– How do you imagine painting “Happy Childhood”?
– For me it’s just one letter!
– I want to draw a heart!
– I’m going to draw a house.
– Sky, landscapes…… the universe.
– Smiles, a beating heart, friends!
These are some of the responses we received from participants in our “Christmas Gathering”. There, the youth from our advocacy program and children from the family-type placement center from +Nadejda neighborhood in Sofia gathered to spend a few hours together. They painted with textile paints on t-shirts, there was an opportunity to dance and the food was specially selected. These meetings are always exciting for everyone because everyone learns something and it is very enjoyable together. Barriers disappear and opportunities open up for each child to discover another world – learning how to communicate with the blind, learning words and expressions in the language of the deafblind, learning to respect differences in sharing the world we live in. Like every party, we had cute clowns at ours who drew with us, on faces and hands, sang along, made bubbles and talked.
What is a happy childhood?
In 2024, our youth program has set a few focuses in its activities to make a real difference in the environment we live in.
– Respecting children’s rights and integrating children with disabilities
– Children to live in a family environment
– Growing the international group of child and youth advocates.
Practical activities with children who are disabled and not in their own families will continue to be part of our Programme. In these meetings it is clearly understood that the most important thing is human interaction and if for children with disabilities it is a little more diverse to interact with peers, our volunteers learn empathy, patience, tolerance and actually see how this world needs to change for people with disabilities to be part of society.
The most important element of children’s happiness is the family and for this reason we will this year seek contacts with ministers, politicians, public figures and all those who depend on the closure of the last 4 homes for medical and social care for children and no more institutional care. There is no more humane goal than for children in Bulgaria to be in family care. Our children stand firmly behind this fundamental right and are considering initiatives in this direction.
By creating a wider community of children and youth in countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, we want to stop the practice of placing children in institutions as a “cheap and safe” alternative to the family. Politicians in all countries must work for a better future where there is no place for institutions and families have no alternative. The clearer and more united we paint our common future, the safer it will be!
Let us wish each other a peaceful year full of children’s smiles!