Do you know that over 3 500 children still live behind the walls of the institutions in Bulgaria? The fall of the Berlin wall 25 years ago turned into a symbol of the end of totalitarian times when the institutions for children were established at this scale. Marking this anniversary Lumos is holding an event on the 7th of November 2014 at 11 a.m. in the Hall for temporary exhibitions at the Museum of Sofia History to show the scale of the problem as well as to generate political will to keep the topic of closing institutions as a priority in the agenda of the next government. The event will be attended by politicians, state institutions, embassies, NGO’s, children and parents. It is being organized with the support of the Sofia Municipality and is part of the initiative “25 years free Bulgaria” under the patronage of the Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev.
“I have lived in such a home. Children there have no contacts with other people, don’t go to school, they have no contact with their parents. Every child needs a parent and his own home and contacts with various people and friends. Homes for children are very dark and grim and they must be shut down. That’s what we think” Mihaela - young adult with learning difficulty, self-advocate.
3 500 children still live behind the walls of 103 institutions in Bulgaria despite the efforts of several governments and many NGOs and the achievements so far. Scientific research shows that raising children in institutional environment is harmful for their emotional and physical development and significantly reduces their chances to fully develop their potential.
„At the event we plan to have an installation that visualized the scope of the problem as well as an interactive part, where the participants will show their commitment to the cause. We hope to bring together the people that can seriously impact this issue with the children and parents we so often talk about but rarely see because only together we can put institutions in the history books“ Trendafil Meretev, Lumos Bulgaria, Country Director.
Lumos is organizing events on this topic in Dobrich and Dolni Chiflik, Varna region as well. The event in Dobrich will include release balloons as many as the number of children currently living in institutions in Dobrich region. In Dolni Chiflic the event will look into the inclusive education in the local school.
For further information, please contact Nela Vamporova, PR and Communications, Lumos Bulgaria, Nela.Vamporova@lumos.org.uk, 0888 431251; 02 851 16 84