The story of a mother’s single wish…

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“My wish is to have a laptop” – says quietly Nikola, 9 years old. He has finished the school year with very good grades but he does not have the right to make wishes. The income in his family is already allocated before it even gets into the household.   Nikola is the oldest from three children in the family of Emilia and Zahari. They do not have enough resources to take good care of their children. The father is unemployed and cannot find a job because he has epilepsy. The mother has spent her childhood in orphanages. She was often bullied there and because of that, she lost her hearing. Despite the poverty, the family makes sure that the children feel loved and supported.   The youngest member of the family Melinda was born with distorted legs and has not begun to speak yet. The parents were concerned and sought help from the program Early Childhood Intervention at the Community Support Center (CSC) “St. Sofia”. “The only thing I want is for Melinda to start talking”, told us with great pain Emilia when we first met her family. The parents were confused, didn’t know how to help their daughter, that’s why we introduced them to our specialist Raya Tzvetanova. She evaluated the child‘s development, explained its condition to the parents and directed them to a specialized clinic.   An operation is to be performed on the little princess and we will continue to support her parents. They live outside of Sofia but come to the activities the CSC organizes for them and Melinda every month. We consult them about stimulating the girl’s development and help them not lose hope that she will soon say her first…

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“For Our Children” Foundation organized a training for health specialists in three hospitals

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In the span of three days, “For Our Children” Foundation organized a two-hour training about the “Multidisciplinary model for working with the child and its family”. This was suitable for every doctor, nurse or other health specialists, who wanted to broaden their knowledge on the topic.   The first two discussions took place in UMHAT “St. George” ltd in Plovdiv and “Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment of Children Diseases – prof. Ivan Mitev” ltd – Sofia, on 18 and 19 July, and the third one was on 20 July in First MHAT – Sofia ltd. Hosting the three events was Nadezhda Deneva. She has over 30 years of experience in planning, providing and managing children and adult’s services in the country, including support for implementing new practices and evaluation of projects and programs. She is also an expert for the UNICEF projects, aimed at improving the services and care for children and she has special experience in introducing the holistic approach.   The purpose of the educational session was to increase the knowledge of the health specialists about the systematic approach when working with children and families, the role of the specialists in coordinating with the rest of the systems, models of integrated services and their formation, as well as teamwork in multidisciplinary teams.   The training for health specialists is organized as part of the “Care at an Early Age” project by “For Our Children” Foundation.   The “Care at an Early Age” project is funded by the “OAK” Foundation and its main purpose is to improve the early development and well-being of children (age 0-7) by introducing an integrated social-health and family-oriented approach towards the care. The project uses research and intercession methods and social-health services for working with children and families and aims to improve the practices and policies for early child development and the health, social and educational systems in the…

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109 children were rescued from abandonment and didn’t end up in institutions after “For Our Children” Foundation intervened in the first six months of this year

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Over 1098 children and families put their trust in “For Our Children” Foundation in the first six months of 2017. Our experts worked with 933 children and families in the community support centers in Sofia and Plovdiv, the Foster care center and our Children’s house. We supported 891 children in biological, adoptive and extended families, 34 children in foster families, 8 children went through our Children’s house, Another 165 participants went through groups and trainings for parental care skills.   Thanks to our active collaboration with health institutions, the intervention on time and the support we showed to the parents, our experts rescued from abandonment 48 children. We worked on 71 cases in total in the first six months of the year on the “Preventing separation of newborns from their families” program. We are proud that 61 children were not placed in institutions.   As part of our program for early childhood intervention 33 children up to age 7, who live with their families, received our professional help and support. We supported another 18 children, placed in families of relatives and friends, 13 children in adoptive families, 30 children in a re-integration process on other programs at our community support centers.   We supported 148 children, 425 parents and 44 health specialists as part of the Care at an Early Age project with which we provide consultations, trainings and fieldwork.   The free courses for parental skills we organize continue to enjoy an increasing interest among the future and current parents. Over 160 mothers and fathers took part in them from the beginning of the year. Another courses gaining popularity are our consultations for primary prevention of the separation of children from their families, for the adoption candidates.   The foundation supports biological, adoptive and families of relatives by following an established international method and this has a positive effect on the children. The research on the quality of our service is definite about that. The parents and children who use our service have been evaluated before our specialists started working with them and after a period of six months. As a result, of the work of “For Our Children” Foundation 130 children from the 154 who were evaluated showed positive change, their parents take adequate care of them and manage to meet their needs. The parents of 26 of the children still need us. We worked hard to establish an emotional bond between the parents and their children. 130 children at risk of abandonment remained with their families….

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="„Първи грижи за новороденото“"

Positive feedback for the “First care for the newborn”course from pleased parents

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Another issue of the “First care for the newborn” course for future and current parents took place on 8th July in Plovdiv. As our tradition has it, the neonatologist Dr. Diana Argirova delivered the practical lecture in partnership between the Community Support Center “For children and parents” at “For Our Children” Foundation and UMHAT Plovdiv.   In the span of 4 hours, Dr. Argirova introduced the future moms and dads to the pecularities of looking after a newborn. There were practical demonstrations with a baby doll, which Dr. Argirova used to show the parents how to bathe, dress and change the baby’s diaper. The participants listened carefully and asked questions on the topics they found interesting: “How to protect the baby’s belly-button?”, “Is it necessary to have a pillow for breast feeding?”, “When to start doing gymnastics for the baby?”, “Are the baby colic dangerous for the newborn?”, “Should the baby sleep on its tummy?”, “When should the baby be separated from the parents’ in another room”. Dr. Argirova was happy to explain everything to the parents so they could be fully prepared and meet the needs of their baby in the best possible way.   In the end of the training, the parents expressed their gratitude and satisfaction with the course: “Dr. Argirova is a competent specialist. The pieces of advice she gave us were valuable and accompanied with detailed explanations and examples.”, „The lecture was helpful and thorough. As a future father, I learnt how to take care of the baby”. They thanked Dr. Argirova for the pleasant and accessible way of delivering this needed training and expressed their desire to attend more lectures like this in the future, related to looking after a…

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="музика в действие"

Children’s songs came yesterday from the building of CSC “St. Sofia”

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Yesterday, the children from Children’s house showed their musical talent. This happened during the new program “Music in action”, which supports their development and is organized by the Community Support Center “St. Sofia” in partnership with Worldwide Orphans Bulgaria Foundation.   The children played with different small music instruments such as drums, tambourines, rattles, they learnt how to clap their hands and dance in rhythm with the music, and the older ones even sang together. The innovative program is suitable for developing the fine motor skills in children and their communication skills. It predisposes even the shiest children to feel calm and not be anxious when they are part of group activities, exactly what “Music in action” is.   Besides the sessions every Wednesday, which our specialist from Early Childhood intervention Maria Stoimenova leads, there are also sessions on Friday. Rositza Nikolova, a professional and active opera singer leads the Friday program. There are children and parents there, clients of CSC “St. Sofia”, parents are urged to participate in the activities and in this way we stimulate the relationship with them.   “Music in action” is already a part of the rehabilitation program for children from the family-type accommodation center for children with special needs and constant medical care “Stefan Karadzha”, where Maria Stoimenova works with children with severe…

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="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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