One of the poorest countries in Europe, Bulgaria struggled after it became independent of the Soviet Union.
Arriving in Trjavna 1993 SOS Children's Villages had to provide emergency support at first, but have established an ongoing relief programme to help families and children in the town.
Local people affected by the failing economy
Trjavna is a small town in the centre of Bulgaria, about 250km east of Sofia. The town used to have an important textile industry but this fell into decline with the economy.
It is a major tourist destination with its beautiful and historical sites such as the Kivgireniyat Bridge and its historic clock tower in the main square.
Due to the economic situation, many young people of Bulgaria go abroad to work, sending back remittances to aid their families. In some cases they leave their children behind and do not support them as much as the children would need to live comfortably.
Those at home struggle to find work, particularly the disabled, people over the age of 50 and if they are of Roma descent.
Transition from Soviet rule
Immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, conditions were extremely difficult for much of the population of Bulgaria. When we arrived in Trjavna in 1993 SOS Children enacted emergency measures to help the community urgently, providing food, medical supplies, baby and adult winter clothing to those in most need.
As the situation got under control and establishing our SOS Children's Village, we have launched a family strengthening programme to support children at risk of losing parental care, and to encourage families to stay together. We also provide advocacy work, helping people deal with the government and other agencies to deal with specific problems faced.
Our work has continued to improve the lives of people living in the area.
What we do in Trjavna
Based in Trjavna we have outreach teams that work into the nearby towns of Gabrovo and Valiko Tarnovo, supporting people across the area. Working in collaboration with local authorities we have a family strengthening programme that tries to prevent children from being abandoned by their families.
Giving advice to parents on how to improve their incomes at home, and parenting techniques we try to ensure that families stay together. We also work with local authorities to ensure that families and children get access to the right nutrition, health and educational services.
Where children can longer live with their parents we provide a loving home in one of 12 SOS families in the SOS Children's Village. Most of the children are from the area so we ensure that they engage with their community, going to school and playing a part in community life. This may be using the local sports complex, or just hanging out with their friends.
Young people nearing adulthood can get involved in our youth programmes, and live in special flats in nearby Veliko Tarnovo while attending further education or vocational training. Our qualified counsellors give guidance as to making the right decisions as they go into adulthood.
We support vulnerable families and children in Trjavna, meaning them to have hope for a happy and healthy future. You can support them by sponsoring a child today.