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Around 100 children remained in their biological families in Plovdiv with the support of “For Our Children” foundation

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Around 100 children remained in their biological families during the first 6 months of 2018 in Plovdiv, with the support of “For Our Children” foundation.  The cases of prevention of abandonment of newborns, which our Center for community support “For children and parents” worked on, are 10.We saved from abandonment 6 babies, thanks to the active cooperation with the healthcare facilities, timely intervention and support we gave to parents. Today they enjoy the family comfort.   Our team works on the program “Preventing separation – family support for safe care” which is especially for children at risk of abandonment. We are going around the neighborhoods and we meet different families so we can find out the problems, we talk with families and future parents, conducted consultations of internationally validated methodology, and help when needed. This is how we reach more children in need and help them to stay in their families. This is the program on which we worked with 80 families, which faced different challenges in the care of their children – poverty, parents of children with disabilities, parents with many children, etc. None of the families abandoned their child.   During the last 6 month we started a new project called “Better life for a child in need” together with the foundation “International women club – Sofia”. Through it, we continue to support 4 children by giving them the opportunity to go to hydrotherapy sessions, which are often too expensive for most of the parents. The children receive specialized support – an “Early Childhood Intervention” specialist works with them, and this helps them acquire new important skills and to develop their potential. And to the parents – to help their children develop. All the children remain together with their families. With 3 other children we worked on “Early Childhood Intervention” program, and we created a special program for exercises with which their parents could stimulate their development at home.   The organized courses for parental skills are becoming more and more interesting for the future and present mothers and fathers. 144 parents took part in the free classes. We also worked with 6 candidates for adoptive families.   Around 100 children, parents and health specialists were supported thanks to our project “Care at an early age” in the University Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment in Plovdiv where a team of specialists: psychologist, specialist “Early childhood intervention” and rehabilitator made consultations about the internationally validated methodology.   For the team of the Community Support Center “For children and parents” the childhood in a safe family environment is a cause, and the work is dedicated to the children, to the future and the hope. Our purpose is to guarantee safe and protected environment for the children. A purpose we have had for the past 26 years.   During the first 6 months of 2018 “For Our Children” foundation supported more than 1000 children and…

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During the World Breastfeeding Week – “For Our Children” foundation published a book called “Breastfeeding the premature baby – a book for parents”

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Many mothers of premature babies ask the question “Can I breastfeed my premature baby?”   Dear mothers, Not only that you can, but it is also very important for the health and the right development of your baby.   This is what the health specialists advice mothers. With the assistance of the mobile team of the “For Our Children” foundation, this practice is daily encouraging the mothers in the maternity wards in First Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment and Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment of Children’s Diseases “Prof. Dr. Ivan Mitev” in Sofia, also in University Multiprofile Hospital for Active Treatment in Plovdiv. Our specialists support the mothers, who in a given moment, under a pressure might not be in a condition to make an informed decision, which is actually the crucial moment before they decide to take those “magical pills” that stop the breast milk. Our experts always connect them with a breast-feeding specialist or a consultant, who can explain them everything they should know about the breastfeeding of their premature baby, which is way much fragile than the others. They are with the mothers when they mostly need them. When doctors think that it is safe for the baby, our specialists believe that mothers should naturally feed their babies in the natural way, no matter how impossible this seems.   This is the reason why we created “Breastfeeding the premature baby – a book for parents” with the National association “Support for breastfeeding” which we give to families in the maternity wards for free.   Happy and satisfied, parents share that the book has many useful advice and mostly gives the answer to the question “Why is it healthy to breastfeed my premature baby?”   Why is it important?   Breastfeeding premature babies is better when it is with the mother’s milk, because it supports their health and help their normal development. The breast milk of the mother of a premature baby is different from that of the other mothers – it is very rich in protein, also contains lipase, enzyme that stimulates the absorption of fats. It is less likely for breastfeed babies to have infections that are common among premature babies, than it is when they are given artificial milk. The immune factors protect the babies, while their immune systems develops.   If the feeding cannot happen directly, because the baby was born before the 32nd week and hasn’t develop a sucking reflex, specialists advice the mothers not to give up, but to start using the kangaroo-type care, which was initiated by the foundation and the team of the hospital ward. It is mostly practiced in the Specialized Hospital for Active Treatment of Children’s Diseases “Prof. Dr. Ivan Mitev” in Sofia. It is also called “skin-to-skin” and it gives the baby the ability to spend lots of time on its mother’s body. It is both replacing the womb and also supporting the right body temperature. Children, that are being raised that way breastfeed better and develop faster.   The book “Breastfeeding the premature baby – a book for parents” contains that and many other useful advice which can support mothers and fathers through the time their children are far away from them in the neonatal ward.   You can download the book for free here: https://cdn.detebg.org/uploads/2018/08/Karmene_na_nedonosenoto_dete-Knizhka_za_roditeli.pdf…

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Let the dreams come true – interview with Nadya Tabakova for Volontime

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“…Throughout the years “For Our Children” foundation helped in different ways – through forming groups that support children and parents, educating parents how to take good care for their children, giving psychological and legal support, investing in the education of children with special needs, and others. Two-thirds of all abandoned children are left to the care of the government because of financial instability or health problems of the child. There are cases when parents abandon children for a second time, but not in the foundation, because the specialists teach the children main skills and good manners, so the foster parents do not reject them. In addition, the parents are well prepared and do not take decisions without thinking carefully. To learn more about the organization, I reached out to Nadya Tabakova (specialist in “Partnership development”), who answered my questions thoroughly and told me about one of the most remarkable initiatives of the foundation – the Children’s house.   How many causes, campaigns and events have you organized so far? Can you list some of them?   The “For Our Children” foundation counts on socially responsible campaigns and people to finance around 70% of our activities. That’s why in the last few years we have created and realized different campaigns and events, through which we can motivate the companies and their staff, and not only them, of course, to support us in realizing our main mission – every child to grow up safe and protected in a family. More than 100 companies took part in our campaigns, such as: “This Christmas you make the miracles” and “Challenge the summer in the office” – https://volontime.com/donation_campaigns/61. Also, our annual charity event “Еvening of the Virtues”, which we have successfully organized for 8 years already , and through which we have collected 750 000lv in support of our causes. Last year we launched “RE:donor” – innovative and challenging campaign for changing the public attitudes and stimulating regular individual donations.   When you organize an event with volunteers, do you include many people in it?   The most important capital in our organization are the people, that is why we appreciate everyone, no matter whether they are from the team, a volunteer, partner, or a donor. We are happy that more and more people hear about us by themselves and want to support us by donating their time and talent. The events that the foundation organizes are very interesting, because the volunteers give positive energy to all the guests. What is the secret recipe? Some good mood, very good organization and strong motivation so we can together support the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria.   Can you tell me more about you cause – Children’s house?   Our Family Type Placement Center “Children’s house” is a place where 6 children at the age between 0 – 7 years can live. Those children usually come directly from the maternity ward and do not have parents. In the House, the babies receive full care, attention and lots of love from our volunteers. In the 6 years, during which we have been developing this kind of service, the House has been a home for more than 40 children.   Unfortunately, in Bulgaria, annually around 1000 children are abandoned by their families, and the need for such a service as the Children’s house still exists. The good news is that thanks to the professional skills of our team and our good relations with Department of Child Protection, the average time that the children live in the House is between 4 and 6 months. Then they either go back to their biological families, foster parents or they are adopted.  However, for the most part the House functions at its highest capacity.   Why did you become part of the team of “For Our Children” foundation? What attracted you to the social work?   I believe that the well-being of children is everyone’s responsibility, and the investment in it is repeatedly restored to the whole of society. For me it is important to know that while supporting the children in need, I know that I help my own daughter to grow up around other children, and they all have the chance to become complete personalities – such we want to meet, hire and to become future leaders.   Can you tell me some interesting story in which you took part, or that inspired you, encouraged you to do good deeds?   I can’t tell a specific story that was less or more inspiring – these are real human stories loaded with an individual charge to which one could not remain indifferent. For me, every encounter with our foster families and the children they care for is an extraordinary experience. It is amazing how, with the support and love of a “deputy” parent, children develop their whole potential and quickly find their new mom and dad.   What are the future plans for the foundation?   We have the ambition to enrich the palette of social services we provide in Sofia and Plovdiv to be able to better support more children and their families. Over the past 25 years, our team has been working on collecting broken parts into a single family. In the coming years we will work not only to save children’s destinies but also to stimulate children’s development from an early age in which it is critical that they learn and explore the world. We will continue to work to change the environment for local and state authorities to develop and implement policies that put child welfare at the center and minimize the risks faced today by the smallest – poverty, neglect, social exclusion. For several years, we have been working actively and purposefully to create the first National Early Childhood Development Strategy to regulate cooperation between the health, social and educational systems. Because without systematic policy, it will be very difficult to expect closed institutions, happy families, healthy children, realized dreams and strong leaders! Every child deserves to have an equal start in life as well as an opportunity for full development and happy childhood in a secure family environment. This is what every member of “For Our Children” team believes. The dream that unites them and inspires them is one day in Bulgaria to have no social home, behind which windows one could see sad and lonely children’s eyes. They dream that every child, even the different one, has a family where it feels secure and protected, loved and free to dream. Because these children are the future of Bulgaria and we must give them the life they deserve. To the question I asked from the beginning, whether this dream will come true, depends entirely on us … ” We thank Bianca Marinova from Volontime for the wonderful…

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44 children went back to their biological families during the first 6 months of this year

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44 children went back to their biological families and now they enjoy the love and care without fear that they will be left alone. This is one of the biggest successes of the teams of “For Our Children” foundation in Plovdiv and Sofia during the first 6 months of 2018. For the whole year 2017, they are only 44.   One of the children, which parents fight to take back, is Pavel.   Less than a year ago Liliya went to the Child Protection Department (CPD) with the hardest decision she had to make – to leave her child to other people, who would take better care of him. “Pavel will be better off if I am not his mother – with me he wouldn’t have the childhood that every child deserves. He should find new mother and father who would have everything – a house, jobs, they will go on holidays, and they would even have a dog.”   This is what Liliya thought when she was handing Pavel to the social workers, who immediately after that was sent to a Family Type Placement Center. The very next day she went abroad, believing this might help her forget the loss. Because there is a saying – “Eyes that you can’t see you can easily forget.” However, tears fall the same in Bulgaria and abroad. Both hers and his.   Pavel lived in the Family Type Placement Center just for a few months. He cried every day, he missed her every single minute. The staff there noticed that the child is very sad and decided that he should live in a real family, so hopefully he will forget that he is abandoned, alone and he does not have a mother anymore.   Dimitrina Georgieva, a foster parent of “For Our Children” foundation opened both her heart and her home for Pavel. She has already taken care of 3 other children, who now have a family and a chance for a bright future.   Only 2 months after Pavel started living in Dimitrina’s home, Liliya, her husband and daughter came back to Bulgaria with one wish – to take Pavel back. Living abroad didn’t help Liliya forget her loss and she didn’t stop thinking about him – she was wondering how he looks now, whether he can walk and what was his first word. The decision she made was after she heard that if she does not take him back 6 months after she has abandoned him, she might never see him again. And the end of those 6 months was close.   “We want our child back,” were the first words the family said when they went to the Community Support Center “St. Sofia”, said the social worker Fikree Baydarova.   Liliya and her family underwent a serious three-month-long preparation and attestation, so our team from the CSC can be sure that if they send the child back, the family won’t abandon it again. Fikree met the family many times in their small but cozy home, and she talked with them a lot about their problems and also their strong sides.   Yesterday Liliya took in her hands Pavel and together they went back home where the boy will receive lots of love. The foster mother Dimitrina is happy that one more child went back to its biological family, and is sure that they will deal with all the challenges that come their way without any…

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The importance of the early childhood development was discussed by representatives of the Ministry of Education and “For Our Children” foundation

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The Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev, the Deputy Minister Denitsa Sacheva, the chairwoman of the Child Protection Department Eleonora Lilova, experts from both institutions and the CEO of the “For Our Children” foundation Ivanka Shalapatova discussed the importance of early childhood development.   The meeting was initiated by the foundation. Its purpose was to discuss the expert work group of the Ministry of Education, and to plan the strategic purposes of the early childhood development in Bulgaria as a new stage of the national politics for children.   The participants negotiated that the politics for children and families, and the protection measures should cover not only the children at risk, but all the children in Bulgaria. This should happen from day one and its purpose is to guarantee the right development and start in life of all of them.   Mrs. Shalapatova thoroughly presented the progress of making the first Strategy for early childhood development, which was reached by a wide range of interested people under the coordination of the foundation’s team. The goal of the participants is to set strategic goals for the early childhood development, which should be discussed with the children, families and experts, with local and national authorities. This way, there will consent and with joint efforts we can all make Bulgaria a better place for the youngest members of the community.   Minister Valchev approved the importance of the early childhood development and the need for joint efforts, so we can reach a high quality of life for the youngest children. He also emphasized that this is one of the most important topics for the Ministry of Education. During the meeting it was also negotiated that the expert work group will guarantee dialogue so all the changes could be discussed. The education, health and social systems should work in sync, with the child and the family will be in the center. The minister agreed that everything made by the foundation and other institutions will be the main work of the new expert group.   The first meeting of the new work group is forthcoming, and it will mark the start of the work out of new strategic goals for the early childhood development in Bulgaria. It was also negotiated with the Representative of the Council of Ministers that the topic of early childhood development will be synchronized with the starting process of the creation of new Ambition for Children 2030. Minister Valchev highly appreciated the willingness of the foundation and other institutions to be active in analyzing the situation, the pointing of the problems and creating key changes in the period until year 2030. This would improve the quality of life of the youngest children and will be a great start for realizing the full potential of children – the most valuable capital of our community.   The efforts of “For Our Children” foundation for the adoption and implementation of an integrated and modern policy for early child development are supported by the OAK foundation under the “Care at Early Age”…

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A memorial meeting about a forgotten story was organized by “For Our Children” foundation in Plovdiv

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The team of “For Our Children” foundation invited to a special meeting in Plovdiv one of the most important people, who gave hope to many boys and girls in the first home for children deprived of parental care in Bulgaria “Rada Kirkovich”, namely – his former directors Ms. Yordanka Paunova and Mrs. Stanka Mileva. The meeting was also attended by the people who helped write history – Deputy Mayor of Sport, Youth Activities and Social Policy of the Municipality of Plovdiv Mr. Georgi Tityukov, Director of the Social Policy Directorate Mrs. Veselina Boteva, Mrs. Rositsa Atanasova, representative of SACP in Plovdiv.   What made us organize this meeting? The process of deinstitutionalization has been going on for the last 11 years. Institutions are being closed down and new ones are being opened. However, did anyone tell the story?   As a future owner of part of the building, we have decided to preserve it as a museum exhibition. This will tell the history of the home, the first social workers, the first foster families, the first cases of returning children to their families, for the people with big hearts that contributed to make more children grow happy in a family in Bulgaria. One of these people is Mrs. Paunova, who devoted 20 years of her life to children left without parental care.   During our meeting, the people who worked with her were emotional and eager to tell us some nice memories. For the great love she gave to all children. For the individual care and attention she gave to every child. How she was trying to develop their talents – if a child was a good mathematician, she always found a way to arrange for this child to study in a private school. If a child was a good football player – she found a way for him to train more. If a child was a painter, she found a way so that this child will study and become a professional one. The children couldn’t stop communicating with her even after they started living in a foster family, or they were adopted or went back to their real family.   We want to tell the story of people like Mrs. Paunova. Those are the real heroes of Bulgaria. The heroes who bring brightness in the lives of the ones in need, and give hope to the children.   During the meeting, Mr. Tityukov described to us the changes that will happen to the building of the “Rada Kirkovich” orphanage. The features that “For Our Children” foundation will have there are: a Community Support Center, an Educational and Hi-tech center for early development of children. And the most important part of the building will be the floor with museum exhibitions, which our foundation will restore.   “The new should replace the knowledge for the old. When people come to educate themselves about social work, this museum will motivate them to continue the work of people like Mrs. Paunova. Through the museum exhibition we would like to inspire our visitors to continue to help children, remembering the old days.” shared Ivanka Shalapatova.   Mrs. Paunova was sincerely pleased that despite the changes the memories of the past will be saved. “I thought that this story will die after me, because people did not take care to preserve it.”   It is a strength to be part of one great deed!   To be continued…     The “Rada Kirkovich” home for children deprived of parental care is the first orphanage in Bulgaria. It was set up in 1878. One of the most dedicated to the children’s cause and fighting viciously for changes is the director-Mrs. Yordanka Paunova, who came 110 years later. One day with the idea of ??change, Ivanka Shalapatova, today executive director of the “For Our Children” foundation, visits the home and meets with the director Mrs. Paunova. During the conversation, Mrs. Paunova clearly realizes that if a partnership starts, the children will have a real chance to live in a better environment. And this woman with a big heart says: “Every child deserves to be loved. So tell me, when do we start?” From that moment on, the work to get the first children from the home into a family environment started, and some of them returned to their biological families, others were adopted or lived in foster families or family-type accommodation….

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Summer came to the office of “For Our Children” foundation

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With lots of smiles and good mood, we ‘charged’ ourselves at the end of last week in our office. As part of our campaign “Challenge the summer in the office” we organized a charity lunch, and we laughed a lot while looking at our childhood summer photos. For a bit, we ran away from the workday and we surrendered ourselves to laughter, delicious food and well deserved good mood in the hot afternoon.   Everyone prepared tasty homemade dishes and some old photos of childhood memories on the seaside or the mountain. Every piece of joy was charity. Everyone who could not recognize the others on their children photos was supposed to put some money in a box. With the money we collected, we will help children have a wonderful summer, like the one we all had have.   “Challenge the summer in the office” gave us an opportunity to go back to what motivates us to continue to change fates every day, making more and more children…

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We organized a dreamy day for little and older children at SHAL “Prof. Ivan Mitev”

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Our mobile team from “For Our Children” foundation, together with the actress Zvezdomira Georgieva and the musician Konstantin Kuchev, organized another day, dedicated to the dreams and stars and full of entertainment and joy both for little and older children. For a fourth time we touched the hearts of children in need at SHAL “Prof. Ivan Mitev”.   The little sunshines had the opportunity to share what they wish for the future – their dream jobs, hobbies and adventures. Inspired by their wishes, the artists created musical improvisations with a guitar and lyrics. The children were actively participating in the playing with their toy-instruments that our team gave to them.   The wonderful music, the good mood and all of the smiling children made even the hospital team take part in the entertainment. We are happy that again we made those children smile.   “There is nothing impossible for the heart that…

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The Law for Social Services, in which creation “For Our Children” foundation took part, was accepted

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Vanya Kaneva, manager advocacy and projects at “For Our Children” foundation was part of the meeting of the workgroup that created the Law for Social Services. The conception of the law was accepted and the follow-up actions for preparing that important document were discussed. The workgroup, in which the foundation participates, was created and is personally guided by the Minister of Labor and Social Policy Biser Petkov.   “The conception’s purpose is to outline the main directions of the future changes in the field of social services,” said Vanya Kaneva. According to the document, the new legal regulation will be developed in the context of three main objectives: accessibility of social services, quality and efficiency of social services, integration of support.   The conception offers the vision on the main issues that will be regulated in the Social Services Act and its subordinate legislation. These include the essence and main characteristics of social services, types of providers, the assessment of social service needs, as well as issues related to the creation, planning, provision, financing, negotiation / assignment, control and monitoring of social services.   The next step is the drafting of the Social Services Act, which should be finalized by October 15.   “At the meeting, it was decided to set up a team, part of the working group to participate in the drafting of the specific texts of the law, and to coordinate the contributions of the various stakeholders. All major groups will be represented in the team – children and people with disabilities, and others. The children coordinator will be the National Network for Children, “said V. Kaneva.   One of the areas of activity of “For Our Children” Foundation is the advocacy for creating better policies and conditions for the development of children in partnership with the authorities at national and local level as well as with other non-governmental…

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“For Our Children” foundation is looking for an office

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“For Our Children” foundation has the ambitious goal to open the Complex for Early Childhood Development in the already closed Home for Medical Social Care “St. Sofia”. Sofia Municipality provided us with the building but it needs a major reconstruction, the funds for which have already been provided thanks to the trust of our donors.   To continue our work while we transform the building, we need a place to position a part of our team for one year – from 1.10.2018 to 30.9.2019, which we can use for free. We will take care of all consumables, including all overheads such as electricity, water, heating, and so on. We need about 200 square meters, no matter if they are one or more rooms, as long as they are wired, with air-conditions, natural light, sanitary facilities, and a kitchen. We will revive them and turn into a welcoming space with the furniture and equipment we already have. We prefer the location to be in the vicinity of Vazrazhdane municipality, where our services are – Children’s house, Community Support Center and Foster Care Center.   It will be extremely valuable for us if someone has the opportunity to support us in our battle for ensuring that no Bulgarian child will grow in the loneliness and isolation of the institutions. We will sign a donation contract with a value equal to the value of the rent for the months of free use of the property and we will issue a Certificate of donation of the same value, which is a legal basis for the use of tax relief.   We will promote the donor’s partnership and support for the youngest children at risk and their families through all of our communication channels – the foundation’s website www.detebg.org, our social networking pages, the media, our business community and our partners.   We hope and believe that with our new partner and host in the next year together we will improve the world for the youngest children and their families!   If you need further information, do not hesitate to contact us at 088 4 82 85 08 or e-mail a.glaveev@detebg.org – Atanas Glaveev.   “For Our Children” foundation has been providing professional social services for children at young age (0 to 7 years) in the regions of Sofia and Plovdiv for 26 years. The main programs we develop are family support – direct work with children at risk and their families, foster care – selection, training and support of professional foster parents providing temporary care in a family environment for children deprived of parental care, small family home for temporary placement of abandoned children from 0 to 3 years of age. Our challenging activity to change the world of children left without family support is funded by the state budget that we receive for the services we provide, project activities and thanks to the support of our strongest partners – socially responsible companies that share our understanding that children’s rights are our…

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Adventure with a boat for our children

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Children that live in foster families, which “For Our Children” foundation supports, had many joyful summer moments at the end of last week.   The world sailing champion Vasil Alexandrov gave them as a present two-hour-long sailing adventure on the Iskar Lake. During the Asian festival “The Colors of the Traditions” on May 12, he met some of the foster families and their children. Mr. Alexandrov was emotionally touched by their fates and the love of their foster parents, so he decided to give them a present. Two months later, with the support of SailWithMe, he gave them an exciting water adventure.   This adventure is the third surprise for the children this year, which was organized by our colleagues in the Community Support Center and the team of the project “Care at the Early Age”.     One of the activities we perform under the “Care at the Early Age” project in 2016 with OAK Foundation funding is socializing activities for young children (0-7 years) to give them a better chance of development…

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Order “Madara Horseman” first degree for H.E. Stavros Argoustides – Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus to Bulgaria and our very good friend

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Dear friends, we share with you the joy today: H.E. Stavros Argoustides – ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in our country and our very good friend, was awarded with the order of the “Madara Horseman” frist degree for his great merits for the development of Bulgarian-Cypriot relations and cooperation! The award ceremony was attended by the Executive Director of the “For Our Children” foundation, Ivanka Shalapatova.   H.E. Stavros Argoustides is among the most zealous supporters of the “For Our Children” foundation. He was a diplomatic partner of last year’s edition of our biggest charity event “Evening of Virtues”, and used every occasion to support the development of children of early age, which the “For Our Children” foundation works with.   His last appearance as Ambassador of the Republic of Cyprus in Bulgaria was again dedicated to the cause of our organization. H.P. Stavros Argoustides donated all the funds from the sale of over 80 of his wonderful works, shown at the farewell charity art exhibition in June this year.   President Rumen Radev highlighted the charity work of H.E. Argoustides. “The paintings he draws here in Sofia are impressive. And the charity exhibitions he organized were dedicated to help Bulgarian children, for which I thank him.” said Mr. Radev during the ceremony.   We, from the foundation’s team, congratulate Mr. Argoustides on the high distinction, and thank him for the faith in our cause, the concern, the support, and the warmth which he gives to the Bulgarian…

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24 organizations brought the freshness of the summer with a cause to their offices

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The teams of 24 companies have already joined the “Challenge the Summer in the Office” campaign of the “For Our Children” foundation so far. Among those willing to lead our mission to a successful end are: Supply chain team from HP, Denkstatt, Scale Focus, Tara Soft, Penkov, Markov & Partners, TeleTech, Generali and other friends of us.   All the participants already know that a competition might not only be for the fastest drawn and transmitted monthly report. Some of them have been inspired by our challenge, “Count strength in the office” and organized a foosball tournament, while others were looking for their table tennis champion. Moreover, all this is in support of the most vulnerable children of Bulgaria.   Remember, there are only 3 more weeks to broadcast your favorite game winner or simply embark on some of the exciting ideas of the campaign, flood your office with fresh mood and summer emotions but also make one more child…

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Representatives of the Maltese foundation “Social Welfare Services” visited the centers of “For Our Children” foundation in Sofia

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The Chief Executive Officer of the Maltese foundation “Social Welfare Services” Ruth Siberas and the manager Josephine Muscat visited the centers of “For Our Children” foundation in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. They got acquainted with the successful practices of the Community support center and the Foster care center, with the process of adoption, and the support that foster and adoptive families receive.   Ruth and Josephine talked with the manager of the Foster care center Mariana Taseva, whо shared detailed information about the experience of the team in the work with foster families: the meetings between foster families and children, the preparation of children for their new life, and the transmission and preservation of the child’s story. Katherina Kovacheva, psychologist at the Community support center “St. Sofia” and Petya Yanachkova, family consultant, told to the representatives a lot about the program for training and education of candidate-adoptive families, and about the support we give to those that have already adopted to create a healthy and complete relationship with the new family member. They also shared that thanks to the professional approach of the team of the Community support center, just for the first three months of this year 25 new mothers and dads have received knowledge and skills about how to take good care of their long-awaited children.   Our colleagues from Malta told us about the functioning of their child protection system in support of children and families, so there will be no abandonment. The executive Director Ms. Siberas also said that there was no such practice in Malta for many years, and shared the experience of the “Social Welfare Services” foundation in working with foster families and foster parents. The two foundations agreed to continue to share knowledge and experience in the name of the well-being of all the children and families who need their support.  …

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One-year history of “For Our Children” Foundation already on paper

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2017 was remarkable for our foundation – they touched us and we changed hundreds of children’s fates together, and at the end, we celebrated our 25th anniversary. Our story over the past year is now available for everyone. Take a look at our key activities.   OUR SERVICES   Again the foundation used its greatest strength – working in sync with a wide range of quality social and integrated services for young children (0-7 years) and their families. Here is a small part of what we have done so that we can take another step towards realizing a dream – every child in Bulgaria to live and develop in a family:   Prevention of abandonment   They key was our most urgent intervention, the one in which the mother wants to leave her child still in the maternity ward. Our experience shows that family support on time is very important to overcome the risk of separation. In 2017, our group of specialists that supports families in Plovdiv was very positively adopted. In a protected space each month, they share difficulties and successes, problematic situations and options to resolve them.   Our Children House – family comfort for the youngest   During the past year our Children House provided temporary family shelter for 13 babies, deprived of parental care, which currently could not live with their parents and families, in foster or adoptive families. Our team of specialists takes care of their full personal development.   Foster Care – the best type of temporary care for children without parents   In 2017 was the first time when our Community support center has established itself as providing the most complete package of foster care services in Bulgaria. In addition, one of the benefits of the Community support center is the chance we give to the 32 foster families we support to attend support groups and training for development.   Influence of the “For Our Children” Foundation on the policies for children in Bulgaria   The results of the first ever large-scale national survey of early childhood development, which we launched in 2017, showed that there should be serious improvements in the work of health, education and social systems, and the key need is to adopt a unified national strategy for early child development. We have also been actively involved in drafting a new Social Services Act and several key sub-normative documents in the field of social services. Our active membership in international and national networks and civil unions contributed to the more effective advocacy of the networks and to increasing the audibility of our messages, both in Bulgaria and in Europe.   2017 – under the sign of the 25th ANNIVERSARY of the FOUNDATION   We marked our 25th anniversary several times during the year. We started with a Children’s Day celebration during which we created a playground for disabled children, and in the autumn, we celebrated our anniversary in the South Park with friends, followers and children.   It was the 8th year in which we hosted the biggest event – the “Evening of Virtues”, which raised over BGN 160,000. Once again, we managed to bring together over 400 guests – diplomats, state representatives and local authorities, socially responsible business, the non-government sector and the cultural circles, partners and donors of the foundation.   With hard work, peaks and drops, experience gained, but most importantly – with thousands of changed children’s destinies, 25 years have passed since the establishment of “For Our Children” foundation. In the next 25 we dream not only to save the children from the institutions and provide a roof over their heads but also to stimulate their development from day one. Because we believe that the first three years of each child’s life are vital to its successful and complete…

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“For Our Children” foundation and International Women’s Club with a common project “Better Life for a Child in Need”

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The name of the new common project of “For Our Children” foundation and International Women’s Club is “Better Life for a Child in Need”. It has started earlier this year. Through it the foundation will support 10 children and their families by giving the children an opportunity to visit different innovative therapies like: hypo- and hydrotherapy, which are too expensive for most of the parents. The children will also receive specialized support by a specialist “Early childhood intervention” that will help them to get new skills and unfold their potential.   One of the 4 children already supported, thanks to the partnership between the two organizations, is the four-year-old Nasko, who today made his 6th water rehabilitation course. We are happy to share that the boy shows visible progress because of the rehabilitation. Nasko feels more relaxed and more confident, enjoys the water and swims with the support of his rehabilitator, communicates freely with other children.   In addition to the possibility of working with an individual specialist, in March this year, “For Our Children” foundation, ProCredit Bank and Adapt BG Medical Equipment Store assisted the child and his mother by providing them with a special walker so that the child could finally walk by himself. Today he is bravely standing up and we believe that after several more hydrotherapy sessions, Nasko will take his first steps.   The “Better Life for a Child in Need” project will soon provide sessions on hypo therapy for older children so that they can develop their communicative and socializing skills through the horse riding. “For Our Children” foundation believes that every child deserves a happy childhood and life, and hypotherapy is a proven tool for improving the quality of life, emotional and physical well-being of children with developmental problems and contributes to the development of their motor skills and their feeling of balance. Our team is confident that with the support of the International Women’s Club we will be able to support more children with specific needs to develop their full potential.   Check more on:…

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Are your colleagues always late? Challenge them but with PURPOSE!

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Here is what one of the companies, which took part in our summer campaign shared with us: “After we met the representatives of the  “For Our Children” foundation, we found out that we are the INSPIRATION for one of the  for “Challenge the Summer” campaign. Without any doubt, we picked this exact challenge –  “What time did you come to the office today?”   Although working hours were never strictly defined in our company, there are still many colleagues that come to work very late. That is why we decided we could use this as a good cause. Therefore, during our last meeting with the team, we challenged Harry, who always finds excuses to come to work late. Clueless, he accepted the challenge with a smile , mainly because it was connected to fundraising for children. We had fun whole week watching Harry struggling to come to the office exactly at 9 o’clock. Every morning he started coming to the office #OnTime, saying “Good morning” with a smile and reminding the others about the jar for donations.   It was worth every single coin!   Check out more about the 10 challenges with a CAUSE on…

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Early childhood policies discussed by a “For Our Children” foundation team and Galab Donev – the Secretary of the President

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Early childhood policies and the mechanisms of cooperation between NGOs and the state were discussed by the CEO of the “For Our Children” foundation Ivanka Shalapatova, and Mr. Galab Donev, the secretary of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria. Two more representatives of the organization’s management also participated.   I. Shalapatova was thankful to the presidential institution for the support and the commitment of the President Mr. Rumen Radev, who encouraged the efforts of the foundation, and talked with foster families at the “Colors of Traditions” festival in May this year.   The Foundation team discussed with Mr. Donev the process of deinstitutionalization of children, focused on the smallest children, and the experience of the foundation in the process of closing the social care homes for babies, as well as the effect of the foundation’s work with the healthcare facilities which prevent the abandonment of newborns.   The Foundation is actively working to adopt a National Early Childhood Strategy that integrates health, social and educational policies so that every child gets the best opportunities for development, “said Mrs. Shalapatova. She shared the challenges that the foundation faces. During the meeting were discussed the opportunities for incentivizing the adoption of such a strategy because of its foremost importance to the development of children of youngest ages. Also discussed were the spheres in which the foundation can be beneficial to the presidential institution. Public attitudes about disability policy, social services and children rights, were also…

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How a game can evoke the summer in our office and helps our children

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It is Friday evening. I raise my head from the computer screen and realize that I am alone in the office. Although it is summer, there is a storm outside and I do not feel like going out in this bad weather. Everything can wait. I lean back in my chair and I see a jar on the shelf near me…Memories from last summer are flooding my mind: a friend of mine challenged me to stop using some filler words. Every time I use a filler word, I have to put 1 BGN in a jar with no exception.   The story: It was the beginning of last summer, and one of my dearest friends was sick and tired of hearing words connected with the upcoming summer holidays. He challenged me. What inspired him was the so called “swear jar”. His idea was to put money in a jar every time we say any of the three words: ‘free’, ‘hammock’, and ‘sand’.   Without realizing how often I use those words I agreed to play this game, it was a joke for me. Two weeks later, there were 60BGN in the jar.   After all, a jar and a childish idea made me come up with the idea to ‘invite’ the summer in the office. I was enthusiastic about it and I purposed it to my colloquies at the ‘For Our Children’ foundation’s office. I made the game as perfect as possible so all the others working there could feel the summer breeze in the office and realize they can help many children have a normal childhood.   My collogues were also enthusiastic about the idea and the challenges, and in the matter of a couple of days we created the “Evoke the Summer in the Office” campaign. Other companies and firms wished to be part of the challenge, and they were having fun while being socially responsible.   There isn’t anything better than transforming a personal story into a tool which can be used to do good and also entertain people.   This is the second year that the “For Our Children” foundation ‘wakes up’ the imagination of the people and calls them to have fun together with their colleagues at the office while opening their hearts and ensuring that more children will have a happy summer in a…

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Young musical talents in support of the children of “For Our Children” foundation

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  With a charity rock concert in support of “For Our Children” foundation, the children from the private kindergarten “Little Steppes” marked the end of the school year. With loads of excitement, the small talents took the role of various rock stars and bands such as KISS, ZZ Top, Guns’ n Roses, Queen, BT. and Ahat. An even greater enthusiasm for them and for the guests of the event was Milena Slavova, who performed several of her songs on stage together with the small rockers, united by the cause of the foundation: every child to live happily in a family.   The kids from “Little Steppes” kindergarten, their parents and the kindergarten team together managed to raise the sum of 1533.05 BGN with which the foundation will be able to help more vulnerable children. The rock concert was an example of how we can unite with songs, dances and fun and give more girls and boys the chance to have a joyful childhood.   On behalf of the children and families we work with, we are grateful for the enthusiasm and the wonderful concert of the whole “Little Steppes” kindergarten team and especially the small talents! Your support is extremely valuable to us! You inspire us to continue work with a smile and dedication, so that every child can have an equal start in life and live its dreams!     “Little Steppes” kindergarten is an English-language private kindergarten, established in 2010 as a children’s center. Later in 2013 it grew and became part of the school complex “Alphabets” in Sofia. In the garden, English is also taught to become part of the daily communication of children and to contribute to their future education and overall…

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The organizers of the Asian Festival “The Colours of Traditions” with an exotic dinner in the Indonesian Embassy

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The Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia – H.E. Sri Astari Rasdid – set up an exotic dinner in Her residence a month after the Asian Festival “The Colors of Traditions”. The festival united 14 diplomatic representatives of countries with a different background around the happy future of Bulgarian children in foster care. The occasion for the dinner was to celebrate the success of the second edition of the festival, which attracted more than 10,000 guests. Many of them took part in the charity lottery to support the ‘For Our Children’ foundation and the foster children with whom the team works.   We are happy to share that after the event we continued to receive donations and the final amount is 16 453, 90 BGN. With the funds raised, the foundation will support at least 20 children to take part in sports and summer camps, art-workshops, theater productions and other activities that will encourage their development. On our site we will regularly publish information about the experiences we have prepared for the children and how we change their fates together.   We would like to thank the 14 diplomatic representatives, the guests of the event and the corporate partners who chose to support us. We are extremely grateful to the talented hosts Peyo Filipov and Iva Doychinova, who brought us to the magic of Asia. The festival became even more colorful thanks to our friends from “The Fire and Shadows Theater” and the Fusion Academy.   “I would like to express my gratitude to all the ambassadors and their team for the faith in what we are doing and for choosing us as their partner. This means a lot not only to me personally, but also to my team. Doing charity work in Bulgaria can be a great challenge, and it is often very discouraging when you have to fight with many negative factors. Having your support means a lot to us. So, if you ask me “how did you benefit from the festival, “firstly I would say – we made many new friends. Thank you for the friendship!” concluded Mrs. Ivanka Shalapatova, Executive Director of ‘For Our Children’ foundation….

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CALL for INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS

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Is your organisation working in the area of risk prevention and early intervention for children? Are you based in Central and Eastern Europe? Have you developed good practices that you would like to share? Do you want to be part of an initiative that will improve the lives of children at risk across the Central and Eastern European region?   If the answer is YES, get in touch with us. For Our Children Foundation has more than 26 years of experience in the area of child protection and early childhood development and we are now looking for partners for the implementation of a regional cooperation project.   We would like to share practices and experience in the area of early childhood intervention and risk-based interventions in the early age, and carry out research and mapping of good practices. We are also hoping to hold a major regional congress in Sofia in this area, and we think that after the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, our country is really ready to take a lead on such an initiative.   If you meet the requirements set out in the call for proposals and you would like to get involved, please get in touch with us…

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Gergana Pavlova: Cause marketing is an initiative of business and nonprofit organizations, but the results and its success are in the hands of each and every one of us

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“For Our Children” Foundation has a mission that has been going on for 26 years now and it is to provide professional social services for the most vulnerable children at an early age by promoting stable, secure and developing family relationships. All of us working in the Foundation want to see happy children and families and forget the institution-homes for abandoned children. In the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team, we give 110% just to see such happiness. I sincerely believe that each of my colleagues falls asleep every night, thinking that they make the world a better place for the children of Bulgaria.   The concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) emerged in the United States in the 1960s as a result of debates about the social behavior of multinational corporations. The first report on this subject was prepared by an American ice cream company Ben & Jerry’s, but the most prominent example of CSR is the oil giant Shell. In 1995, the company decided to sink its oil platform in the North Sea in response to a growing crisis and serious financial problems. This plan met with great disapproval by the media and the public. Customers unite and boycott products. The story grew into a scandal, and Shell gave up her plans. It then recounted its actions in an analytical report titled “Profit or Principles. Should We Choose?” With this it remains in history as the company that laid the foundations for corporate social responsibility.   Corporate Social Responsibility, part of whose big family is cause marketing, is the business’ contribution to sustainable economic development, labor relations with the workers, their families, the local community and society as a whole to improve quality of life.   Cause marketing is an easy mechanism by which companies support causes important to society. It is used as a profitable trading tool back in 1983 by American Express for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty in the United States. The cause received 1 cent for each transaction and 1 dollar for the issue of each card. The result for 4 months is: • Collected funds of $ 1.7 million • Increased use of cards by 28% • Increased number of customers by 45%   That is why we too, at the “For Our Children” Foundation, attract partners who have not developed social responsibility programs, but can contribute to the happy childhood of the hundreds of children and families we support. Sometimes companies just do not know about it, so we invite them to develop a marketing campaign with a cause. We are proud to say that we have tens of campaigns to support the cause of the Foundation. Thanks to partners like Profi Credit, Sofiyska Voda, Oriflame, Gradus, Harmonica and many others, we continue to maintain a high standard in providing social services to the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria. Small, medium or large businesses are increasingly see the good opportunity in their investment in early childhood development precisely by organizing such campaigns. Through this mechanism, the companies have proven to increase their sales and attract many new customers.   We are glad that our partners are: “Compass”, who donate a percentage of the sales of their delicious pates, and “Bradabrat”, who donate 1 lev for each beard product purchased online. These two companies are very different in every aspect, except perhaps in what motivates them to support us.   What motivates you to support the cause of the Foundation? Belief in good, the future and love for our children! We are motivated by the vision and the solutions that the Foundation offers. – Vladi, the founder of “Bradabrat”. In an amazing way and with a very positive charge, the Foundation makes us think about how little it takes to help children and parents in need. Because family is a fundamental value we believe in. – Eli, Marketing Assistant. Thanks to two boys, two brothers, concerned about male health and beard care, we will continue to prevent the abandonment of newborns. Also thanks to a Bulgarian company, which for 22 years has been an innovating leader in its respective market. Cause marketing is an initiative of business and nonprofit organizations, but the results and its success are in the hands of each and every one of…

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For Our Children” Foundation and Friends Celebrated Children’s Day in Plovdiv

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With many jolly games, fun, delicious treats and wonderful cake, “For Our Children” Foundation and friends celebrated the International Children’s Day in Plovdiv. The colorful party was our gift to all children and families with whom our team from the “For Children and Parents” Community Support Center is working. A special guest was actress Elena Petrova, who greeted all children and addressed their parents to do their best to make their children dream freely, have a carefree childhood and be happy.   Celebrating with us the Children’s Day was Albena Jones, President of the International Women’s Club Foundation. Do not forget that you were children once! Believe in your children, unleash their potential, said Mrs. Jones to all parents.   The Deputy District Governor Petar Petrov came to congratulate the children, families and the team of the Center.   The Foundation does a lot for the city and the children at risk, we stand and we will always stay behind you, he said.   A special guest of our celebration was the Deputy Mayor of Plovdiv Georgi Tityukov, who thanked our team for the intensive and inspiring work that we have been dedicated to for 26 years now. Thank you for everything you do for the children of Plovdiv, the municipality will continue to be a serious and predictable partner of the Foundation, he said.   Thanks to our friends from the municipality of Plovdiv, we will soon begin the transformation of a part of the building of the former children’s home “Rada Kirkovich”, which will be transformed into a modern Early Childhood Development Complex and a high-tech training center, said Lina Samandova, regional manager in Plovdiv.   We believe that with the support of socially responsible donors by next June 1st it will be a magical place for young children – a place of love, care, dreams, community, she said to all the partners present….

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“For Our Children” Foundation with a magical celebration for the International Children’s Day in Sofia

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With a real magical party, we celebrated the International Children’s Day today at the Community Support Center “St. Sofia” in the capital. Clown-wizard, fairy-animators, lots of colorful balloons, games, dancing, delicious ice cream and a unique cake were just some of the entertainment and treats that the “For Our Children” Foundation team had prepared for all our young and grown-up heroes.   I am really happy to see today so many smiling children’s faces, so much true love and concern in the eyes of families. Me and my whole team are happy to be among so many heroes and thank you for being with us on Children’s Day! This is the moment, for which we work tirelessly! Have fun, smile, be happy at the children’s holiday, greeted all guests Ivanka Shalapatova, Executive Director of “For Our Children” Foundation.   In a painting studio, small artists expressed their creativity into colorful paintings, and with their magical brushes and paints, the fabulous animators from Lily Rose Melody painted the faces of all children. The biggest attraction was the clown-magician who stunned all children and parents, from the smallest babies to our eldest guests. Traditionally, our special guests, including the ambassador of Denmark HE Soren Jakobsen, the Ambassador of Israel HE Irit Lillian, the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the “For Our Children” Foundation Maxim Behar and Kapka Stoykova, a member of the Board of Trustees, transformed themselves into the best ice cream men and delighted all children with scoops of the delicious treat. Naturally, the day would not be so special without a tempting cake!   And to finish the celebration in the most unforgettable way, all children and the whole team of the foundation grabbed a large parachute full of balloons, which we let fly freely in the sky. For us, they are a symbol of the carefree and colorful childhood that every child in Bulgaria must have….

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“For Our Children” Foundation challenges you to awaken your inner child and welcome summer in your office

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On the International Children’s Day “For Our Children” Foundation launched the fun campaign “Challenge Summer in the Office 2018”. We invite you to welcome the summer to your office, and while the cheeky challenges of the campaign take you on an imaginary holiday with colleagues, you can contribute to the happy outcome of our cause – the smiling future of the most vulnerable children in Bulgaria.   The campaign is an interesting way to get out of the daily routine, but also a wonderful occasion to get to know our colleagues. At this magical children’s holiday we invite you to wake up your inner child and join our summer campaign! Let’s change hundreds of fates together and breathe hope into thousands of children and families! On the campaign page, we have prepared 10 fun ideas to challenge your colleagues and together to participate in an initiative of your choice that will not only bring your team together but also help more children to live in a family.   On their holiday on June 1, thousands of children enjoy the love and generosity of their parents, but there still are more than 2,500 children living in the isolation of cold institutions, who only dream of family. With the funds raised in the campaign, “For Our Children” Foundation will make it possible for more newborns to stay in the warmth of their families, help children with developmental difficulties to have a full life, and will help of the babies in the Children’s House find their new loving families.   To the team of the “For Our Children” Foundation, International Children’s Day is one of the most special occasions to celebrate childhood. That is why we will celebrate it in three cities – Sofia, Plovdiv and…

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More support for parents in caring for children

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“For Our Children” Foundation participated in a discussion on the importance of support to parents for ensuring child welfare at the initiative of the State Agency for Child Protection, UNICEF Bulgaria and the “Parents” Association. Presenting the first large-scale Bulgarian study investigating the interaction of the three systems around the child – health, social and educational, were Vanya Kaneva – Project and Advocacy Director at the Foundation and Tanya Kotseva from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. The study was presented at the conference “Vision for Early Childhood in Bulgaria”, organized by “For Our Children” Foundation in March 2008. Its key recommendations clearly outlined the need to create a unified national strategy for early childhood development, which would improve the well-being of young children and their prospects for the future.   The participants in the meeting focused on the needs and challenges of modern parents in Bulgaria and the need to provide and develop support opportunities for all parents, which should be based on partnerships between professionals and parents, and to promote a family-oriented approach. From the discussion it became clear that today many parents face the difficult task of combining childcare with their professional roles; to deal with socio-economic conditions and impaired relationship and communication with children as a result of labor migration; or the risks arising from the digital and media environment. At the same time, there are insufficient opportunities for parents to receive support, and very often the parents themselves are not inclined to seek support beyond the family and close relations.   More partner meetings are under way to bring parenting to the focus of the public agenda and to provide effective support for the children in Bulgaria….

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With events in three cities “For Our Children” foundation will celebrate the Children’s Day

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Is there a better way to celebrate the International Children’s Day on June 1, than with a big party? Why not two? Or three? This year “For Our Children” Foundation will celebrate with children and families in the cities of Sofia, Plovdiv, and Blagoevgrad.   Тo have fun with our team and the sunny children and families with which our teams work in Sofia and Plovdiv, we have invited representatives of the state and local authorities, diplomats and many loyal friends and partners who for many years support our mission to ensure the development and happy childhood of all children in Bulgaria. For the good mood of the children and the families in Blagoevgrad, this year our friends from Compass will organize a unique “Emoji” party with the help of everyone’s favorite emoticons.   The program of the three parties will be rich and interesting. We have prepared a myriad of entertaining challenges for our special guests – the children. In a painting studio, the young artists will be able to express their creativity into colorful paintings, and the magic brushes and paints of fabulous animators will transform all those who want to be fairy-tale characters. Which reminds us – there will be many special surprises and gifts that will make the holiday even more memorable.   To our team, International Children’s Day is one of the most special occasions for celebrating childhood. For 26 years now, our specialists have been working to ensure that every child lives and grows happily in a family because we know that nothing in the whole world is more precious than Mom’s hug and the support of Dad, grandma, and grandpa, everyone we consider family. That’s why on June 1 we and all our friends are celebrating – to have more smiling and happy…

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Over 1300 leva were raised by a charity football tournament in Plovdiv in support of “For Our Children” Foundation

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The amount of 1377 leva was raised by the charity football tournament “Give Happiness to a Child in Need”, which took place on 27 May in Plovdiv. With these funds, our team of the “For Children and Parents” Community Support Center will continue to support children and families at risk, and to ensure that all children develop their potential and grow loved and happy.   The charity tournament, organized by the boys from the League of Kotse (LNK), was filled with many emotions and smiles, experiences and competitive spirit. Every football fan could join either individually or as part of a team, against a contribution fee of 5 leva deposited in the donation box of the foundation. So after seven hours of football games, out of the twelve teams in the tournament the winner was Mayna City. And the great success of fundraising in support of the charity cause inspired the organizers to turn the tournament into an annual event.   We extend our gratitude to the LNK Sports Club and to everyone in attendance for their support and trust. Thanks to partners and friends like you, the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents” has been successfully helping children and families in need for nearly 10 years. For the first three months of this year, our experts supported nearly 90 children and…

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Representatives of the British human rights organization “Lumos” visited the centers of “For Our Children” Foundation

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The Chief Executive Officer of the British human rights organization “Lumos”, Georgette Mulheir, Chief Expert Jonathan Simmons, and Foundation Ambassador and social media star Rossana Bee visited the “For Our Children” Foundation. They learned about successful practices in our community support and foster care centers and in the Children’s Hoouse, as well as the impact of their joint work in support of children and families. The three talked with parents and foster parents, service managers, with our executive director Ivanka Shalapatova.   Georgette and Rossana got to know the real stories of two children whom the Foundation’s team saved from life and loneliness in an institution, and who grew up surrounded by love and family care. They met and talked with Valentin Rashkov – an embattled father who, after years of struggle, finally welcomed his child at home in February of this year. They were really impressed and excited by the story. Their hearts were touched by Reneta Petrova – a foster mother supported by the foundation, who a year and a half ago urgently accommodated a girl who, thanks to her care and love, quickly made up for her delay and starts school this year. The two spoke about cherished family moments and the challenges they address thanks to the support they receive daily from the foundation’s specialists.   We have been deeply touched by the cases you have told us about, and which are an example of your excellent work.  We are excited to help you tell these stories to the world, the representatives of the British organization said.     “If they open their hearts and their souls and hear and see these big-hearted people, everyone will understand that children are the most valuable capital. The family is the only environment in which they can develop,”said Mrs. Ivanka Shalapatova, Executive Director of “For Our Children” Foundation.   Lumos’ team discussed with Mrs. Shalapatova and the leaders of our Community Support Center, our Foster Care Center and our Children’s House the progress we have made in caring for children.   “The work of the “For Our Children” Foundation and of Coalition 2025 has helped greatly improve childcare policies in Bulgaria. It is an important element of our joint efforts to persuade the European Commission to amend the regulations and to provide funding for the deinstitutionalization process. Today this is a fact and all EU countries are committed to including such measures in their programs. We continue to give the example of Bulgaria’s experience to make other countries believe that it is possible to improve childcare and start the deinstitutionalization process, “said Georgette Mulheir.   She showed special interest in the development of foster care in Bulgaria and the work of the foundation in this direction. She was really excited about the conversation with the foster mother, Reneta Petrova, and the rapid progress in the development of the child she cares for. Georgette greeted Reneta and the foster care center’s team for the efforts and support they provide to children deprived of parental care.   According to her, Bulgaria has achieved a lot in the development of this service, the process is irreversible, but further efforts are needed to improve its quality, ensure its sustainability, and change public perceptions and attitudes towards foster care. The newest Ambassador of the Lumos Foundation Rossana Bee is better known as Mama Bee of the Eh Bee Family in Toronto, whose videos entertain and inspire more than 15 million global subscribers in social media…

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Differentiating children with developmental difficulties from adults

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To differentiate policies for children with developmental difficulties from those for adults, both when defining the order, the timing, the conditions of use of aids and technologies, and the overall approach. This is what the “For Our Children” Foundation insists in a letter to the Ombudsman of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mrs. Maya Manolova, and to Bisser Petkov, Minister of Labor and Social Policy.   Тhe letter takes occasion from the story of 16-year-old Peter, who cannot move on his own due to illness and attends school, despite the terrible pain caused by a wheelchair that does not meet his needs. In the current legislation, children are not differentiated from adults, which creates a serious problem in using aids. Those aids cannot be replaced before their 10-year expiration period, even though the body of a person changes due to the disease. And so the aid device not only does not help but also seriously damages.    There is a serious problem with regard to the rehabilitation needed by people with disabilities. NHIF covers only 20 days of rehabilitation, which in most cases is extremely insufficient. This and other deficiencies in the law take away the right to a decent life for people with disabilities. Inappropriate health care deprives Peter and children like him of the opportunity to learn and communicate with their peers, to grow and develop, to be happy with their family.   More than a year ago, the National Network for Children, a member of which is the “For Our Children” Foundation, issued an opinion in support of the parents of children with disabilities in their demands for a comprehensive state policy for children and young people with developmental difficulties. It appealed to the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy to start work immediately to change its approach to social assistance and social inclusion with respect to all vulnerable groups including children with disabilities.   “For Our Children” Foundation insists on a change in the Rules for the implementation of the Law for Integration of People with Disabilities to ensure adequate support and services in the community for them. We are firmly convinced that for the policy and the measures taken on deinstitutionalization to be successful, conditions must be created to allow more and more disabled children to lead a full life in a family…

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