="Петър и дядо"

Today we sent Peter to his grandparents

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With great joy but also a bit of sadness, we said goodbye to Peter today and sent him to his new family. From now on, the biological grandparents of the little boy will take care of him.   Pete came to us more than a year ago, when he was still a little baby, straight from the maternity home. We from Children’s house contacted the grandparents of the child right on the first week and they showed their readiness and desire to visit the little boy two times a week, play with him, feed him and sing him to sleep.   We witnessed a strong emotional bond being formed in the family with every visit, and Pete found love and warmth in the eyes of his grandparents. The little one even met his mother who got attached to him really quickly and will stay continue to visit him until she can take care of him by herself.   Although we were sad, we said goodbye to Peter and we are sure that he will grow up to be a happy child, surrounded by the love and care of his closest…

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First baby steps celebration in FTAC “Children’s house”

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For the little Reni and Kosio, who our Children’s house takes care of, today was a very important day. Thanks to the dedicated work of the babysitters and the various games and activities, organized by the Community Support Center “St. Sofia” and Children’s house, Reni and Kosio made their first steps at almost the exact time – with only a couple of days difference. Following an old Bulgaria custom, when every baby makes its first steps, a special celebration should be organized to symbolically guide the child towards its future occupation.   In the day of the celebration, the women from Children’s house made a traditional bread, decorated with a moulding of the children’s feet and their names. The little ones had to make their choice among the different professions – a doctor, writer, cook, actor, programmer and others.   Reni spent a lot of time wondering and she carefully chose the noble but responsible profession of a doctor. Kosio on the other hand did not like any of the suggested options and grabbed the bread – apparently, we will be expecting delicious bread dishes from him in the future.       “We try to celebrate all personal events of the children in Children’s house. With this celebration, we marked the first independent steps of the baby. This is an exciting moment not only for the child but also for us, because we take constant care of these children. We strive to pass on the family values to every child” Axinia Georgieva shared, the head of Children’s house.   We from “For Our Children” Foundation, along with the children, are happy for the little but significant steps they make every day. This brings us closer to fulfilling our dream – to make sure every child in Bulgaria falls asleep in its mother’s…

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Children’s laughter and sunshine – picnic with the children from the Center for foster care and volunteers from L’Oreal Bulgaria

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What better way to end the working week than with a picnic with children, sunshine and laughter? That’s how the employees of L’Oreal Bulgaria choose to spend their Friday. The cosmetic giant invited all foster children and parents from the Foster care center at “For Our Children” Foundation to a picnic in Geo Milev park , and we all ended the hot working week with games and laughter.   Children and adults had lots of fun in the three workshops, organized as part of the event.   In the workshops for games, the volunteers from L’Oreal and the children played together various educational games. For this purpose, modern educational toys had been bought. They will be donated to the new Complex for Early childhood development. Such type of toys are very important for the intellectual growth of the children. They stimulate the development of different skills – coordination, logic, sensitivity, compliance, reaction, recognition skills.   In the workshop for dishes, the employees of the company prepared delicious and healthy sandwiches with tails and ears, trunks and teeth, which no child could resist.   The greatest interest among children and adults sparked the workshop for drawing. With special paint, the volunteers from L’Oreal turned some of the children in real characters from animations and fairytales. This is how all of a sudden butterflies and princesses were jumping a rope. Spider man and Batman were playing football. Some of the volunteers from L’Oreal even let the little ones paint them – a real fun for the children. Together, participants created unique canvases and paintings, which we will decorate the new Complex with.   The picnic is part of the annual volunteering campaign of L’Oreal – Citizen Day, which is held for eight consecutive year and shows the engagement and solidarity of the company towards important social causes, which the employees personally aid every year. The event marked the beginning of the key partnership between “For Our Children” Foundation and the cosmetic giant in supporting foster care. The picnic also aimed to support the cause of the Foundation that is to open a contemporary Complex for Early childhood development, which will offer integrated socio-health and educational services to children and families. L’Oreal will donate big colorful canvases and new educational toys to the Complex. These are very important to the development of children who have experienced emotional stress.   In the Complex there will be working: a community support center, a foster care center, daily center for disabled children ages 0-7, and a rehabilitation park.     “From its establishment 25 years ago, “For Our Children” Foundation has been working with the ambition to make institutionalized part of history. We are among the pioneers in developing one of the main alternatives to institutions – foster care. Our excellent foster parents, some of them are with us today, look after the children with great love and care in a real family environment, so they can grow up and develop their potential. We are extremely happy that a socially-engaged company like L’Oreal and its affectionate employees chose the foster care of the Foundation as a cause for this year’s L’Oreal Citizen Day. Partnerships like this one are very important for us, because without the support of the corporate sector and the individual donors – the employees of L’Oreal, we wouldn’t be able to provide the high quality of foster care which we strive for, Atanas Tsankov said, deputy executive director of “For Our Children” Foundation.   The volunteers from L’Oreal surprised the families with various gifts – sports games accessories and cosmetic products. The children got home with red from the sun cheeks, tired but convinced that the world is a beautiful place for them to grow up in and fulfill their…

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CSC “St. Sofia” at “For Our Children” Foundation helped a family overcome the difficulties and stay together

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A year ago, we from “St. Sofia” Community Support Center at “For Our Children” Foundation started working with Dilyana. She was a single mother with very low income. This prevented her from taking good care of her two-year-old daughter Katerina and she sought help from the specialists at CSC. We helped the mother, consulted her about stimulating the child’s development, and provided various materials for her and the girl. While working with Dilyana, she got together with Katerina’s father, they got married and started living as a family. The grandmother from the father’s side joined the household and started helping. Soon after, the family received some good news that made them happy but also concerned – Dilyana told us she was pregnant. The baby was unexpected but the family wanted to keep it. The mother was not sure whether she would be able to handle taking care of a second child. Dilyana did not have a health insurance and was anxious aboutthe monitoring of the pregnancy. We from CSC “St. Sofia” did everything we could so Dilyana would feel secure and confident about the pregnancy. We contacted specialists from a hospital who took good care of her – Dilyana went through all the required examinations and medical tests. A few weeks before the baby was born we gave the family a crib, some clothes, diapers and baby care products. Dilyana was now sure everything was ready for her and the new family member – the little Antoniya. However, the hardships for the family did not end here. Few days after leaving the hospital, Dilyana noticed that Antoniya has difficulties breathing. It turned out that the baby got pneumonia which the doctors did not notice. Dilyana and Antoniya spent nearly two weeks in the hospital together and Katerina also got sick in the meantime. We immediately sprung to their assistance and bought the medication the family needed because they did not have enough money. In this difficult moment, the grandmother passed away. It was hard for the whole family to cope with the loss and the father was devastated. We supported the family through all the challenges. Although it was tough for them, they managed to find strength and keep fighting for the sake of their children, and our help – material and emotional gave them hope that together they can overcome the challenges. We from “For Our Children” Foundation continue helping the family because we believe that nothing is more important for the children than growing up in a family environment, surrounded by the love and care of mom and dad. Dilyana’s family has some other great news – we successfully signed Katerina in a kindergarten, which she will start attending in the fall. There she will get to meet her peers, improve her Bulgarian and continue…

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="Обществен съвет в ЦОП "Св. София"

CSC “St. Sofia” introduced its new play therapies to other foundations and organizations

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The first for this year meeting of the Public Council took place in the Community Support Center “St. Sofia”. Representatives of “Future for Roma children” Association, “Health and social development” Foundation and Agency for social assistance participated.   With a lot of enthusiasm and energy, our colleagues Katerina Kovacheva, Vyara Panayotova and Raya Tsvetanova introduced to the participants the latest programs for supporting early childhood development, which CSC implemented in collaboration with “Worldwide Orphans Bulgaria” Foundation. The foundation is the author of the original method for working with the youngest children and their parents for the “Music in action”, “Tell me a story” and “Toys Library” programs. Their specialists trained our colleagues Katerina Kovacheva (Psychologyst), Vyara Panayotova (social worker) and Maria Stoimenova (specialist Early Childhood Intervention). The training was divided in three modules “Toy Library”, “Play the story” and “Music in action”. Аn upgrade training is to take place – The playing element, which is scheduled for the period from 9 to 14 October, with Louis Haiman hosting the event.   From this week, “Music in action” will be part of the rehabilitation program for the children from the family-type accommodation center for children with special needs and constant medical care “Stefan Karadzha”, where Maria Stoimenova will work with five children who have severe disabilities. The colleagues from “Future for Roma children” were impressed by our engagement and desire to help, and they proposed to sign an agreement to start carrying out the play therapies on their ground. This indicates how helpful for the children these therapies can be.   The desire of the colleagues from different institutions to include in their program for rehabilitation services conducted by us is another proof of how helpful and necessary they are for the development and socialization of the children. We from “For Our Children” Foundation are grateful to WOB for their time and dedication to the mutual work in the name of one cause – the children….

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Parents expressed gratitude towards a social worker from CSC “For Children and Parents”

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Today, at CSC Plovdiv we received feedback from the parents of the little Plamena with whom our social worker Svetla Ivanova worked.   I am writing to you to express my gratitude towards the social worker Svetla Ivanova. Thanks to her constant support, advice and professionalism, today, instead of insecurity, I feel sincere happiness from being a parent. Svetla visited me regularly, advised me on how to look after my daughter Plamena. We called her every time we attended consultations to tell her how things went and whether we had any problems with the child. Svetla told me I was the person who best knew the child and that I could understand when there was something wrong. She said I should not be worried about giving more food to the child. She helped me become more confident in myself and believe that I can raise my daughter without any concerns.   This positive reaction made us smile, stop for a few minutes and feel happy for Svetla. Not because she made us feel supreme, but because behind these simple words – a mix of courage and shyness, we could see what she had brought a positive change. This feedback started 7 months ago when “Child Protection” Services directed the mother of Plamena towards the services of CSC – Plovdiv. Daniela herself is still a child that at some point of her life has been touched by the cold hands of the institutionalized care. Because she felt insecure about taking care of the baby, Daniela along with her partner and his family turned to CSC for support and advice. In the Center we helped her become confident about looking after the baby, we helped her choose the hospital where she wanted to give birth. After the birth, from CSC we provided a pack of diapers, baby lotions, a feeding bottle and other products for the family. The mother had everything a baby needed to have a good start in life. Already months after the birth, from CSC we continued helping the family in taking care for the little Plamena. The parents went through the training “First care for the newborn”, which the Center organizes. With the skills gained after the course, Daniela and her partner are already more prepared to become the mother and father Plamena needs.   The family needed a little to believe in itself. I am glad that I have contributed to that even with just a little, to make them feel secure in themselves, so they can enjoy being parents, Svetla shared….

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="Доброслава Стоилова и Петя Яначкова"

Integrated services, professionalism and good interaction between the individual systems as a way of improving the quality of early childhood development

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  Around 1000 children annually are deprived of parental care, and around 44% live in at risk. On the topic of abandonment of babies, the prevention of abandonment, the integrated approach for providing socio-health services for children, talked Dobroslava stoilova, Expert – Projects and Advocasy at “For Our Children” Foundation and Petya Yanachkova, psychologist and a family consultant at the Foundation, along with the host Dimitar Arabashev in an interview for Bulgaria ON AIR. Dr. Diana Argirova, head of the neonatal care unit,  spoke about the care for newborns and the collaboration between the Foundation and the Multi-profile Hospital for Active Treatment (MHAT) Plovdiv.   Watch the full interview on the Bulgaria ON AIR page.   Here are some of the highlights from the discussion: Dimitar Arabashev: How many children are deprived of parental care in Bulgaria, annually? Petya Yanachkova: Around 1000 children annually are left to the state to take care of them. Their number remains alarmingly high. There are two main reasons – sometimes it is the mother who decides to leave her baby. The parents or the whole family needs support until they stabilize and are able to provide the needed care. Sometimes, it may be discovered that the child is at risk.   Dimitar Arabashev: We are talking about children, which are born prematurely or with a specific problem?   Petya Yanachkova: What I mean are the cases in which the child protection system has identified some kind of risk in the environment in which the children live, so they take them away and place them in a secure environment.     Dobroslava Stoilova: The prevention of abandonment of children and the work with parents are two very important things. What happens in Bulgaria is that there are not enough services for parents suited for moments when the families feel at most vulnerable and are going through a crisis in their lives. These are the moments when the social institutions should step in, as well as the centers for services, so that they can offer the best support. These can be consultations with a psychologist, consultations with other specialists, and an early childhood intervention when we are talking about a disabled child. Sometimes it can be about  a child that needs a particular medical consultation. We have been talking a lot lately about the need to introduce integrated services for parents, complex services. We are developing a model for a better interaction between the different systems of services – health, educational  and social. Right now the work is very fragmented, the specialists don’t have a direct interaction with each other, which hinders the ability to give the best support to a family.   Dimitar Arabashev: What are the reasons for mothers to leave their children? What forces them to make such a tough decision?   Petya Yanachkova: The reasons can be many – lack of support from the family, poverty, the mother might be under aged. There is still prejudice against single mothers at some places. Some parents might abandon their child if it is born disabled or if it is a result of rape and the mother does not want it. Last but not least, another reason can be the lack of family model. For example, if the mother has grown up in an institutions and nobody has taught her how to be a mother.     Dimitar Arabashev: “The quality care and the care on time are the main things which a prematurely baby needs.”, says Dr. Diana Aragirova, the head of University Hospital in Plovdiv. The hospital is a partner of “For Our Chidren” Foundation for the “Care at an Early Аge” project Dr. Diana Argirova: I would say that the younger the child is, the higher the quality of the care should be. The care should not be delayed neither with a day, nor with an hour. We work with “For Our Children” Foundation and they have been our partners for many years. The job is getting done by many specialists – medical specialists, social workers, kinesiotherapists, psychologists, all of them put efforts to support our patients – newborn babies, the parents and the team of the…

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The Fifth Training for Candidates for Adoption began at CSC “St. Sofia”

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The fifth for this year training for candidates for adoption began at the Community Support Center (CSC) “St. Sofia”. In the course of 6 days the social worker Vyara Panayotova and the psychologist Katerina Kovacheva will discuss with the future parents how to better handle the adoption and adaptation process of the child in the family, how to form a bond with it and cope with the consequences of the institutionalization, what are the needs of the child in the different age periods and many other topics, which aim to help parents get ready for this important moment – adoption.     From the beginning of this year, 82 future parents trusted CSC “St. Sofia” with the preparation for adoption. There are 28 participants in the current course and we already have candidates signed for the training in September, said Kiril Kirilov, head of the Center. The increasing interest towards the training is a recognition and a proof of the quality of our service. We are happy that with our professionalism and the high level of the services we offer, we are able to support the candidates for adoption, and not only them, in the challenge of becoming a mom and a dad.   “This course gave me some good guidelines about adoption; how to overcome the difficulties, to clarify the process of adoption. Very informative, full of helpful facts; two girls with strong desire to help and teach us stood in front of us; I met other people sharing the same desires and goals as us. It gave me the opportunity to realize how omnipotent this undertaking is, to give myself an adequate assessment of my expectations and feel more prepared.”   These are only part of the comments from the candidates for adoption who have successfully passed the course. They motivate us to become even better in what we do. We are convinced that this year we will manage to prepare even more families, so that they can feel confident in themselves and help us make our dream come true – every child in Bulgaria to feel the love and comfort, which only the family home can…

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CSC “For children and parents” and their mission to preserve the family bond – the story of Blagovesta

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The story of Blagovesta is another example of how the efforts of the specialists from the Community Support Center “For children and parents” at “For Our Children” Foundation manage to preserve the family bond and provide a better and brighter future for children. Blagovesta does not know her father. A year after her birth, she is separated from her mother who now serves a short-term sentence. Blagovesta’s grandparents have the difficult task of looking after her and her three bigger brothers. The little one does not know her new family. They live far away in a different town and until the separation from her mother, she has seen her grandparents only few times. Now the elderly and the three boys are her only family. Before living with her grandmother and grandfather, the only close person to the little princess is her mother. After the separation, however, the grandmother has to take the role of a mother. This transition turns out difficult not only for her but also for the rest of the family. Blagovesta has her own habits and routines, which the new family has to get used to or even improve, if needed. This brings the family to “Child Protection” Services where they transfer them to our specialists at CSC. From then on, we have been helping the family become united. We are working with the grandfather and grandmother who we urge to take on the role of the mother but without trying to replace her, and with the three brothers who become jealous because of their little sister. After a while, with the help of the specialists from CSC and the love of the grandparents, Blagovesta became an energetic and radiant child. She is developing well, her walk is stable, she learns new words, recognizes and reacts to her name, plays more freely with her brothers who teach her various new games. She has not forgotten her mother. On the contrary – she knows her mother loves her very much, often looks at her photos and talks to her on the phone. We, from CSC “For children and parents” continue helping the family in taking care of Blagovesta who is growing up loved and is becoming more radiant with each…

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="първи пикник на децата от Детска къща"

First picnic for the little ones from Children’s house

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The children from Children’s house spent their first outdoors picnic in the beautiful nature of Bistritsa village. The preparation for the picnic started from early in the morning with good mood and excitement. With bags filled with delicious food and toys, the children along with colleague and volunteers headed to the picturesque location. In the sunny Sunday day, they had fun and ate delicious trinkets. The picnic is part of the socializing program for the children. Last month they went to the dolls theater, attended a concert for babies, visited an exhibition and even went shopping along with the babysitters from Children’s house.   Center for family-type accommodation Children’s house is a project by „For our children” in partnership with Sofia municipality, collaborators and corporative and individual donors. Children’s house accommodates between 6 and 8 children, who have been abandoned or separated from their parents in the first weeks or month after their birth, and this prevents their placement in specialized institutions. They receive love and care there, until we find candidates for adoption, foster families or until we bring them back to their biological parents. Life in Children’s house resembles a family life – children not only live in this place, they also enjoy a happy life and are supported and assisted in their development. They feel the excitement of holidays, personal events, communicate with friends and neighbors and experience all the key moments of their development, which they would otherwise lack in an orphanage.      …

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