For Our Children Foundation is a Bulgarian non-government organization which has been supporting the vulnerable children and their families since 1992. For Our Children is an inheritor of the British human rights organizations European Children’s Trust, Christian Children’s Fund and Every Child. With its international experience and qualified expertise, the organization applies for the first time at national level the support for parents for prevention of children abandonment, foster care and creates the first municipal teams of social workers for child protection. For 25 years now, For Our Children Foundation has been a standard for qualified social work, works for its integration in the state policy for child protection and for the increase of the system’s capacity.
How we help
Every year, more than 1000 children are abandoned by their parents, most of them at the maternity ward. Their childhood starts in a social institution or separated from their parents and are brought up by strangers.
The active social work, psychological support and mobilization of different specialists around a child are the main factors, which help for coping with the situation of vulnerability and the hardship in the life of a family.
Our team in action
Today, we are going to tell you the story of our sweet boy Valentin, who finally found his new mommy and daddy and will grow up loved and happy. Valentin is a child, which does not know a mother’s caress. Right after his birth his mother refused to take care of him and left him at the maternity ward. From there Valentin was transferred to a foster home, where the little boy spent 8 months when fate finally brought him to the door of our “Children’s House” Family type placement center. When the little guy came to us, we noticed that he was not a happy child. We hardly ever saw a smile on his face, most of the time he seemed sad, he rarely cried. He stared blankly and did not turn when someone called him by name, he did not want to play with the other children. Eight months old, he still could not sit by himself. We, from “Children’s House, took care of Valentin and tried to give him all the love he needed. We cuddled with him, read him bedtime stories and played with him. We helped him learn how to play with the other children in order to socialize. Every single day we watched the development of the little boy and we are happy that he is no longer sad, but instead smiles widely and happily plays with other children. Even though it was difficult for us to send him off, we are sure that he will have the blessed and wonderful childhood that every child should…
Today we are going to tell you about our three-year-old beauty Christina, whom our “St. Sofia” Community Support Center (CSC) has been working with for the last two years. Little Chrissie develops more slowly than her peers. When she came to us, Chrissie was bothersome, shy, she was covering her face when someone looked her in the eyes, and was hardly ever joining the children to play with them. We worked with Chrissie under the project “Early Child Intervention”. Her parents regularly took her to a group music therapy, where we from CSC encouraged her to be more relaxed and to have fun when she is with her friends. We provided remedial gymnastics for the little princess and during that time she happily rode on toy- horses and was having fun. We did not forget to help her parents too. They went through training how to stimulate the development of their daughter as much as possible, we supported them emotionally throughout the entire work process. Now Chrissie is more sociable and confident than before. She often smiles and laughs aloud. She does not cover her face any more and more freely communicates with other children. Christina’s parents are grateful for the help we provided them with and are happy to see her daughter’s development. We from “St. Sofia” CSC continue to work with Chrissie. She is an example of a child which every single day develops her abilities and with every step comes closer to being more independent. Every progress in treatment is a small victory for both Chrissie and her parents and for us from “St. Soifa” CSC. …
I learnt about the story of Archangel from his mother Elitsa. She told me about his health problems, which started right after his birth. His heart stopped a few times, the doctors managed to save his life, but Archangel’s brain remained damaged. Now he often has difficulties breathing and cannot do it without the help of a special apparatus. I met Archangel when he was one year and seven months old, but his development was like that of a 5-6 months old baby. He was lying in bed most of the time, could not sit, did not make any sounds, and could not hold toys in his little hands. He could not feed himself, did not know how to chew and swallow the food. While I was watching Archangel, I noticed that he did not take his eyes off his mother and was smiling at her all the time. The boy was attached to the mother because she was next to him and constantly helping him. Elitsa was talking with great pain while telling me about the challenges she went through as a mother, but in her eyes I saw courage and the strong will of a mother. When I told her that she was extremely brave she looked at me and said: “What else can I do? He is my child! My child!” With these words, Elitsa revealed the whole meaning of being a parent – to selflessly devote yourself, to accept your child the way it is, to love it unconditionally and fight every day so it can have a better life. Despite the low income and the fact that the mother had no previous parenting experience, she had never thought about abandoning her child. For Elitsa, taking care of her son was, although he had a serious health condition, was as natural as breathing. The reason for Elitsa to turn to the Community Support Center (CSC) Plovdiv was that in spite of her constant efforts, the mother still needed material and emotional support. We gave her food and baby cosmetics. We also provided rehabilitation for Archangel, which the doctors will perform at home because the little boy cannot be transported to the hospital. The mother needed someone to share her fears and doubts with, to tell someone the way she feels on a daily basis. We provided specialists who she could freely talk to and make her feel emotionally supported. After our persistent mutual work, Archangel can now sit, makes sounds and hold his toys by himself, he even presses their buttons to make them play songs, which entertain him. A rehabilitator from CSC works with him. His mother knows there is a person who will always listen to her concerns and support her, as well as somebody to share her joy from the achievements of the child. Before our team from CSC appeared in the life of Elitsa, she was alone through all the hardships and struggles. Thanks to our help, Elitsa now knows that she does not need to walk this long road on her own. We are constantly next to her and her family. This makes her feel more secure and allows her to feel vulnerable, to take the heavy burden off her shoulders and feel confident about being a good parent more often. We from CSC do everything possible to provide maximum support to Arhangel and his family. We are to be intercessors before different institutions so that the little boy can have access to the health services he needs. We will continue to provide material support, because taking care of a child requires many resources that the family does not have. Elitsa still feels scared at times: “I don’t know if my child will be able to grow up, walk or eat on his own. I always hope these things will someday happen but when he gets sick I start thinking about the worse”. But Elitsa says that in moments like these she can fell the help and support from the CSC and starts feeling hopeful. “Bulgaria watches over my child” she tells me with the tender smile of a mother…
Sofia Airport Center (Logistic Center), building В2, 2, bul. “Hristofor Columb” 64, Sofia 1592
02/ 980 70 58, 988 82 45
With the support of Sofia Airport Center