2020 was marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and Bulgaria was among the affected countries. From the beginning of March, thousands of children and their families became the invisible victims to the state of emergency and its economic consequences. Most affected by the situation are children at risk from low-income families, because they lack the resources needed to tackle the new challenges.
Over the last 5 years, Citi Bulgaria and the For Our Children Foundation have built a strong partnership focused on the development for foster care in Bulgaria and on the support of foster families. In 2020, Citi is renewing its financial support to the Foundation and in response to the new challenges presented by the pandemic and the new world context, expanding the funding outreach to address three main issues:
- facilitate the placement of abandoned children in foster families, the best alternative for children, separated from their biological parents;
- provide sustainable support and other medical services for the foster children with developmental difficulties. Citi support will finance various socializing activities for children, art and music therapy; trainings and group self-help sessions for foster families; ensure support of social workers from the Foster Care Center. The Center will offer daily care for children with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, and its specialists will organize recreational, but also developmental activities to support children in overcoming various communication and physical difficulties;
- support the emergency family support program, created by For Our Children Foundation to respond quickly to the social impact and consequences of COVID-19, as well as to prevent child abandonment due to poverty and material deprivation. The program includes social, material and financial support to overcome the crisis and stabilize families. The supply of food, baby food, hygiene products, new clothes and school supplies, the purchase of medicines will provide the breathing space to families who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. In addition to material assistance, the program also includes social support for coping with stress, counseling to increase parental capacity and mental wellness advice on dealing with feelings of insecurity due to social isolation.
As before, Citi’s employees will actively support the Foundation’s efforts through their participation in various volunteer and donation campaigns. Their commitment complements the company’s efforts to improve children’s well-being in Bulgaria. The result is a strong synergy between the donors and the Foundation – one of the most distinctive marks of the successful long-term partnership.