How We Help
All of One Heart Bulgaria's programs have been created with the primary goal of dramatically improving the lives of orphans in Bulgaria. We achieve this on many critical levels through sponsorships of individual orphanages; completion of special projects for the orphanages; providing specialized medical care; implementing life skills training programs for the teenage orphans; and training orphanage staff, to properly care for the orphans.
Our efforts have the added benefit of supporting the local economy in Bulgaria by purchasing locally produced foods and products and by employing local Bulgarian citizens to help implement our programs in Bulgaria. Our efforts are only limited by the amount of support we receive, the number of helping hands and giving hearts. Read below about our programs and find the best way for you to get involved with One Heart Bulgaria.
One Heart Bulgaria creates special on-going programs that have a tremendous impact on the orphans. These programs are designed and developed to meet the medical and emotional needs of the orphans and to provide life and social skills training to teenage orphans.
EducationalInformation Coming Soon!
In this program we hire a grandmother to nurture the children by reading to them, by helping with homework, by playing with them and in some situations by helping the very little ones to bathe, brush teeth and prepare for bed or for their day. This is an invaluable program to help the children feel loved and to help them in their social skills and emotional development.
There is wide interest in this program. We are receiving a number of calls with requests from orphanage directors to be included on our list. One Heart Bulgaria has employed 4 babas to give care to children at orphanages. This program has proven to be a great success. The monthly salaries of the babas vary from $60 to $90.
Life Skills Training Programs
One Heart Bulgaria is developing programs to help teenage orphans gain valuable life, social, and occupational skills. Learning such skills, combined with the steady attention of trained and compassionate leaders, will help implement the successful reintegration of the orphans into the Bulgarian society and decrease their chance of involvement in criminal or anti-social behavior such as prostitution, drug addiction, robbery, or joining the Mafia after they leave the orphanage. One such project, currently being developed, is the Opportunity Homes Program.
These bright and intelligent teenagers need support, guidance and opportunities in order to succeed in post-orphanage life.
Music and Dance
One of our main missions in One Heart Bulgaria is to enrich the children's lives through teachers and classes that nurture, instruct, motivate and inspire. We have employed music teachers, drama teachers, song leaders, and folk dance instructors to teach, mentor and entertain children in many of our orphanages. These adult mentors play the piano, the accordion, or the guitar while working with the children. Some teachers of drama and folk dancing have requested costumes so their groups can perform in local festivals and give public performances; we have provided costumes when funds have been available.
Our successful music programs have been praised both in Bulgarian newspapers and Bulgarian television, and now orphanage directors are pleading to have similar programs established in their facilities. These music programs, along with our Grandmother Nurturing Program, have proven to be the most effective of all our efforts to bring nurturing and cultural experiences together for the children.
In support of enriching lives through music, several well-known Utah musicians traveled to Bulgaria in March of 2009 to provide concerts for several orphanages as well as smaller music performances at many other orphanages. (See Newsletter Archives on our website www.oneheartbulgaria-bg.org.) Monthly salaries range from $40 to $130 depending on skills and hours worked. Contribute online at www.oneheartbulgaria-bg.org.
Opportunity Homes Program
The purpose of this proposed Opportunity Homes program is to provide orphans that are eighteen years old with an opportunity to develop valuable work and social skills, personal money management skills, and problem-solving skills and to build self--confidence.
Under the supervision of a government paid social worker and One Heart Bulgaria house parents, six to eight qualifying teen girls will live in a home for one year. During this time, they are expected to adhere to the rules and moral standards of the program while maintaining a job in the community, contributing to household responsibilities, and participating in group social activities and community service. Through instruction from the social worker, and with guidance from the house parents, orphans will learn the skills previously mentioned. Upon graduation from the program, each student will receive a certificate of honorable completion plus essential household items for living independently.
The long term goals of this program are to decrease the likelihood of suicide, alcoholism, prostitution, drug addiction, unemployment, homelessness, and other anti-social and/or criminal behaviors among young adult orphans. In addition, we believe nurturing the rising orphan population through this program will create a better image of orphans in Bulgaria's communities as crime rates and unwanted pregnancies decrease and their communities are strengthened.
This program needs ongoing funding.
To become involved with these programs, please contact Deborah Gardner at email@example.com.
SewingOne Heart Bulgaria's sewing programs teach important skills, instill a work ethic, and inspire a spirit of service. Young people who participate in our sewing programs have rewarding experiences sewing for themselves as well as completing service projects for others. Currently, our class at Gabrovo orphanage is using five sewing machines, notions, and fabric purchased by One Heart Bulgaria, and is taught by a skilled, enthusiastic, and creative instructor. A pattern for success! Salary: $85 per month. Contribute online at www.oneheartbulgaria-bg.org.
In this program we hire a grandmother (baba) to nurture the children by reading to them, by helping with homework, by playing with them and in some situations by helping the very little ones to bathe, brush teeth and prepare for bed or for their day. This is an invaluable program to help the children feel loved and to help them in their social skills and emotional development.
There is wide interest in this program. We are receiving a number of calls with requests from orphanage directors to be included on our list. This program has proven to be a great success. The monthly salaries of the babas vary from $60 to $90. Contribute online at www.oneheartbulgaria-bg.org.
To become involved with these life skills training programs, please contact Deborah Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assenovets Library and Literacy Program
Details for this program are forthcoming. Please feel free to donate by clicking the button below.
Bratsigovo Library and Literacy Program
Details for this program are forthcoming. Please feel free to donate by clicking the button below.
A sponsorship is a commitment from an individual, corporation, family, or community group to donate a specific monetary amount to provide an orphanage with basic needs for one year. These needs can include supplemental food, medicine, hygiene items, bedding, therapists and caregivers. The cost of a sponsorship is based on the needs of the specific orphanage. In most cases a sponsorship equals approximately $55 per child per year. The cost to support an orphanage for children with special needs is slightly higher. Sponsorship expenditures are tailored to the needs of the individual orphanage. For instance, the infant orphanages may need diapers and food, while the special needs orphanages may require therapists and medicine. The needs of each orphanage are assessed under the supervision of our field director in Bulgaria, Nikolai Gavazov, PhD. Dr. Gavazov manages orphanage sponsorship funds after consulting with the orphanage directors and the One Heart Bulgaria Board.
To participate in the Sponsorship Program, sponsors choose an orphanage and make a formal commitment to provide the necessary funding. The orphanage is contacted and the assessment and sponsorship process begins. Then a contract is developed with the orphanage and the field director oversees the expenditure of the sponsorship funds.
Sometimes a large orphanage or one with special needs may require multiple sponsorships; in which case, several individuals or groups may sponsor one orphanage.
Sponsors receive regular newsletters and feedback on the children’s health, activities, and needs. Conditions of their orphanage and expenditure of funds are also included as well as pictures of the children, orphanage staff, and the orphanage. These personal reports come through Dr. Gavazov and our Sponsorship Director, Donna Dushku. Our treasurer, Jennifer Djambov, sends donation receipts including necessary tax information to participating sponsors.
Of the approximately 150 orphanages in Bulgaria, One Heart Bulgaria currently gives aid to 23.
The following orphanages need sponsors:
Please look over the list to determine which orphanage you would like to help and then begin your sponsorship by contacting Donna Dushku (email@example.com.)
One Heart Bulgaria internships offer exciting opportunities to make a real difference in the lives of orphans. Most of our current internship opportunities involve working in orphanages for youth ages 7-18. The children in these orphanages need good role models and opportunities to develop new skills and gain self-confidence. They also need guidance in understanding what they might want to do with their future. Interns can provide these opportunities and have a lasting influence in the lives of many children and youth.
Wherever possible, interns will live in the orphanage they serve and thereby become an integral part of the orphanage during their stay. This enables the intern to participate in the regular daily activities of the orphanage: helping children get ready for school, walking with them to school, helping struggling students with homework, and engaging the children in conversation over meals. Interns will also have the opportunity to teach special after-school classes based upon the intern's abilities and interests and the various needs of the orphanages. Such classes might include English, art, music, health, computers etc. Each intern will also have the opportunity to participate in the organization of charity projects within Bulgaria itself, as we try to help the Bulgarian people to help their own orphans.
More Information and answers to common questions about the Internship Program
When the needs of the children in the orphanages exceed the scope of sponsorships, orphanages may submit proposals to our board for extra support and funding. Proposals could include such things as requests for additional medical care, medical supplies, diapers, washing machines, educational supplies, or critical renovations for the orphanage itself. Upon board approval of the proposal, donors are then sought out to fund the project. Orphanages that are not currently sponsored may also submit requests for special projects.
Funding is being sought for the following projects:
FDI members Roberta and Thyrle Stapley and Becky Johnson assess the Ana Gizdova orphanage
Orphanage Caregiver Training
One Heart Bulgaria is excited to develop a training program for workers in Bulgarian orphanages. Workers in the orphanages we visit are often tired and disillusioned after years of physically and emotionally draining labor. Most workers settle for orphanage jobs when they can't find any other kind of work. They receive little training and are required to care for large groups of children. The result is that the children receive only the most basic care and do not get the positive adult interaction they require to become healthy and successful adults.
The Training Program is designed to develop appropriate skills and attitudes in the workers, while at the same time helping them understand the importance of their work as a role model—someone who is shaping the future of Bulgaria. Training covers such topics as child development, the rights of children, positive behavior management, social skills development, and understanding the needs of children with disabilities.
Orphanages which wish to participate in the training program commit to sending each member of their staff to at least one training session a quarter and orphanage directors are invited to attend all trainings. Participating orphanages will receive a small grant at the end of the training cycle, part of which is earmarked to fund training-related initiatives: the purchase of books, educational supplies for the children, equipment, child development resources for the staff, etc.
The development cost for this program has yet to be secured. One Heart Bulgaria seeks assistance in raising the funds necessary to fully implement the program.
The orphanage workers are often the closest thing to parents that these children have. By contributing to the Training Program, you can help to provide these surrogate parents with the knowledge and skills they need to bring up a large family.
Family Dynamics International Launches Training Program in Bulgarian orphanages. (View Story)
For more information please contact Roberta Stapely at Family Dynamics International at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A sewing co-op, and various other micro-enterprises would also provide valuable employment skills for the orphans and generate revenue for the orphanages.
To become involved with these life-skills training programs, please contact: Donna Dushku at email@example.com.
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