Integrating the children and young people we support into Bulgarian society is very high on ZOV’s agenda. We believe that the best way to achieve this is through developing their life skills and providing children access to the wider community. This is achieved in many ways:

  • Delivering sessions on budgeting, domestic skills, tending to gardens and growing vegetables, cooking skills > these ‘Life Skills’ sessions have increased the children’s self confidence, enabling them to aim higher in terms of their future and place in society.
  • Mentoring from student volunteers > opening their eyes to new possibilities and increasing their exposure to the ‘outside world’ – particularly to local communities.
  • Integration in local society > Preparing for selling handicrafts at local bazaars and arts and crafts fairs; participating (and winning medals!) in local folklore concerts and sports competitions. ‘Penyo and Maria Velkovi’ Home has the only professional folklore group from an orphanage in Bulgaria.
  • Integrating children with disabilities > music and art therapy; speech and language therapy.
  • Participation in Commifest (festival run by Communitas) in Sofia showcasing their talents to national audience

“I am so happy with my mentor, she is great and I want to be as good person as she is!” 17-year old Mary

“I feel we have achieved a lot in our mentoring pair and I am so proud that I can be a role model for a child!” Mentor Mihaela

Tseto had taken part in the Outreach life skills club as well as paid work experience and the Mentoring project. He is still at school but he worked very hard this summer as a hairdresser. His employer liked him so much, that they offered him a job for the rest of the summer and then was offered a full time job when he left the home

“Thank you, one of my dreams came true – I have always wanted to be a hairdresser and I feel so grown up!”Tseto