On 28.11.2023 we had a meeting with Iva Radeva, the Regional Governor of Stara Zagora. Our team was led by Pete Garratt, Global Programs Director of Hope and homes for children – UK, Georgi Simeonov, Executive director of Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria, Boryana Klimentova, Program director, Kremena Stoyanova, National expert for children policies, Veneta Hadzhiyska Local Coordinator and Isabelle Wilson, Fundraising Officer for Bulgaria.
In Stara Zagora is one of the four “Home for medical and social care for children” that is still functioning. Compliance with the “Convention on the Rights of the Child” – every child should live in a family environment is a responsible task for our society and for institutions in the process of deinstitutionalisation. District governors are involved in the implementation of national policies and it is up to them to ensure that children’s rights are respected.
“Our mission is to work for a world where no child suffers the harms of institutional care,” Pete Garratt said at the start of the meeting.
“I hope that a year from now, when you come again, there will be more rescued children who have found their new homes,” Mrs Radeva said.
For the past 8 years, Hope and homes for children – Bulgaria has worked in partnership with the District Administration through the District DI Coordination Mechanism and has helped 100 children who might otherwise have been abandoned by their families. Actions are also being taken to promote foster care so that children with disabilities can be brought out.
“The District DI Coordination Mechanism in Stara Zagora is an example of excellent interaction between state institutions and the NGO sector. When there is cooperation, things happen, and here a lot has been done for the transition of children from homes and for the prevention of abandonment,” said Georgi Simeonov.
The team visited several families with whom it is working on the ground on the prevention of abandonment, the Home for medical and social care for children and the Family Type Accommodation Centre for Children with Disabilities in the neighborhood of “Kolyo Ganchevo” in Stara Zagora.
There are difficulties, but the work is aimed at raising children in a family environment and this is achievable.
“Bulgaria has made a lot of progress in terms of transitioning children from social institutions. We will continue to work in your country because we see a change in the children and the good results that are being achieved on the prevention of abandonment,” Pete Garratt concluded.