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Siyana – the princess-fighter who remained in her birth family through the efforts of the Community Support Centre For Children and Parents

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Siyana…a little girl, born on the eve of the most magical of all Christian holidays – Christmas. Mummy Iva and daddy Vasil already have two older children and are looking forward to their third being born in the end of February this year, but…the baby decides to surprise them by arriving earlier.   On Christmas Eve, a little fighter is born into the world, weighing just over three pounds – Siyana. Placed in the Department of Neonatology of the University Multi-profile Hospital for Active Treatment “Plovdiv”, under the watchful eye of Dr. Diana Argirova, the tiny Siyana fights for her life for 40 days. She is given strength by mummy Iva, who is there with her little hero every day. However, Iva is at the end of her tether, overwhelmed by her emotions and fears, which only a mother who has been confronted with the same situation can understand. Her husband – abandoned by his mother as a child and raised by his grandmother and grandfather – struggles with self-doubt and insecurity, which leaves him reeling with guilt. He is seldom at home, does not come back until late in the night so that he won’t have to see Iva’s face while she’s crying… from helplessness. The fear of losing their child, rather than bringing them together, tears them apart. Entrapped by their chaotic thoughts and consumed by their own fears, in their powerlessness, they make an emotional decision – to abandon Siyana…   They announce their decision to the doctors in the Department of Neonatology who are taking care of Siyana and with whom we from the Community Support Centre “For Children and Parents” cooperate in translating our mission – not to allow a single child to be separated from its family – into reality.   When we learnt about the risk at which Siyana found herself, we immediately sought to make contact with the family. The case was entrusted to Stela Alexandrova, social worker, and Mariyana Kostadinova, manager of the team “Social Work”. Whom our specialists met and spoke with were two insecure and confused parents – the mother was in postnatal depression and the father was at a loss as to how to help her. From the onset of the conversation, it became clear that their decision to abandon their child was in actuality an emotional one – that they did not want to leave their baby but were simply afraid. “Siyana was born early, we are not ready to take care of her, what if she has disabilities and I am not capable of looking after her…”, Iva shared her fears with us. A myriad of questions whose answers we began to seek. And we did find answers and solutions.   Over the course of the next 30 days, our team remained by Iva and Vasil’s side. We helped them begin to feel more sure of themselves and maintained close contact with the experts who were taking care of our little fighter so that she could leave the Department of Neonatology healthy and come home to mummy, daddy and her two older sisters. We supported the family emotionally and materially: we provided them with a baby bed and a newborn baby set – clothes, towels, a baby bathing tub, skin care products, bottles, a dummy, etc. We also provided adapted milk for premature babies so that the little girl could gain weight and overcome the need to be given enzymes to support the work of her digestive organs.   We were by their side on the day when Siyana was released from the hospital: she was the very picture of a Grim Brothers’ heroine – “Hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood” – and weighed almost 5.3 pounds. We continued to support the family and the development of the child. Together with Dr. Argirova, we will monitor the little girl’s growth and state of health until she becomes a year old and, if necessary, she will benefit from the rehabilitation therapy offered by the kinesitherapist who works at our Centre, Hristo Spasov. With the help of the American nonprofit organization “Rays of Hope for Bulgaria”, which supports children in need, we provided the family with a baby stroller, a feeding chair, and a baby walker.   As of today, Siyana is a seven-month-old baby girl who is just like all other babies her age – smiley, happy to be with her mummy, daddy and two sisters. We continue to be there for them because we believe that every child deserves to live in a secure family environment and to have its chance to reach its full potential.   From January this year until now, thanks to the coordinated efforts of our team at the Community Support Centre ‘For Children and Parents’ and the teams of 3 hospitals in Plovdiv, 9 children were saved from being abandoned and are now living and growing surrounded by the love of their birth mum and…

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Launching the Initiative for Development and Social Inclusion– for Our Children in Plovdiv District

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Today Ivanka Shalapatova, For Our Children Foundation Executive Director, signed a contract for the implementation of a project named “Initiative for Development and Social Inclusion– for Our Children”. It will be executed with the financial support of the Operational Program “Human Resources Development”.   The project will be implemented on the territory of 8 municipalities in Plovdiv District and will develop and improve the system of services for active social inclusion of children at risk and their families in the municipalities of Plovdiv, Maritsa, Sadovo, Kuklen, Rodopi, Perushtitsa, Stamboliyski and Asenovgrad, where integrated and coordinated cross-sectoral services will be developed.   Within the project framework a comprehensive program for information exchange, individual assessment and targeting of services to the identified needs of the child and the family will be launched. It will serve as a tool for coordination and interaction between multidisciplinary service providers and local state structures, as well as keeping the parents informed, consulted and motivated to use complex services based on the need for development and social inclusion. Based on multidisciplinary individual family assessment, they will be directed to supporting integrated services.   The access of vulnerable groups of children and families to integrated and coordinated support and development services will be improved to reduce the risk of social exclusion.   The project framework allows for the implementation of programs for complex support of the early child development of children with development difficulties or disabilities through basic or mobile services in early childhood intervention, rehabilitation, logopaedic therapy, medical counselling and assisting, late monitoring of children with disabilities and premature babies, as well as the support of the individual development and learning of children and their socialization in cooperation with local structures.   Our Team will work to raise the public awareness of the problems of children at risk and their families and their opportunities for active social inclusion. Eight information meetings will be organised and conducted at the eight municipalities.   The implementation of the project activities will start in September this year and it will continue until April 2021. It is foreseen to engage at least 200 children, including children with disabilities and their families.   Some of the most significant problems in the social sphere in the 8 municipalities are: Lack of understanding among the public about the importance of the problems of vulnerable children and their families and the importance of early identification of risks, ways of actively involving them and providing social support; Shortage of networking community services to offer comprehensive support to children at risk and their families; Risk of social exclusion of children at risk and their families due to the lack of services and a number of obstacles preventing the access to existing services.   For Our Children Foundation is a Bulgarian NGO that has been protecting children’s rights in Bulgaria for 27 years and works in partnership with children, families, communities, local and executive authorities to provide a safe family environment and conditions for sustainable development for each…

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Life in an institution – a scar that never disappears

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Nevena is a “child of nobody”. Born by a mother but raised by the state. She doesn’t know maternal love, dad’s embrace. Instead, she spent all her life in childcare homes along with other boys and girls like her – abandoned. During her time there were no foster parents to replace loneliness and isolation with true love and care. So there was no way out for her and for the thousands of other children like her.   Life in a home has left its heavy scar on the heart, soul, behavior and habits of Nevena. She is 35 years old, mature woman, but only at age. Some daily tasks and activities are a challenge for her – it’s difficult, sometimes impossible for her to get close to somebody, to build a friendship and a complete connection. Accustomed to institutional life, even today, after so many years, she can’t get away from it – for 5 years she lives in a Temporary Placement Center in a small town with her husband, who is rarely coming home and constantly working so they can get out of there. Despite all the challenges, they both dream of a child and decide that despite the difficulties, they will make their dream come true.   Two years ago, Hristo was born – a wanted and waited boy. Nevena and her husband are in the seventh sky, but the mother’s euphoria passes quickly. A few days after they get home, she falls into a deep postpartum depression. She doesn’t know how to care for her child, her husband is not at home and there is no one to support her.   “The depression just stirred me. It took my throat and didn’t want to let me go”, said Nevena.   Frightened and confronted by the challenge, Nevena feels like she can’t cope with the child, and maybe it is better to separate it from her. Then the Center connected our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” and our specialist in early childhood intervention Petya Uzunova started to work with the family.   In the beginning, Petya’s meetings with the mother are weekly and the conversations are almost daily. They talk about many different topics, discussing the stages of each child’s development, for which Nevena knew almost nothing. The mother says she didn’t expect the child to need constant attention and care and Petya tells her that she can’t expect at three months the child to be able to take care of itself – to eat alone, to be alone. They talk a lot about the whole life of Nevena, who, after the first meeting, understands that she can trust Petya and she is there only to help her. She shares a lot of things with her – she remembers her childhood and gradually, encouraged by Petya’s advice and comments, she starts to understand herself, her reactions to her child and her fears.   Nevena realizes the truth – she never had a family, a mother and a dad to love her and that this, after 35 years, affects her relationship with her child.   But she realizes something else – she couldn’t cause this life to her own child, and whatever it costs, she and her husband will do it and they will not be separated from their child.   Meanwhile, Petya makes a screening assessment of the child to make sure it is growing up normally. She says that despite her fears, Nevi takes good care of the child, it is always dressed well, fed and despite all the challenges – it grows up well.   “The biggest challenge for Nevena now is to overcome her inability to attach to Hristo, to devote herself entirely to love, to let it embrace her without any fear”, said Petya.”   Our support for Nevena and her family continues. Petya keeps visit them at the Center and together they go on a walk – Nevena tells her about her daily life and about Hristo, who has already walked, and soon she is expecting to hear his first words. They were even our guests at our Day of the Child holiday. Petya guides her, gives her advice on how to stimulate his development. He also talks to his dad, whom she encourages, despite his busy schedule, to be more active in the care for his son. Petya recently shared another joyful moment from their family life – their refurbished room at the Center, which is now much more welcoming, better furnished and better for the little Hristo, for whom is yet to “conquer peaks”. Nevena and her husband are encouraged that they will soon have their own home.   Yes, the consequences of living in the institution leave traces, always lurking and choose the “most appropriate” moment to remind about themselves. But the story of Nevena and her son is another example of how with proper support given on time, the tracks are slowly erased, and someday – maybe they will be erased…

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11 Months Healthy Nutrition For Our Children by Herbalife Nutrition Foundation

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Among the children worldwide, which the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation (HNF) will help this year, are also those with which the specialists of “For Our Children” Foundation work. Thanks to the donated $ 10,000 through the HNF program “Casa Herbalife”, we can together, over the next 11 months, to ensure the best opportunities for healthy nutrition for dozens of children at an early age.   “For 25 years, the Herbalife Nutrition Foundation and our Members and employees have been dedicated to improve the children’s lives by helping to provide access to healthy meals and nutrition education. This time, we are proud and happy to contribute to the mission of For our Children Foundation both financially and voluntarily in order that children in need to get the nutrition they require to reach their full potential.”– shared Romeo Cazanescu, Country Director for Bulgaria.   “For Our Children” Foundation will invest the donated funds to ensure adapted milk and baby food for the babies and toddlers in our Family-Type Placement Center “Children’s House“. This will allow us to guarantee the daily full and healthy nutrition of its young inhabitants – an element of the overall care for their growth in a family-type environment. Some of the funds will help vulnerable families which “For Our Children” Foundation supports through the Community Support Centres in Sofia and Plovdiv and the Foster Care Centre in Sofia, providing them with food, necessary for the proper development of their children.     In the coming months, Herbalife Мembers will become a true part of the Foundation’s life by immersing themselves in the workplace of our specialists and supporting our team in their efforts to provide quality social services to children and families.   “We’re all very excited that this generous donation from HNF will enable us to ensure and improve nutrition of the vulnerable children supported through our services. It will also help us to increase awareness of the caregivers – parents, relatives, foster and adoptive parents, babysitters – about the healthy nutrition and encourage proper nutrition habits. Thank you, Herbalife Nutrition Foundation!” – said Galya Getzova, Director Corporate and Individual Partnerships and Communications of “For Our Children” Foundation….

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The Community Support Center “St. Sofia” with 3 new services

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“For Our Children” Foundation will continue to manage and develop the The Community Support Center “St.Sofia” and in the next 5 years, decided Sofia Municipality after a competition procedure.   The Community Support Center “St. Sofia” is under the management of the Foundation since 2008. At the beginning, it operates with a capacity of 55 cases, but the increased interest in services and the proven professionalism of specialists, only 6 months after the first competition, its capacity was increased to 105 cases. Over the next 5 years, the Center will work on 130 cases per month, which again shows the trust of Sofia Municipality in the quality of the services we provide.   In addition to the expanded capacity, the Center will deploy several entirely new programs aimed at supporting more children and families at risk and offering more diverse services – “Early Childhood Development”, “Primary Prevention to Prevent Violence and Achieve Security for Children” and from 2021 we also plan the development of the Foster Care service, which will include recruitment for foster parents, evaluation and selection, training and subsequent support for foster families. And in the next period, the team will focus their expertise to prevent the separation of newborns from their families, to provide full support to families of children up to 7 years in order to prevent the risk of separation between them, it will work with children and families in the process of reintegration, it will continue to prepare prospective adoptive parents and support already adoptive families, it will take care of the social and emotional development of children entrusted to public care.   The newly introduced services under the “Early Childhood Development” Program will support and develop parenting skills to meet specific needs in the physical and mental development of the child at an early age and they will increase their confidence and autonomy. In the form of group or individual sessions, we will hold consultations, trainings, trainings for parents and children. There will also be a free access space where children and their parents will be able to play and study together. During Early Childhood Intervention activities (screening and evaluation of development, preparation of an individual development plan for the child), socializing and development activities (“Toys Library”, “Music in action”, “Play the fairy tale” and others), we will also support parents of children who are at risk for illness, disability or development problems.   The Primary Prevention to Prevent Violence and Achieve Security for Children program is aimed at students, parents, teachers, educators, professionals working with children and families, children in kindergartens and their families and aims to raise awareness, knowledge and skills of the community regarding child welfare, children’s needs and rights. We plan to organize trainings to understand and meet the needs of children at different ages and positive parenting, seminars for identification of signs and symptoms of violence, family planning courses, parenting skills, sexual and health culture, etc.   In the beginning of 2021, we will also run the “Foster Care” service in order to have the opportunity to recruit more foster families to provide a cozy home and care to children without parents for whom an alternative is only the institution.   And during the next 5 years the Community Support Center will continue to get involved in the fate of children and families at risk, it will be a loyal partner in the challenges they face, and will make sure that every child has a safe and happy childhood in a family. Because our belief is only in a family the child can develop fully and grow into a successful person.  …

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Summer, office and cause meet in the campaign “Challenge summer in office” of “For Our Children” Foundation

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He, the office..   She, the vacation..   Can they really meet?   Invite him, the summer, at your office, let the breeze caress each of your colleague and envelop every desk. Let it unites you under. Let it unite you around a noble cause – to spend some time together and get to know each other in a different light with lots of laughter and positive energy.   And let the summer at the office starts now!     With the third edition of the “Challenge summer in office” campaign and the 10 funny challenges, prepared this year, “For Our Children” Foundation invites the employees of middle, small and big companies to adjust to the summer wave and surrender to His Majesty’s Summer. Although behind the computer at the office…   The challenges   Whether you go to a culinary race or write “salty” ode for a colleague, organize a karaoke or tender for summer privileges, the variations are many, the most important thing is to challenge yourself and your adventurous spirit to do it with a cause. Let’s not miss the charity participation fee! Because what is better than opening a wide open door of the office for the summer, transferring to summer fiesta through the little jokes of the campaign, knowing that you are contributing to the happy ending of our cause – the smiling future of the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria.   The cause   With the funds raised by the campaign, the foundation will support parents in order not to separate with their babies. We will continue to work with children born prematurely, with disabilities or at risk of developing impairment, delay or developmental deviations in order to have a full life and to grow into active and independent individuals. And of course – to have one beautiful, blue summer.   How to participate?   On the page of the campaign you can see the full list of our challenges! Choose 1,2 or even more to dive in a sea full of entertainment! And if you’ve been inspired and you invented a new challenge – share it and don’t forget the hashtag of the company – #Summer_inOffice!   Join today – don’t wait until the end of the campaign – the last day is 31st August. Because before you know, the season will be over. And with the season, you will miss so many opportunities to have fun, to get to know your colleagues and to help more children to have a wonderful childhood.   “Challenge summer in office!”     For more information: 0887 070 268,…

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The Asian festival “The magic of the East” raised 13 380 BGN in support of the cause of “For Our Children” Foundation

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The Saturday’s festival of Asian culture “The magic of the East” raised 13 380 BGN in support of children and families at risk of separation. The amount includes purchased tickets for the charity tombola through the Eventim platform on the festival day, and donations from embassies participating in the all-day event.       To start the festival, special guest was Mrs. Iliyana Yotova, Vice President of the Republic of Bulgaria, who thanked all of the diplomatic missions involved in the organization of the festival, and urged thousands of visitors to dive into the Magic of Asia. She congratulated the 16 participating countries for their commitment to the fate of a lot of vulnerable Bulgarian children, for their choice to dedicate the festival again to this cause and together with “For Our Children” foundation to make less families to separate with their children.   “Events like this festival are the best weapon against the language of hate, against everything that separates us. People want to get to know each other, to touch different cultures and to live in peace and understanding”, said Iliyana Yotova.       Traditionally, special guests and representatives of Asian countries have released 30 white pigeons, a symbol of peace, harmony and understanding.       From 10 am to 8 pm on this hot day of June, the visitors of the festival had the chance to witness unique dance and music performances, to taste the culinary delights of the individual tents of the countries, which impressed with aroma and exotic taste. Once again a huge interest was caused by the non-standard painting-bus, which attracted a lot of young people with an inclination to the street art, who painted along with contemporary Pakistani artists. Among the most attractive events of the festival for the youngest guests were the artistic studios offering traditional art and games from various Asian countries, martial arts demonstrations on stage, outdoor lessons in a world-class dance style – k-pop (Korean pop) and others. Special. There were special attendances by H.E. Mrs. Sri Astari Rasjid and her son who performed a song, as well as the General Manager of Turkish Airlines – Mehmet Gurkaynak, who sang two songs under guitar accompaniment.   The charity tombola, which this year offered more than 50 awards, caused unprecedented interest, the biggest of which was a two-way ticket for two to a selected destination in Asia. Thousands of people, from the youngest children to the oldest visitors, took a part in the tombola by buying a ticket, which, besides bringing them closer to earning one of the exotic awards, gave them the opportunity to contribute to the cause of the festival.       The Foundation was not going to be able to follow its mission without the support of its partners and friends including Iva Doychinova – TV and radio journalist and Peyo Filipov, actor, singer and longtime member of the Consultative Council of the “For Our Children” Foundation, who again took a part in the festival. This year the actor Vladimir Zombori joined the duo.   The festival day ended with a draw on the winning tickets.       “I thank all those who participated in the tombola, the organizers of this unique event, the embassies and their representatives and all of the others who contributed to the charity cause. With your support, our team will be the support of a dozen families at risk of separation, we will give them a hand to cope with the challenges and we’ll be there when they are most vulnerable”, said the deputy executive director of “For Our Children” Foundation – Mariana Taseva.   The foundation believes that each child’s place is in its family and only in a safe family environment children can develop their full potential and have a happy childhood. That’s why, for 27 years, the organization fights for every child never to fall into the loneliness and isolation of institutions, but to live lovingly cared for in a family. Last year, our team prevented the separation of nearly 300 families and their children – the basic principle in the work of our specialists is to be with the parents at the very first moment when they feel vulnerable, alone, insecure. Because sometimes only a friendly hand, advice or direction is needed to overcome the crisis and to stay together.   Check out the winning tickets:…

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Winning numbers from the Charity Tombola of the Asian Festival “The Magic of the East” – June 15, 2019

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  I. Vouchers for a dinner from Restaurant Eisha win tickets with numbers: • 3741 • 0273 • 3756 • 0296 • 2301 • 2101 • 1507 • 000655260300408513500000 • 4385 • 000651450200308513547700 • 3665 • 000651450200408513547700 • 0555 • 0162 • 2118 • 000651450203508513547700 • 000655139600208513500000 • 0209 • 000653362500208513500000 • 000654140500208513500000     II. InGlobo Magazines win tickets with numbers: • 0588 • 4201 • 4004 • 2175 • 0878 • 1525 • 4005 • 4007 • 000651450202008513547700 • 3032     III. Voucher for drawing on boutique ceramics from Matzalo wins ticket with number: • 000655346700308513517200     IV. Voucher for a handmade chocolate products from 13 grams wins ticket with number: • 0088     V. Bio box with natural and high quality products – GOOD BOX wins ticket number: • 000653362500308513500000     VI. Two vouchers for dinner for two from Palivec Beerhouse win tickets with numbers: • 3042 • 000654562500208513500000     VII. Two vouchers for products for home from KREO win tickets with numbers: • 000651450201108513547700 • 000655098400208513500000     VIII. Two vouchers for dinner from Royal Thai win tickets with numbers: • 3146 • 000653485500208513500000     IX. One carton Indonesian culinary delights, provided by Indofood win tickets with numbers: • 0537 • 000655511600108513500000     X. Voucher for Indonesian dinner for two (set menu) from Yati Cooking win ticket with number: • 1531     XI. Glasses form KWIAT win tickets with numbers: • 000653495700108513500000 • 000654968800208513500000 • 000651450201408513547700 • 000654434500108513500000 • 000652821300108513500000     XII. Voucher for Balinese massage from Este Fitness and Spa win tickets with numbers: • 4021 • 0559     XIII. Voucher for Balinese massage from Victoria Spa wins ticket with number: • 2013     XIV. A weekend voucher for two from Kempinski Hotel Grand Arena Bansko wins ticket with number: • 00065352530010851350000     XV. Vouchers for a group trip with a yacht for two by Sail With Me wins ticket with number: • 0190     XVI. VIP yacht trip by Sail With Me wins ticket with number: • 0519     XVII. Sailing yacht lesson for two by Sail With Me wins ticket with number: • 0278     XVIII. A two-way ticket for two to a destination in Asia by choice from Turkish Airlines wins a ticket with number: • 3603       You can receive your prize within 30 days from the office of “For Our Children” Foundation, 21, Gyueshevo Str., Sofia, Bulgaria Contact: Dobrina Kisova d.kisova@detebg.org 0884 663…

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