Friends of Bulgaria contributes to the work of OXAB and ZOV, which have complimentary roles delivering programmes of extra-curricular activities and individual support to many of the childrens’ centres in the Veliko Turnovo area.
Friends of Bulgaria has funded OXAB’s volunteer-run projects for children in care since OXAB started aid to the Balkans in 1993; Friends of Bulgaria now supports these projects organised in recent years by OXAB BG funded and run by volunteers fielded by OXAB.
Since 2006 Friends of Bulgaria funds the similar ‘Childrens’ Clubs’ and Summer Camps organised by ZOV.
The Children’s Club consists of a programme of year-round activities extra-curricular, recreational and sporting activities delivered to children in institutional care:
Working originally with 30 children in 2006, the activities of the Childrens’ Club now benefit 135 children, run by a core team of seven led by Katerina Zlatkova, PhD in social work, Veliko Turnovo University, in collaboration with volunteers.
The Children’s Club started providing activities for the children at the Balvan orphanage and has expanded the programme since the Balvan home was closed in 2015 to continue delivering the activities to children from the Balvan orphanage re-located to smaller-scale residential Family Centres (CNST) and day Care Centres in Veliko Turnovo, several of which constitute the Penyo and Maria Velkovi Home (approx 40).
Since 2010 the Children's Club programme has been tailored for disabled children with Special Needs (approx 56) at the day and residential units of the institution in Gorna Oryastiva, adapting activities in cooking, speech, music and art to develop motor skills and facilitate expression and communication.
In addition, since 2015 Friends of Bulgaria funding enabled ZOV to deliver Childrens’ Club activities in facilitating expression through music and dance and in educational support to the Crisis Centre in Veliko Turnovo for girls at risk (approx 14)
Impact:The experience of Childrens’ Club activities improves participants:
Mentoring and Outreach Projects
Since 2008, Outreach programmes have focussed on providing educational support for groups of children in care, with attention to individual needs.
The Mentoring project addresses adolescents, pairing individuals with student volunteers to offer support with preparing for academic and professional qualifications and the prospect of employment as well as the opportunity to foster personal friendships outside care.
Both Outreach and Mentoring programmes now cater for 80 children and adolescents in care and engage them with student volunteers from the department of Social Sciences at Veliko Turnovo University.
For more information follow the links below:
OXAB - Long Term Projects
ZOV - Outreach and Mentoring Project
ZOV - University Support Project
Group expeditions to locations outside the urban location of Care homes and Centres in the mountains or at coastal sites offering children and adolescents in care new experiences of:
Impact assessed from Supervisor's reports and Participants' response: OXAB 2015 Ksilifor Summer Camp
‘Ksilifor is a place near Veliko Tarnovo where people go to be near to the nature, for picnics and sports. Overnight trip means that children (12-18) and mentors can participate in activities together that they usually can’t do, like horse riding, climbing, playing football, volleyball or other sports in a nice, quiet place with a lot of fresh air. Kids can spend the night away from the home, be with their mentors and have fun in the nature.
Team work and socializing are two of many important things that we learn only in big groups and the project tries to give opportunity to everyone to educate how to use them. We encourage try using new social skills and prepare for future. The trip tests friendships and gives chance to make new ones.’
ZOV report Summer Camp 2015
Group from the Maya Centre, Veliko Turnovo at traditional village in the foothills of the Balkan Mountains near Troyan:
They loved it and spent a lot of time outside enjoying the nature and beauty of the area whilst also learning about Bulgarian traditions and history.
They took part in different activities such as playing football and other ball games and even cooked all the food themselves.
They spent time at the nearby river, fishing and playing in the streams as well as walking in the mountains.
They also walked to a very popular Nature Museum not far from Baba Stana in Cherni Osam. They had such a lovely time and they shared this was the best trip they have ever had and would like to come back again.
"Baba Stana was amazing, and so great wow" - 17 year old Violeta
ZOV Summer Camp 2016
From volunteer Emily Kirov
.....Offer time and place for 'children to reflect on their lives, as seen in the letters they wrote "What it means to be a Bulgarian", where one girl wrote about her dreams for her future