Raina Petkova (1895-1957)

Raina Petkova is one of the founders of the professional social work in Bulgaria.  She was born on September 10, 1895 in Veliko Tarnovo in the family of craftsman Petko Minchev. She lived briefly with her family in Tarnovo, where her mother was from. Then the family moved to the small town of Sevlievo . She studied at the Pleven High School, graduating in 1914. During the  First World War Raina Petkova worked as a teacher. In 1917 she enrolled in law at Sofia University. After graduating she worked from  1922 to 1929  in the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance. At that period Rayna Petkova  joined the Bulgarian Women’s Movement and the Section of the Women Lawyers at the Bulgarian Association of the University Women. In  1929 she left for  Berlin, where with the assistance of the President of the Bulgarian Women’s Union Dimitrina Ivanova she entered the German Academy for Social and Pedagogical Work of Women, headed by Alice Salomon. Studying in Berlin, Rayna Petkova  specialized in the topic of women employment in the Police and spent two months at the Women’s Police in Berlin. In the summer of 1931she returned to Bulgaria. Rayna Petkova  became a lecturer of social work methods at the Higher Social School for Women, established by the Bulgarian Women’s Union in 1932. In the second half of the 1930s Rayna Petkova  published a series of articles and translations on social work methods and about the history of social assistance. She was appointed in the Police Directorate, where she was deputy head of the department for combating social evils. In her publications she explained  the need for female police and work with neglected children. She participated in the elaboration of regulations for female domestic servants in order to protect their rights. Rayna Petkova initiated the foundation of the “Young Girl’s Home” at Sofia, where underage prostitutes could be accommodated in order to receive a profession and supports. In 1941 she participated as a lecturer at the first course for Women Police in Sofia. She remained in the Police until 1944 in the service for combating social evils in the Police Directorate where she was awarded in 1942. After 1944 Rayna Petkova served as a teacher and social worker at social homes.  


Kristina Popova, Traces of Rayna Petkova. In search for a balance between social control, profession and charity, in: Kurt Schilde, Dagmar Schulte (eds.),  Need and Care – Glimpses into the Beginnings of Eastern Europe’s Professional Welfare, Barbara Budrich Publisherss, Opladen & Bloomfield Hills 2005, P. 37 – 53.

Кristina Popova, Kein Platz für apolitische Menschen: “Hinterlassenschaften” einer Wegbereiterin der Sozialarbeit, in:  Kruse, Еlke/Tegeler, Evelyn (Hg.): Weibliche und maennliche Entwuerfe  des Sozialen. Wohlfahrtsgeschichte im Spiegel der Genderforschung;  Opladen/Farmington Hills 2007, Verlag Barbara Budrich; s. 143 –  152

Kristina Popova, Barmherzigkeit und soziale Erkenntnis. Die soziale Frauenakademie in Sofia(1932 – 1944) und ihre Vorlaeuferinnen, Ariadne. Forum fuer Frauen-und Geschlechtergeschichte, Mai 2006, Heft 49, S. 36 – 41.