The case with the Mogilino home has a long history. Bulgarian NGOs, notably the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee voiced their concerns over conditions in Mogilino and similar homes in 2002 and again in 2006 in a report preceding the BBC documentary. As far back as 1994, Friends of Bulgaria raised over £2,000 for Mogilino through public collections and a concert at St Dunstan’s Church in London, and again in 2004 with another concert at the Bulgarian Embassy. Here are the main events that led to the current public reaction in the UK and in Bulgaria:
- October 2002 – Bulgarian Helsinki Committee and Amnesty International organize an international campaign to improve conditions for people with mental disabilities. The case of Mogilino is included in the report presented in Bulgaria.
- 2003, 2004, 2005 – The Ministry of Labor and Social Policies manages resources by PHARE for social integration and improvement of life standard of people with mental disabilities. Theses projects however establish services without evaluation of the needs of the local people and also not taking into account special needs of children such as those in Mogilino
- April 2006 – Slavka Kukova from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee organises two reports for Sky News for the children institutions in Gorna Koznitza, Mogilino, Gorski Senovetz and others. There is no significant response in Bulgaria. The reports can be seen here:
- July 2006 – Bulgarian Helsinki Committee receives a letter from Kate Blewett saying that she is interested in the case of children with mental disabilities in Bulgaria. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee sends her information about all social care homes and Bulgarian Helsinki Committee’s evaluation on their condition.
- October 2006 – The Bulgarian Helsinki Committee publishes a 107-page assessment report “On the Conditions and Perspectives of the Institutions for Children in Bulgaria and the Progress Made in Implementing the Governmental Obligations Under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”
- December 2006 – the principal of the social care house in Mogilino is informed about the upcoming film, its purpose, Kate Blewett etc.
- January – June 2007 – the shooting of the documentary
- 13 September 2007 – the film Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children is shown on BBC4. You can see the film if you click here.
- 17 September 2007 – meeting with the Bulgarian Red Cross. BHC informs the NGO organisations of the problem and invites them to evaluate together the children’s needs, what their abilities are, what is Rousse’s capacity for helping these children. Bulgarian Helsinki Committee send the 2006 report to Miglena Kouneva, the Bulgarian EU Commissioner.
- September 2007 – The Bulgarian Mothers’ Movement is getting closely involved. They organise a protest in front of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy and start a blog dedicated to the case of Mogilino: http://mogilino.wordpress.com/
- 3 October 2007 – Three representatives of Open Society Institute – Budapest, interested in investing in good practices come to Rousse.
- The Day Centre of Rousse’s Association for People With Mental Disabilities, Day Centre Caritas and “Friendly Help” Foundation’s Safe Home have agreed to take some of the children from Mogilino.
- 11 October 2007 – “For our Children” foundation wants to help.
- 15 October 2007 –UNICEF, the Bulgarian Association for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (BAPID) and the Bulgarian Agency for Social Aid meet to discuss Mogilino and similar care homes
- 19 October 2007 – The efforts in Bulgaria and the many meetings between NGOs, The National Agency for Social Aid, The Ministry for Social Policies, concluded with concrete ideas for cooperation between NGOs and authorities. “For our Children” foundation has worked out a plan for evaluating the children’s’ needs and potential. The project will be financed by UNICEF. The Institute for Social Action and Practices has agreed to provide qualified social workers.
- 22 October 2007 – experts from Newcastle arrive in Mogilino to train the local social workers.
- 26 October 2007 – NGOs engaged with Mogilino prepare a final proposal to the Agency for Social Aid.
- 2 November 2007 – The Agency accepts the proposal. UNICEF agrees to finance 50% of it.
- 5 November 2007 – three ministers visit the home in Mogilino.
- 6 November 2007 – The film is shown in the Center for Culture and Debate the Red House in Sofia.
- 18 November 2007 – BBC2 screens the film Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children.
For the latest development of the Mogilino case you can contact Slavka Kukova from the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more background information please read the “Assessment Report. On the Conditions and Perspectives of the Institutions for Children in Bulgaria and of the progress made in implementing the governmental obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child”. The report’s conclusions could be seen here, and the full report can be downloaded from our Resources section.