Aug 17, 2016

Gaining new summer experience outdoors

At the Zoo
At the Zoo

This summer our children had wonderful moments and experience outdoors. All of them participated in different activities and events, organised by their tutors.

They had the chance to visit a Zoo in the town of Stara Zagora. This particular Zoo is a home of more than 450 animals of 80 species - mammals, birds and amphibia. Our children and young adults had the opportunity to see animals from all continents, except the Antarctic. It was a great experience for them to meetand to learn about a number of exotic wild animals they had seen only on pictures.

The adventures continued when a trip was organised in the beautiful place “Panitsite”. It is located just 6 km north of the town of Kalofer, at the foot of the Stara Planina Mountain, in the valley of the Tundja River, where our children stayed for a whole week.

The children felt extremely happy and excited when they went out into the nature, having a really great time and gaining new unique experiences outside.

Lots of picnics under the stars and around the camp fire were organised by their tutors. It was the first time that the boys and girls  learned how to light up a fire and how to make a barbeque. The children enjoyed a lot of sport activities and showed their talents by performing plays and singing songs in the “Night of the Talents”. They also had a great time in the pool, playing water games, relaxing and enjoying the summer mood.

The tutors also organised some cultural activities: the children visited a monastery and various monuments in Kalofer - the birthplace of the Bulgarian poet and revolutionary Hristo Botev; Exarch Joseph, Dimitar Panichkov, Nikola Ivanov etc.

It was a wonderful summer time so far as the children collected great new memories and gained new knowledge and skills. They felt really confident outside and they are willing to learn and develop continuously.

The beautiful place "Panitsite"
The beautiful place "Panitsite"
A great time in the pool
A great time in the pool
May 19, 2016

A memory for life

First moments together
First moments together

At the end of April, we welcomed our guests from the International School in Zug and Luzern, Switzerland at the family type house in Kazanlak. Students from the school and we from the Cedar Foundation’s team volunteered in the houses by doing a range of activities. This was a new experience for me as well, as a new member of the Foundation’s team. I have never thought that cleaning, planting vegetables, digging and painting stare cases could be fun. For the short time we spent there we all learned some new useful skills which could definitely be used one day. Along with the household chores we had our fun and memorable moments doing some creative work such as painting on walls, windows and tyres, playing games, and designing some special learning boards for the kids.

As part of the program we demonstrated some Bulgarian customs to our guests; they participated in a Bulgarian folk dances’ lesson and they also cooked some traditional Bulgarian pastry called banitsa and to be honest they made it really well as a first attempt. Taking part in the everyday life of the children left a significant footprint in my life and the life of the students, I believe. It could change your perception of life or at least changed mine. Children’ first meeting with us, the strangers form outside, was touchy. They could not express their feelings verbally, however, it was not hard to read their body language, vividly expressing positive emotions. They needed few minutes to come to know us and after breaking the ice it was hard to leave the house – free hugs became the new “Hello” and “Goodbye”; we also received some meanwhile. Seeing all these smiley faces and feeling all the enjoyment coming from the residents of the houses, I could say that these three days were among the most exciting experiences that have happened to the children. And to us!

The last day came. We all became emotional. We helped as we could and it was time to leave. For now… Before this we had our pizza party with everyone, we sang, we danced and of course, we ate some pizza. I assume that we left Kazanlak even more motivated to further help secure a better life for these children and young adults in the house.

Playing with the kids
Playing with the kids
Let's take a selfie
Let's take a selfie
Having some fun with these old tyres
Having some fun with these old tyres
Starting a new friendship
Starting a new friendship
Feb 23, 2016

Life is better when you're part of it

Gloria at her arrival at the house
Gloria at her arrival at the house

What Cedar’s model is best known for, is the individual care to children. As you know, our children and young adults arrived in the small family-type house a year ago and for this period we did our best to get to know them well, to find out about their needs, to make them feel comfortable and at home.

I’d like to share the story of Gloria and Sashko who now enjoy much better life after receiving tailor made wheelchairs.

Gloria is 19. When she arrived in the house her body was so spastic that she couldn’t move her limps at all. Gloria wasn’t interested in anything. Nothing could get her attention. It took her months to start noticing her peers and become interested in what they do. Thanks to our consistent care she started smiling.

Sashko is 22. Before coming to our house, he had no access to a proper treatment. His ability to move was severely restricted. But Sashko found a reason to be happy and improve his health in our house. He met his sister here. After being separated for a long time they now live together and enjoy it. Thanks to that Sashko is much happier and more open. More often he initiates contacts with his peers, smiles and even shows preferences to some carers in the house.   

Both Gloria and Sashko have not received any rehabilitation for years, since their carers were afraid of breaking their limbs. Last November we invited a physiotherapist from the UK who visited Kazanlak to help us appoint the best therapy for the children. She made a rehabilitation plan for them and recommended usage of specialized wheelchairs that have additional supports to keep their bodies in a proper position according to the purpose of treatment.

They both meet their therapist twice a week now. Gloria’s legs and arms are more extended and she started becoming interested in the life in the house. She looks for the attention of the carers and her friends and loughs out loud. Same goes for Sashko, who likes spending time with the rest of the children, often sits at the coach watching outside and shows interest to toys.

Life became even better when Gloria and Sashko received the specialized wheelchairs that prevent them from taking curve postures, give them the possibility to stand straight and see around, as well as seat at the table together with the rest of the children.

We would like to thank all our partners who helped us provide the wheelchairs and made Gloria and Sashko feel real members of our small family.

And if you like our story and consider our work important, please donate now. Your contribution will enable us achieve more.

Sashko
Sashko
Gloria smiling
Gloria smiling
Sashko and his sister at the birthday of a friend
Sashko and his sister at the birthday of a friend

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