SOS Children in Bulgaria
Life remains tough for many children in Bulgaria. Infant mortality is high, and more and more children are falling victim to devastating diseases such as TB and cancer. SOS Children has worked to help vulnerable children and families since 1990.
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One of the EU's poorest countries
Despite joining the EU in 2007, corruption and organised crime have held Bulgaria back. Healthcare is amongst the worst in Europe, with access particularly limited in rural parts. Living standards are low, with one in five people below the poverty line. High unemployment particularly affects young people, those over 50, and the Roma, all of whom struggle to find work.
Children in Bulgaria
Children in Bulgaria face many dangers. Poor healthcare has led to high infant mortality and increasing rates of childhood disease. Bulgaria's outdated child protection system means that care is inadequate children and families in need of support. Despite recent improvements, many children are simply removed from their families and placed institutions, especially those wtih mental or physical disabilities.
Our Work in Bulgaria
Today, two Children's Villages offer care to children who have lost their families in Dren, near the capital of Sofia, as well as in the central town of Trjavna. Beyond our permanent work, we ensure that support is there for those who need it during times of particular need. When living conditions were at their worst in 1996-97, we provided food, baby clothes and warm winter clothing for vulnerable families.
With its beautiful natural and historic sites, this small town in central in central Bulgaria is a honeypot for tourists. However, with unemployment on the rise, many people in Trjavna struggle to make a living. Increasingly tough living conditions put pressure on families, leaving some children without parental care. Those growing up in single-parent households or large families are especially vulnerable.
Today, we are helping people all over the Trjavna region, with family support programmes in place in the nearby towns of Gabrovo and Veliko Tarnovo to help families at risk of falling apart. We make sure children in these vulnerable areas have access to schools, healthcare and nutritional support. We also help families start their own businesses, providing financial support for budding entrepreneurs.
We offer long-term support to the children in our care. Flats in the town of Veliko Tarnovo provide homes for young adults as they leave our Children's Village in Trajvna. Here, we help them on their journey to independence.
The village of Dren is about thirty miles from the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The region is densely wooded, and the Children's Village is situated on a hill above the town, surrounded by forests and vegetable gardens.
In Dren, we offer various forms of support to local people. As in Trjavna, we work with families to prevent break-ups, ensuring that parents have the skills and means to care for their children. In Dren, we also work to prevent the marginalisation of other vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.
Dren was at the heart of our emergency work to help vulnerable families in the mid-1990s, at the height of Bulgaria's economic crisis. More support was extended to Trjavna as the crisis worsened, then to other parts of Bulgaria, such as Varna and Plovdiv.
SOS-Detski Selishta v Bulgaria
Paskal Todorov 8a
Tel: +359 2 8184940
Fax: +359 2 8184930