On 20.11.2018. the new member of the Board of Trustees of Hope and Homes for children -UK Alexander Matheou, Executive Director of Hope and Homes for Children Bulgaria Georgi Simeonov, Program Director Boryana Klimentova, National Consultant Elena Petkova and Programme Coordinator Valeria Draganova were in Vratsa in connection with the first visit of Alexander Matheou to Bulgaria.
Margarita Andreevska, Coordinator of “Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria” for Vratsa District, presented cases of prevention of child abandonment. Families at risk were visited, supported by our organization. Their life stories touched Alexander Matheou. From interviews with them, it became clear that immediate, adequate and strategic support is being provided in moments of crisis in families. They have said that thanks to our support, they are already overcoming their difficulties and dreaming of the future: their home, providing a caring, stable and enjoyable family environment for all their children, including those currently grown in foster families, for continuing education, finding work and achieving financial independence.
Our team met with Deputy Regional governor of Vratsa District and chairman of the District DI Coordination Mechanism Mr. Robertino Marinov. In a friendly atmosphere, satisfaction was expressed with the cooperation between the Regional Administration and Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria after the launch in 2015. Deputy Regional governor said he was fascinated by the quick and adequate action of the local coordinator in moments of family crisis and expressed the hope that a meeting of expertise, experience and power would continue successfully to resolve difficult life situations.
Alexander Matheou and our team visited the municipality of Vratsa and met with Mayor Mr. Kalin Kamenov. The attendees recalled that on 25.07.2016. a Memorandum of Understanding between the Municipal Administration of Vratsa and Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria was signed. Since then the consistent activity has made the organization part of the team that creates and implements the strategy of the Municipality of Vratsa on deinstitutionalization, while the innovative tools of the DDICM and the model of active family support are an integral part of the municipal program for child protection.
At the end of the day, a meeting was also held with the Director of Regional directorate for social assistance in Vratsa Mrs. Maria Tarnavska. Her story began with the fact that at first the model of active family support, which supports the closure of institutions and prepares the child protection system to function without institutional care, something new and different, is hardly perceived by the social workers in the CPDs. But the consistent and active work on the field, the results of which are visible and sustainable, as well as the properly targeted and valuable trainings, the frequent workshops and the promotion of specific successful cases of prevention and reintegration, have made “Hope and Homes for Children – Bulgaria” the most sought-after, most preferred and most respected partner of Child Protection Departments in the area. Although, as a result of the synchronized actions of all key players in the process of deinstitutionalization, Home for medical and social care for children in Vratsa is closed, the regional director turned to the guest from UK and to the team with the words “… we need you and will always need you.”