After two years of active work, with the support of the Municipality of Plovdiv and a number of donors, For Our Children Foundation opened the first Complex for Early Childhood Development in the region. The official opening took place on June 29th in the presence of HE Rob Dixon, Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Bulgaria, the Mayor of the City Mr. Zdravko Dimitrov, the District Governor Mr. Yordan Ivanov, the UNICEF Representative for Bulgaria Mrs. Christina de Brown, the Deputy Ministers Mrs. Maria Gaidarova and Mr. Ivan Krastev, the deputy mayors Mr. Georgi Tityukov and Mr. Plamen Panov, representatives of the business and non-governmental sector, many like-minded people.
The event began with a tour of the Complex, which is placed in the building of the first orphanage in Bulgaria “Rada Kirkovich” and includes a Community Support Center for children at an early age and their families, Museum Exposition “The Other Childhood”, developed in partnership with The Foundling Museum, London and an Academy for Social Learning and Development. The guests also had the opportunity to hear 3 panel discussions dedicated on the development of social work, the history and future of child care and the role of socially responsible business in supporting early childhood.
“We will continue to actively develop social policy and practice throughout the Plovdiv region and we strongly hope that we will be together in saving children from violence, abandonment, denial and isolation. I want to thank the Municipality of Plovdiv on behalf of the whole team for the trust in us. I’m grateful for all 40 corporate and individual donors who believed in our mission to turn Plovdiv into a city of opportunities for all children and invested money, time and energy in the creation of the Early Childhood Development Complex. The overall investment in the creation of the Complex for Early Childhood Development amounts to BGN 613,351 – funds provided in the form of financial and material donations”, said from the stage the executive director of the foundation Ivanka Shalapatova Phd.
During the event, a Memorandum of Cooperation was signed between For Our Children Foundation and the Municipality of Plovdiv, with which the two parties aim to synchronize their actions to achieve an integrated approach to the provision of health, education and social services, as well as to unite their efforts to raise public awareness and sensitivity about early childhood development.
“We are extremely proud that Plovdiv is becoming a center for integrated social services, supporting children and families at risk. Investments in early childhood development are one of the most valuable. We realize how important it is for the social and health systems to work hand in hand to provide solutions to families in difficulty. There are at least 10 state, municipal and private maternity homes in the Municipality of Plovdiv, in which women from all over the south-central region of Bulgaria give birth. It is important to present not only quality health services, but also to be synchronized with social ones. As the mayor of Plovdiv, I and the team I work with will always stand behind such projects, we will work together for each child.”, said during the event Mr. Zdravko Dimitrov, Mayor of Plovdiv.
During the event, a Memorandum for the development of the exhibition “The Other Childhood” was signed between the For Our Children Foundation, the Municipality of Plovdiv and The Foundling Museum. In partnership with museum experts from London, the foundation’s team and the municipality will work together to raise public awareness and sensitivity to the history of institutional care and the rights of people who have gone through social institutions.
In the Academy for Social Learning and Development, part of the Complex, trainings for specialists and parents are planned, as well as exchange of experience with Bulgarian and world leaders in the field of early childhood development.
Up until now, over 290 children and families have received the support of specialists in the Complex – social workers, psychologists, speech therapists, rehabilitators. By the end of the year, their number may exceed 1,000. The work of the organization in Plovdiv district will expand to 7 new municipalities, so that children and families from even the most remote areas will have access to mobile services and the opportunity for the foundation’s specialists to visit them. in their homes.
Photo source: BTA