Chernomorka’s main activity is to make comfortable, feasible and ergonomic clothing for babies and kids aged 0 to 8 years old. All cloths have original design and are of excellent quality complying with international standards requirements. They are made of natural, ecological materials, easy to use and long lasting.
Nowadays, the Chernomanka employs 17 disadvantaged people with physical and mental health disabilities, among a total of 44 workers and 31 worker members.
To support the employment of people with disabilities in cooperatives like Chernomorka, the National Union of Worker Cooperatives, the organisation representing and supporting worker cooperatives at the national level, collaborates with the municipalities and the local employment agencies. The Union also advocates towards the local authorities in order to remove obstacles in public spaces, such as a pedestrian crossing or transport services, to help people with disabilities to access their work place autonomously.
In addition, at the national level the Union can apply to the fund created by the Persons with Disability Act, which ensures conditions for equal access to employment in a regular, specialized and sheltered work environment for both disabled people and their employers. The Union then supports the affiliated cooperatives in attaining general requirements to employ disabled people and adapt the work place accordingly.
Being employed in a worker cooperative means to have access also to health insurance and employment protections that are not provided in traditional private enterprises in Bulgaria. Every year the Union organises rehabilitative vacations for the workers of the cooperatives, in the hotels managed by the cooperative Tourmedico at Bankya in the mountains or next to the Black Sea in Primorsko.
According to Chernomorka’s workers, a cooperative is an environment suitable for people with disabilities and allow them to be creative, develop more professional skills and abilities. It allows an employee to make sure all skills he/she already has will be improved.
Chernomorka’s worker members meet to discuss and vote on the cooperative’s present and future management decisions once a year during the General Assembly. If one/third of the members ask for it, a supplementary General Assembly could be organized. An elected governing body carries out daily management in compliance with General Assembly’s decisions.
According to Vasileva, one of the worker members in Chernomorka, working in a cooperative is like being part of a family: “We discuss all the problems together and I can express my opinion freely. We also celebrate many events together, from anniversaries to the international day of cooperatives”.
The Chernomorka cooperative is affiliated to the National Union of Worker Producers’, which represents and supports more than 200 worker cooperatives in Bulgaria. NUWCP is member of CECOP since 1995.