The Happy Mondays
Trip Start Dec 07, 2009
12Trip End Dec 19, 2009
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Vidrare is an orphanage specialising in caring for those with mental and physical disabilities. Following last year's visit, Rich briefed us on what the team should expect. On our arrival we met Yevgeny, the director of Vidrare and Phillip of the US Peace Corps, who was spending some time working for Pravets municipality
The Director Yevgeny gave us some coffee and told us about the latest development in the new building that was under construction last year when The Trussell Trust visited on the Christmas box trip. The shell of the building has been built, which was funded by ‘Beautiful Bulgaria’, there was also some funding promised which has since been denied because of the recession. The house is designed to house 12 young people who will move out of the main residential home into it to become more independent. The Director gave a few names of people who were living in the orphanage who would currently really benefit from living in this house and becoming more independent.
The Director also really wanted to promote and encourage integration into society of many of the people who live in the home. Since the fall of communism in Bulgaria there has been little change in attitude towards people with disabilities and the majority of time people are placed in state care homes away from their families. There has not been a push to give people with disabilities life choices and be integrated into the local community which is what Yevgeny is trying do.
Razliv was the next orphanage we visited with more Christmas boxes. Here we were greeted by many excited children who had been looking forward to our visit. After unloading boxes from the van, we were treated to a traditional Christmas song by the younger children and then we gave out the boxes. The children were really happy to receive a Christmas box, especially one lad who was a big fan of the cartoon Ben 10. Inside his box was a hat, scarf and gloves all with the Ben 10 logo on
Gurkovo was the last orphanage of the day where we gave out even more Christmas boxes. It is an orphanage for 3-7 year olds and when we arrived we happened to meet up with our friends from Peterhead Methodist Church in Scotland who help support the orphanage. After greeting them we were just in time to join in dancing with the children in their disco. We danced around and then prepared to give out the boxes. Every child had learnt a poem or song to tell us before they got their box. One boy was new to the orphanage and was worried as he had forgotten his poem. His face was very happy when he was allowed to have a box anyway. Some of the children shouted them and others shyly recited what they had learnt. After the first two groups of children had received their boxes then we went upstairs to give out boxes to the youngest kids in the orphanage, all aged 3. Here we were delighted to hear another poem which all the children told us together and then they gathered around the boxes, eager to get one and see what they had. We were privileged to be able to stay to help open their boxes and to see the excitement as they explored their presents. It was such a blessing to see how much joy the boxes brought to the children in Razliv and Gurkovo orphanages.