With the help of Orlin and Manal, ZOV provided 170 children with Christmas Christmas Presents and a Party.  We made sure each child got an individual present, a visit from Father Christmas and a party. It was a wonderful event with many of the student mentors and staff turning up to share in the celebrations.

ZOV received an award from the Child Protection Agency for ensuring a happy childhood.

Desislava Popova, has been working with ZOV for 8 years.  She has completed a PhD study that shows, through ZOVs work,  a measurable increase in the communication skills of severely disabled children, deprived of parental care.

Filming a documentary:  As part of a documentary for ITV this year, four young people were interviewed about how ZOV had helped improve their lives.  See what they said below.

Thank you to everyone that attended and helped organise the Wine Tasting Fundraising Event at the Bulgarian Cultural Institute in November.

In September ZOV has presented with an award for “Best practice in supporting Young People” at an International Conference for Young people organised by the European Union.

ZOV arranged for 80 children to go on a summer holiday this year.  Thanks to Friends of Bulgaria the majority of children went to the lovely Baba Stana near Troyan where  they did lots of walking in nature, learning to cook, making art and craft sessions, theatre and visited local places of interest.

ZOV Training: In  May ZOV undertook training in the techniques and methods of working with children with behavioural issues using group work. A hand book was prepared by child care professionals we work with on the games and techniques that can be used to promote good behaviour, education and wellbeing. The second part of the training focused on working with children with disabilities. Over 40 people attended the training including staff from the centres we work with local child care professionals and students and mentors. “ZOV always makes very professional trainings and always looks after not only children but also the staff. They follow the needs of the child care system in Bulgaria” Violeta, teacher

Individual Support: 80 student mentors are now providing 98 children with weekly individual educational support. There have been improvements in Bulgarian language, geography and maths, with nine children getting better marks at school and one child from Vratsa winning a maths competition.. As a result of our work experience initiative two children from Vratsa and four from Veliko Turnovo have been offered further employment. “I passed my exams with better marks this year. I believe that I can do it, thanks to my mentor “ Ivan from Vratsa, 14

Thanks to the Sports club sessions we provide the children participated in four sports events during May and June, winning a staggering 24 medals in four competitions: They even won a golden cup for football in the National Sports Competition in Sofia, as well as numerous medals from sports tournaments in Targovishte and Ksilifor.

Adventureland Europe: Jan and Eva are walking 7,200km from Bulgaria to Spain to raise money for regional charity projects. They have kindly chosen to support ZOV, and in May came to see our work in action. They were very impressed with what we are achieving, and are helping us to raise money for our Special Children’s Club, working with children with disabilities. They also raised money to equip the Crisis Centre for Girls with blinds in their rooms to provide them with privacy and shade in the hot summer months. “When you see the children smile, and the see the warmth from the ZOV staff and volunteers you begin to understand what life is about” Eva. For more information see the following website is www.adventureland-europe.com.

Sports Tournament: ZOV organised a large football tournament for young people who have left care and those still in care – all of them supported by ZOV in the past or today. Many of the children who took part are now at university or in full time employment. It was a great opportunity for everyone to get together and see each other again, as well as providing inspiring role models for the children still in care. It also made the local paper. “I am so happy to see our first tournament. it was a great event and all the children were so happy!” Mr Slavchev, ZOV’s Sports teacher.

Easter Trips:  Every Easter ZOV organises a trip away for the children to learn about Bulgarian history and culture.  This year we took 35 children to visit Shipka, the location of a historic battle for the liberation of Bulgaria, and a rose museum in Kazanlak to learn about the famous Bulgarian rose industry.  ZOV also arranged for a further 45 children to visit Shumen and a number of Thracian tombs. “The Trip was amazing, I enjoyed it a lot. I am so happy, thank you!” (Toshko, 16)

New Sports Room:  With the help of Dimi and Todor Velikov, ZOV has created an indoor sports room so the children can do sports activities all year round.  The new room has a table tennis table and sports equipment, and the children are able to use the room supervised whenever they want.   ZOV has also organised martial arts and yoga classes.

  • We are using the PECs (Picture Exchange communication) system in a centre for severely disabled children in Veliko Turnovo.  Children are learning new words to express their emotions, and have improved communication skills.  Alex has started to show the other children how to do gestures and many of the children have begun to communicate much better. “Look I learned the new things very quickly” (Alex 17)