The National Network for Children (NNC) presented the annual ‘Golden Apple’ awards for contributions to the life and welfare of Bulgarian children. The ceremony was held on June 9, 2014, at the Puppet Theatre in Sofia. Individuals and organisations who received a diploma and a chocolate statuette were nominated by organisations that are members of the Network.
The NNC awarded this year’s Special ‘Golden Apple’ Award to EU Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva. The motive for this was linked to the special care and compassion that she has shown from the beginning of her mandate towards the problems and the situation of children in Bulgaria. Despite her busy international job, Commissioner Georgieva has maintained regular contact with Bulgarian children and their families, supporting various campaigns involved with the children and their education. Examples of this are UNICEF’s campaign against violence towards children, the marking of Affected by Autism day, her support for disadvantaged children and for refugee children’s access to education in Bulgaria.
The ‘Special Contribution’ award went to Dr. R. Kraleva for her many years of work to improve the lives of children with disabilities. She was one of the first activists to help dozens of children and young people grow up happy and to raise awareness of the problem of the social exclusion of children with developmental problems.
The Children’s Hero ‘Golden Apple’ was awarded to the team at high school number 40 ‘Louis Pasteur’ in Sofia, which was able to renovate the building and double the number of classes of first graders. School doors are open to all children, regardless of their ethnicity and whether they have special educational needs.
The ‘Policy at the National Level’ prize was awarded to MEP Maria Gabriel, nominated for her efforts to enhance the activity and knowledge of European children and young people and for her work on issues of maternal and child health.
The statuette for his contribution in the category ‘Policy at the Local Level’ was received by Vladimir Moskov, Mayor of Gotse Delchev municipality, for his active support of schools and kindergartens, vulnerable groups and initiatives aimed at children.
Luba Yordanova was awarded ‘Journalist of the Year’. With her articles ‘Fund for Delayed Treatment’, ‘Get Thinking’, ‘Deep in the Drawer’ [sic.] and ‘Included, but not Locked up’, she has reflected on and drawn public attention to key issues affecting the lives of Bulgarian children and families.
The robust and consistent efforts of Kozloduy Municipality, together with all the institutions and organisations concerned with the safeguarding of children’s welfare, to improve the lives of children were highly appreciated by the jury. A team of experts there was able to significantly reduce the number of dropouts from 26 for the 2011-2012 school year to 11 for 2012-2013.
Paisii Hilendarsky school, from the city of Zlatitsa, won a chocolate statuette for their work teaching citizenship to children. Children who undergo this course build good relationships and acquire skills for self-expression, protecting their own interests, gaining confidence and preparing for their role as active adult citizens.
The dedicated work of the Centre for Mental Health, Ruse, to provide an integrated service for extended free psycho-therapeutic care for children and young people with mental problems, as well as developmental and psychological support for parents, was awarded by the jury in the ‘Hospital’ category.
The public prize was received by Darina Ivanova, whose life has been dedicated to children and young people in Varna. What has united all her efforts during her long career has been helping young people to pursue their ideas and encouraging them to be active citizens.
During the event, attendees were able to see performances by children from the the LIPA 4:19 Academy of Performing Arts and young talent Peter Terziev.
Translator: Morgan James, volunteer