For Our Children Foundation nominated Mrs. Yordanka Paunova – former director of the closed Home for Children Deprived of Parental Care (DLRG) “Rada Kirkovich”, Plovdiv, in the competition “Plovdiv – City of Good“. Her nomination is in the category “Social activity” because of her indisputable contribution to the development of social services for children deprived of parental care.
We nominate Mrs. Yordanka Paunova because:
- She is a modern fighter who has dedicated her life to improving the well-being of children;
- She believes in the good in every single person and does everything possible to make it happen around them;
- She is a dreamer and visionary who sees the potential and unreservedly supports the change in the development of child care.
Since 1986, for 20 years, Mrs. Paunova has been the director of HCDPC “Rada Kirkovich” – the oldest orphanage in Bulgaria for children aged 7 to 18, deprived of parental care, established in 1878. 136 years, until its closure in the fall of 2014, it helps children with difficult destinies, thanks to the joint efforts of the Plovdiv community. Under the leadership of Ms. Paunova, the home team is constantly improving the living conditions of children are meeting their needs, the new requirements of the environment and the new trends of child care.
During all the years in which she was the director of HCDPC “Rada Kirkovich”,
Mrs. Paunova lives with the pain and anxiety of every child who steps on the threshold of the home. Her sensitivity to every child’s destiny, to every child’s soul is amazing. She knows how to feel children, to support them, to create a strong connection with them, so necessary in the age of hesitation and insecurity, in which they are alone and have no one to trust. In addition to the basic care for children, Ms. Paunova sees the potential in the graduates and gives them wings to dream and develop their talents. The director does everything possible for the child with the talents of an artist to get the chance to create, the child with interests and desire to play sports to develop in sports, children with singing talent to develop their musical abilities, and those who have technical skills to work in the right direction. One of the significant merits of the director is a five-year project with our great opera singer Raina Kabaivanska, which, together with the music school in Plovdiv, gives young musical talents from home the opportunity to be noticed, to touch the art of music and to get involved in various musical performances. With great excitement and pride Mrs. Paunova remembers how her graduates opened a concert of Raina Kabaivanska’s master class in Bulgaria Hall.
And today, 6 years after the home closed,
alumni are looking for Ms. Paunova to tell her about their achievements, difficulties, joys, new steps in their lives, to congratulate her on the holidays or just to talk to her – the woman who was very close to them in key issues moments. Dozens of children have received care and love, confidence and a chance for development thanks to Ms. Paunova. Dozens of children have found their families and taken their own ways because they have seen and encouraged the good in them.
Mrs. Paunova is a person, open to the new, out of time, a visionary.
She managed to move home during the difficult years of the transition, following the interest of the children entrusted to her. From the very beginning of the process of deinstitutionalization in Bulgaria, she was among the first heads of institutions in the country to join a project to improve the welfare of children, which met her with the Foundation “For Our Children”. She is among the first to recognize foster care as the best temporary care for children without parents and relatives. Ms. Paunova manages to see and assess the future of child care and stands behind the efforts of the For Our Children Foundation for change. First of all, it supports the work of the foundation to promote and promote alternative forms of institutional care, supports reintegration, adoption, incl. by international adopters, and supports foster care. “I will not interfere with the change. I believe that this is the way to get better,”says the then director and assists in every way in the process of taking children out of the home, giving them the chance and the right to live in a family. With her support, dozens of children return to the families of relatives or are adopted and enjoy the care and love of adoptive or foster families. After the closure of the Rada Kirkovich Home in 2014, Ms. Paunova fully announced the initiative of the For Our Children Foundation to transform the former institution into a modern early childhood development complex, preserving the best of the past, adapting it to the current reality of the Plovdiv community and looking ahead to the future. She firmly believes in the transformation of the oldest orphanage in Bulgaria – the home “Rada Kirkovich”, which brought together the fates of hundreds of children in need, in a modern space for support, training and development activities, while maintaining its main function – care for the most valuable capital society – children.
Mrs. Paunova’s faith in the good and in the sensitivity of the Bulgarian to children is contagious.
At an event of the For Our Children Foundation in the building of the former Rada Kirkovich Home, with which we launched a public campaign in support of the establishment of the Complex for Early Childhood Development earlier this year, she shared: “The home has existed for so many years thanks to benefactors and I think it will continue to develop in the future, because the Bulgarian is open to charity, especially to children. ”
The campaign “Plovdiv – City of Good” 2020 is organized by the Municipality of Plovdiv under the patronage of Mayor Zdravko Dimitrov and in partnership with the National Alliance of People with Rare Diseases. The idea is to honor good people who selflessly lend a hand to a person in need or fight for the development of our society.
The award ceremony for the distinguished good people of Plovdiv will take place on June 27, 2020. We wish success to the event and all participants!