After 10 years of hard work focused on children from risk groups, 8 successfully implemented projects encompassing a total of 17 institutions and more than 1300 kids, our team started realizing more clearly the time-limits of the project. It is a well-acknowledged fact that in order to achieve sustainable results – especially when working for developing better human potential – enough time, patience and persistence are all things that truly matter.

What we have witnessed within our previous work was the following: We start a project… While working with the children within the projects timeframe we try to lift them above the limits of their surrounding environment and to build up on their quality of life and life perceptions. We strive to upgrade and further develop children’s knowledge and skills, both quantitatively and qualitatively. And then the end of the project comes to also put an end to all this effort and short-term good results. On one hand all that has been achieved within the project duration starts tumbling down as time goes by, on the other hand the children themselves go through a serious psychological shock.  During the project they have believed in the meaning and the benefits of the transformation they had gone trough. They have finally started to like it. And this is when it is time for us to wave “Goodbye”. We have always been afraid of that moment, the end of a project. Each time we see that children feel it as a betrayal… and if we think further, this is exactly what it is.

We constantly talk that we want to change things, that we want to achieve good results, that we want to help these children, but in fact, what we all do is just come and go…  We have always felt we could give more to our little friends. During the past years we have  employed our own strengths, energy and resources in multiple attempts to provide a better future for a number of these kids. We managed to do so for 17 of them.  One of these stories we will share with you as it represents one of the many positive evidences why the establishment of the School for Arts and Crafts for socially disadvantaged children is so needed.

We met Vania in 2005 when she was 15 years old. She had been abandoned by her Roma mother at the age of 6 and since then she had not left the institution. Her father was unknown. From the very beginning of the project in which Vania took part, she stood out from the other young people with her strong and difficult temper. But deeply inside  she had some special qualities that distinguished her from the others. She was one of the few youngsters among those 150 residents of the institution who spoke fluent Bulgarian and used a profound vocabulary. She possessed a strong feeling of justice, natural good behavior and compassion and responsibility towards smaller children and elderly people. Despite her good qualities, Vania was affected by the negative factors of her environment – she did not want to go to school, she would do nothing for days, not being interested in anything in her surrounding, she was often angry and aggressive, she would lie and her character was rather egoistic. Generally speaking – she lacked any sense in life.  We started gradually involving her in the activities we organized and we managed to refresh her mentality. We were happy to work with Vania within three consecutive projects which produced a positive effect on her. Later on, once she had graduated from secondary school our team got directly involved in her future development.

Today Vania is an intelligent and beautiful 24-years-old young lady. She has graduated from the College of Tourism and Marketing and possesses a bachelors degree on Tourist Services Management and continues her master program in International marketing. Parallel to her studies she is managing of a small company for hotel accommodation services and she is doing great. Vania reads a lot, loves going to the theatre, already speaks English and learns German, she sets up goals for herself and plans her future. This is the life she worked hard for. The BIS BARD team would like to make this happen for many other children.