In Bulgaria, the One Billion Rising campaign of the V-Day movement is organised every year by the Society for Justice Foundation (SJF), headed by Mariana Katzarova. In organizing its campaigns, the Foundation has partnered with public and cultural institutions, over 40 leading women's, human rights and humanitarian organizations in Bulgaria, artists and prominent public figures. The OBR campaigns in Bulgaria are organised and coordinated every year by a dedicated SJF team of volunteers, and we are especially grateful for the leadership and support in organising the campaign to Daniela Ivanova, member of the Board of SJF.
In 1998, the V-Day movement was founded by the American writer and activist Eve Ensler, author of the world-famous play "The Vagina Monologues". Very soon after the world premiere in New York, with the help of the Bulgarian journalist and human rights activist Mariana Katzarova, the play came to Bulgaria and for over 10 years has been successfully performed on the stage of Theater 199 "Valentin Stoichev" under the direction of the famous Bulgarian director Galin Stoev.
This boldly timed decision has its consequences for the theater. In 2001 the Ministry of Culture threatened to stop the play because of the use of "obscene language". This was the main reason for Eve Ensler to visit Bulgaria at the invitation of Mariana Katzarova and Valentin Stoichev, at that time Director of Theater 199. In this way, Eve Ensler expressesed her great support for the theater and her solidarity with the Bulgarian activists, and took part in the first action of the V-Day movement organized in Bulgaria.
In 2001 this symbolic event united in Sofia women-activists from all Balkan countries for action against violence, as well as in support of the Bulgarian performance of "The Vagina Monologues". This first "V-Day" in Bulgaria also aimed at raising awareness and supporting the work of Bulgaria's first aid organization for women victims of viol
Mariana Katzarova is a leading human rights advocate, journalist and international expert on combating human trafficking and violence against women. Originally from Bulgaria, she was a founder of the first independent newspaper in Bulgaria in 1989, called “Democracy”. She is also the founder of Society for Justice Foundation in Bulgaria, working to end violence against women and girls by engaging creative advocacy and the arts.
Mariana Katzarova founded RAW in WAR (Reach All Women in WAR) in 2006 in the UK, after working as a journalist and human rights advocate in the war zones of Bosnia, Kosovo and Chechnya, including 10 years as the Russia Researcher for Amnesty International. RAW in WAR presents the annual Anna Politkovskaya Award for women human rights defenders from war and conflict zones in the world.
Mariana has been involved with V-Day since 2000, when she helped bring the “Vagina Monologues” to her home country, Bulgaria, to be performed for the first time at Theatre 199 in Sofia. In 2001, Mariana organized the first V-Day in Bulgaria, which brought together in Sofia women activists from all Balkan countries, as well as Eve Ensler, who came to support the play and the Bulgarian activists. Mariana also took part in helping to organize the V-Day events in Brussels and Sarajevo, as well as participated in a number of V-Day actions around the world, such as in Madison Square Garden in New York, in Juarez, Mexico, in London and in New Orleans, among others.
Between March 2014-March 2016, Mariana Katzarova led the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Eastern Ukraine - covering Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhya. Earlier, Mariana Katzarova was the Adviser on Trafficking to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva. She graduated from Sofia National University and Columbia University in New York and trained in international human rights and humanitarian law at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and most recently in women’s leadership at the University of Oxford Said Business School.
Facebook: Mariana Katzarova Twitter: @KatzarovaM