The goal of the Mentoring Program is to provide personal and vocational mentorship to children in Bulgaria growing up without adequate parental care. With your support, we can reach more of the 100,000+ children in need of such guidance. We will do this by growing and training our network of mentors, who provide this vulnerable group with long-term mentorship to help them escape poverty. Step for Bulgaria has been dedicated to helping youths deprived of parental care since 2007.
At least 100,000 children in Bulgaria live without adequate parental care. Over 8,200 have grown up in old-fashioned foster care homes in the past ten years. Outside the institutions, there are over 100,000 euro-orphans, whose parents have emigrated looking for better-paying jobs (Bulgaria is one of EU's poorest nations). Due to neglect, many of these children lack basic skills needed for leading an independent life and give in to poverty. SfB's volunteers mentor them how to overcome challenges.
The mentorship program helps youths raised without parental support build a relationship of trust with a responsible adult and receive much needed guidance. Through consistent exposure, these young people learn from contact with appropriately trained volunteers that they can grow their potential and rise from their circumstances. Long-term dedication is key - volunteers commit to working with their mentees for at least a year.
Mentoring is especially important for young people whose environment provides few positive role models and opportunities. This effective method prevents youths from giving in to poverty by providing them with guidance and educating them about available resources. Those who successfully enter a university or find a job in turn become role models for their peers in similar circumstances. Some of them recognize they can pass on the skills they have acquired and become volunteers themselves.
Step for Bulgaria website
The plight of Europe's 'euro orphans' (DW article)
UNICEF country statistics: Bulgaria
UN Human Development Update 2018: Bulgaria