How we help

The problem

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.

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The solution

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.

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News

About play as means of learning and entertainment discussed specialists from “For Our Children” foundation in Plovdiv

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Workshop on “The play – learning and entertainment” was held yesterday by experts from “For Our Children” foundation with specialists from the Complex for Social Health Services “St. Petka” in the city of Plovdiv. The social workers Vyara Panayotova and Desislava Ilieva from the Community Support Center “St. Sofia” and the senior expert on early childhood development Tsvetelina Ganeva from the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents “ at the foundation talked about the influence of play and its capabilities to develop the child. They drew attention to the differences between the learning play and the play for fun, and with a small workshop, they applied what they learned in practice.     Our experts challenged the specialists from the Complex – to return to their childhood and see toys through the eyes of children, thinking about play simply as a means of entertainment. From the scattered, colorful wooden shapes, animals and numbers, with creativity, they all figured out many more ways to have fun together with children through games and toys. Ways that henceforth the specialists will apply regularly when working with children and parents.     We, from “For Our Children” foundation, believe that after love and security, the play is the best stimulus for a child’s development. The play is the key way that children at early age /0-7 years/ get to know the world and learn. It is not a privilege. It should be part of every child’s childhood to show them the world, develop their abilities, and give them a strong connection with their closest…

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The magic of being a foster parent – an event of “For Our Children” foundation

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Every day children are being abandoned by biological parents, often placed under protection because of violence or lack of parental capacity. Many of these children are accommodated in institutions. Their life there is doomed. The carefree, real childhood for them is just a mirage. They dream about it, but it is so unknown … so far away.   Foster care is the “wizard” who makes their dreams to be happy, to have a family, to be loved and to love, come true.   On December 2 and 6, in the cozy, family environment of our “Children’s House”, the team of “For Our Children” foundation will meet people with different professions and life paths but with one common interest – to get acquainted with foster care as well as with its exemplification – the foster parent who, with a lot of courage and a dream to support the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria, has embarked on this tough adventure.   The idea of these informal meetings emerged in the mind of one of our most dedicated foster parents, Rene Emil, who, for the last two years, has been taking care of Ronnie, a child with difficulties in development.   She and the head of our Foster care center Mariana Taseva will be there to answer all questions, share their experiences, and talk about the children and their needs, their dreams.   If you have ever sought answers to the questions “What happens to children at risk?”, “How do they live?”, “What do they need?”, “What are their dreams?”, and “What can I do”? “Can I be a foster parent?”,  Reni sums up:   “These questions kept me curious for years before I became a foster parent. Now I know the answer to each of them. The family is a window to the future for each child. Without it, it is lost … in the nothingness, and it sinks down day after day until it dips its last dream. I wish I didn’t come to know about the existence of nothing, but it happened. I could not resign. So I made a decision to become a foster parent, to enchant some childhood, to make someone else’s dreams come true, to share my happiness.”   We hope that after this meeting, all people attending will return home with the clear conviction that foster care is the best and most family-friendly alternative for children left without parents. And of course, inspired by the stories we will tell them, they will decide to dedicate themselves to this responsible profession. Profession “Foster parent”.   “I would like to know if there are other people like me? I would like to find them! I would like to believe that there is a family for each child “, says Reneta.   We invite you to share one hour of your time this Sunday /2.12/, between 10:00 and 11:00, OR next Thursday /06.12/, between 17:00 and 18:00, with us and learn more about foster care!   Please confirm your presence at 088 480 4796 or by email at m.taseva@detebg.org: by noon on 30.11 / Friday / for the event on 2.12 by noon on 4.12 / Tuesday / for the event on…

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Exchange of good practices with the British center “Pen Green” organized “For Our Children” foundation

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On November 28th-29th 2018, “For our Children” foundation organized a visit to research good practices in the early childhood development services in Great Britain, which our representatives will take part in, together with the chair of the State Agency for Child Protection Dr. Eleonora Lilova and experts from the Ministry of Education and Science, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, the Ministry of Healthcare, the State Agency for Child Protection, Sofia municipality.   The visit will be held in the Pen Green Centre for Children and Their Families in Corby, Northamptonshire, which provides a high-quality early education and cares for children and their families in the local community and implements a model for integrating those services together with the other systems which support early childhood development. The center also secures services for information and support through home visits, group work, health interventions, education and training for elders as well as professional development, training, and disseminating of good practices through a base of researches, operations, and training. This practice is assessed as “Extraordinary” or “Excellent” in every inspectorate in the British Office of Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted).   The contemporary understanding of quality services in the field of early childhood development is related to providing integrated services which perceive an inter-sector, holistic approach to the support of children and families. Earlier this year “For Our Children” foundation published the research “Early childhood development in Bulgaria”, which showed that, as the development of integrated services, so the improvement of the quality of the existing sector services is a prerequisite for overcoming the challenges in the field of fighting with poverty and social exclusion in Bulgaria. The access to services and their quality are among the main challenges in the areas which are important for the development in early childhood. Because of this reason, the visit at “Pen Green” aims at building up the knowledge and the capacity on behalf of the Bulgarian interested sides regarding the integrated systems for early childhood, with the purpose of adapting this know-how to the Bulgarian context and piloting in Bulgaria.   The visit is part of the efforts of the foundation to support children at early age and their families and our advocacy for introducing a purposeful, integrated approach towards the state politics in this area. It will support the work of developing the National strategy for early childhood development which runs in the formed workgroup to the Ministry of Education and Science, whose deputy chair is the executive director of “For Our Children” foundation Ivanka Shalapatova.   The foundation has the opportunity to coordinate and organize the visit thanks to the financial support of the British Embassy in Bulgaria as well as the OAK foundation which finances the project “Care at early age”…

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Happy stories

When the fairy tale becomes a reality…

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Vyara is one of the 13 children who, in the first nine months of this year, thanks to our team of Foster Care Center and our good cooperation with “Child Protection” department, have left their foster families and now live with their biological parents or are adopted.   A foreign proverb says that sometimes, just in the middle of ordinary everyday life, little love makes us live in a fairy tale…   It is the love the little princess Vyara receives from her foster mother and her new parents that shows her that the fairy tales she has listened to and the wonders in them can actually become reality.   Vyara is a beautiful 5-year-old girl, a smiling, sociable, sunny child. When she was 3, she was separated from her parents who could not take care of her and provide her with even the most basic things.   Then, with the support of the Foster Care Center of “For Our Children” foundation, she found comfort and support in the face of our foster mother, Maya Vazova, who has a lot of experience behind her – both as a foster parent and as a biological mother – she has raised two older children, a son and a daughter.   As soon as she stepped into her new home, the little princess experienced the first moments of her fairytale – she was bathed, fed, had her own toys, and did not lack care and love. And so two wonderful years passed by, in which happiness was their constant companion.   Because Vyara loves fairy tales, every day her foster mother told her stories about distant lands, magical beings and other beautiful princesses like Vyara, whose stories, despite numerous challenges, always end happily. And the beginning of the happy ending for Vyara began with the appearance of Maya in her life – a moment that predicted that good things are yet to come.   And, really, the happy ending is not late for Vyara – on a sunny autumn day, the Kolevi family arrived from a beautiful eastern Bulgarian city, with the desire to give Vyara what she has always dreamt of – her own family to protect her.   After many meetings in which they got to know each other and many fairy tales, the Kolevi family went home with the little beauty Maya, enchanted to be always together and love endlessly. And although the tale of the little Vyara has become a reality, we believe that she and her family will continue to have their magic moments of peace, love, and understanding.   Because only the power of true love can give the happy ending of every story.   In order to be able to continue supporting our foster families and developing foster care, which is the best alternative for children, left without their families, we need your support! Support us by DONATING for our project “Foster Care – security, development and happiness for the vulnerable children”, part of Raiffeisenbank’s “Choose to help” charity initiative. You can do this…

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How one little man received big support

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Regularly at school, teachers ask children: “What weighs more – 1 kilogram of cotton or 1 kilogram of iron?”.   We can ask the same question for the little Kalin. Who is really small. Does his strong smile “weigh” more than him …?   Kiki, as his mother Velina and his father Kaloyan call him, is born weighing just over one kilo. But with his first breath, the little one showed everyone at the hospital that he is ready to fight … and with a smile.   The child spent two months in the prematurity department at the University Hospital in Plovdiv and, together with the whole medical staff and the love of his family; Kiki fought to gain weight, so that he can finally go home.   After leaving the neonatology, Velina, Kaloyan, and Kiki can finally be a real family. However, for them, the struggle continues, as the baby is not yet that fluffy baby, which every two-month-old child should be.   For six months, the three of them are doing their best to get Kiki to eat normally and fill his cheeks. But the task proves to be too difficult – the little one gains only 100 grams per month, which is far from enough.   Then Velina decides to seek support from a specialist and from the doctors at the hospital she finds out about Hristo Spasov – a kinesitherapist who works at the University Hospital in Plovdiv under the project “Care at early age”, implemented by “For Our Children” foundation. In addition to active activities, Kiki begins attending hydrotherapy sessions provided under the Early Childhood Intervention Program of the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents”. Free water activities are provided by a joint project of “For Our Children” foundation and the “International Women’s Club” foundation, which was launched earlier this year. Meanwhile, Kiki’s parents are also advised by our “Early Childhood Intervention” specialist, Nely Kaneva, who designs a special individual work program for homework so that the baby can increase weight even faster.   The results are not delayed. Only after 6 water therapy sessions within 1 month, Kiki gains 750 grams. Velina is amazed and expresses her sincere gratitude for, in her words, “the miracle that has happened”.   Our team in Plovdiv continues to support the little Kiki and his parents, who feel more and more relaxed every day and believe that their child will develop fully and grow into a strong and healthy boy. With the same strong smile. During the first nine months of 2018 “For Our Children” foundation has supported 339 children under the “Care at early age” project and 102 is the total number of cases of family support from the team at our Community Support Center “For children and parents” in the city of Plovdiv. We strongly believe that active social work, psychological support, and mobilization of different specialists are the main factors that help to recover from a situation of vulnerability and cope with difficulties in family life, as in the case of the little Kiki and his parents. That is why we do not stop providing direct support to children and families with an approach based on the needs and capabilities of the people we…

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The little Anelia already has a mom, a dad, and an older brother

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Yet another child who we were taking care of at our Family type placement center “Children’s House” already has her own family. We sent the little Anelia in her new home together with her mother, father, and her brother – Andrey, who is more than happy to have a little sister.   Anelia was given to our childminders when she was really little – only two weeks old. Her mother left her at the hospital right after her birth and no one has looked for her since then. And so just until a few months, when the wonderful family of Daniela and Marin came to us and which with a lot of love and care will take care of her from now on.   For the 10 months during which we were taking care of her, Anelia became an energetic kid, with an attitude. Sometimes, because of her stubbornness, the babysitters were telling us that they felt like they were fighting with an older stubborn person, not with an infant. And the most she showed her stubbornness when they used to make a delicious but meatless soup – usually, the soup was all over Ani’s bib instead in her belly. The other children, even the older ones, also knew not to annoy her because otherwise there were going to be vociferous cries.   Thanks to the good and dedicated care of our team, Ani was developing normally and very fast learned how to turn on her belly and back and to crawl.   She is a strong and healthy child which has her own real family. A family which will give her… everything. Love, care, security, future… and a happy…

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