I travel by car to Kazanlak and fields of wheat, sunflowers and roses pass by me quickly. Beautiful landscapes against the backdrop of a distant mountain range. A pleasant feeling presses in me when I catch the aromas floating in the air and from the upcoming meeting. I like to share enthusiasm and work with people who care about children. The employees of the Kazanlak CPD are the type of people who, once they see a problem for a child, will look for and find a solution and will not save time and energy. We walk together to the end of the city, the houses seem to shrink, the yards seem to be ashamed of strangers, and the street dogs want to cling to us. The purpose of our visit is Tanya, who is 3 years old – naughty, playful and childishly curious. I look into children’s eyes and the memories of a year and a half ago come to life.

At birth, Tanya became infected and became a carrier of a dangerous disease. Her mother Boryana lives with her two children alone and without any support. They have no funds for medical research, treatment, travel and even save on food.

The team of Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria through the model of ACTIVE family support provided an opportunity to start research and treatment. After long therapy, Tanya and Boryana are now healthy and the children go to school and kindergarten, and the mother is asked to clean yards and houses. Life somehow goes on without painful upheavals for the children and with almost constant family income. This family no longer needed support and we had left. Why are we here again and why did they call us from the CPD?

Unfortunately, COVID-19 brought the family back to misery and poverty. The social distance left Boyana without a job, without means of subsistence, and the children suffer the most. The feeling of helplessness is seen in the faces, smiles and support-seeking looks. We work with families in crisis and we know how important it is to intervene in time and then leave carefully. The pandemic put us to new tests and that is why we are working on the Iris program, the Support Now project.

Tanya’s family is one of the eight we support in Stara Zagora district.

When visiting the small apartment, it became clear that they needed a stove and wood the most so that they could cook and heat in the fall and winter. We bought them the following month. We also support the family with food, and at that time Boryana finds a temporary job and tries to save money to earn until the spring.

I am leaving Kazanlak, the city of roses and the famous rose oil, but my thoughts are again on those almost invisible people who are anxiously enduring the blows of the COVID-19 epidemic. One family and two children have been helped in a difficult time under the Iris program, and we are happy because Support Now is a successful formula for crisis intervention.

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