chapters on nutrition, emotional health (with examples of psychotherapy in Bulgaria), environmental and occupational health, violence, birth control, infertility, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS and abortion. The chapter on organizing for change in the United States was replaced by one that provides historical insight into gender, health and sexuality in Bulgaria in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The book also features a list of local resources and guidance for seeking information online. A unique introduction addressed to both women and men, along with a manageable size and balanced tone, make it a valuable reference for women and their healthcare providers.

We have used the book as a base for discussions in many seminars in community centers (or “Chitalishte”) across the country, as well as in other outreach activities with women’s groups in small towns and villages. These seminars have been met with great interest and support.
– Irina Tordorova

“Нашемо мядо, Нце самцме” has been used at training seminars across the country and at workshops conducted by grassroots women’s groups. About 500 copies have been donated to groups that use it in their outreach.

The OBOS Global Initiative helped provide print copies for organizations serving Bulgarian communities in the United States.

In 2011, Irina Todorova, co-founder of the Women’s Health Initiative and the OBOS project coordinator in Bulgaria, attended OBOS’s 40th anniversary symposium and took part in a panel on building power and brokering change.

Todorova is currently a health psychologist and associate clinical professor/interim MPH program director in the Department of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. Read a blog post she wrote about health disparities in Bulgaria and the increasing mortality rate for cervical cancer.

Content Available Online

Read the preface (in English)

How to Obtain Print Copies

For information on obtaining copies of “Нашемо мядо, Нце самцме,” please visit the Women’s Health Initiative website.

The OBOS Global Initiative helps with distribution to individuals and organizations working with Bulgarian immigrant communities in the United States.

Women’s Health Initiative: Community Action & Activism

The Health Psychology Research Center collaborates with local and international allies, including the Bulgarian Department of Health Promotion, to research and increase awareness of health and gender disparities and to advance the involvement of women in health policy.

Women's Health Initiative project team provides health information to women in the community
The project team provides health information to women in the community. / Photo courtesy of Women’s Health Initiative

The Center’s Women’s Health Initiative in Bulgaria specializes in issues related to infertility, assisted reproduction, cervical cancer prevention and HPV vaccination. Some of its other publications explore ways Bulgarian healthcare providers can influence the debate around the HPV vaccine; inequalities in cervical cancer screening across Eastern Europe; cultural meanings and experiences of infertility treatments; and the advantages and drawbacks of new reproductive technologies.

Related outreach is helping to reduce the stigmatization of women who are unable or choose not to have children — a pretext for marginalization in Bulgaria’s pro-natalist society. The program also works with clinics on including mental health providers on treatment teams — ensuring patients have timely and ongoing access to emotional support — and makes policy recommendations on reproductive rights.

Irina Todorova - Bulgaria
Irina Todorova, project coordinator


Website: http://www.healthpsychologycenter.org