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The Bulgarian Abandoned Children Trust

Thousands of Bulgarian children are growing up without the loving protection of a family. Many children are abandoned due to disability, family breakdown and poverty. Less than 2% of children living in institutional care are orphans. The conditions and quality of care in most institutions are inadequate and many children suffer neglect. Institutional care can lead to development delays, stunted growth as well as emotional and behavioural problems.

A documentary film produced in 2007 by the BBC called  ”Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children” caused an international outcry because the images of neglect were so shocking to witness in a country that had just become a member of the European Union. Viewers were overwhelmed with emotion and anger when they saw Bulgarian children brutalised and dying before their eyes when in State care, having been abandoned by their parents because of some form of disability. After the transmission of the film, MEP’s and Ministers across Europe visited Bulgaria to demand changes, to ask to see conditions in other institutes and to donate money to instigate the process of change and de-institutionalisation. Eighteen months after filming ”Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children” – Director Kate Blewett returned to Bulgaria – to film with a handful of the children featured in the original documentary – to see where they are today and how their lives have changed since the outcry. The documentary demonstrates how even apparently hopelessly withdrawn and “damaged” children can be reached, helped and given a meaningful life and future with the right care.

There are nearly 3,000 babies and young children living in institutional care in Bulgaria. Over 30% of the children are disabled. Many have been abandoned at birth. Once abandoned, their family rarely visit or reclaim them. For many children, their entire childhood will be spent in institutional care. The institutions are bleak, unhomely places and staff at the institutions are often responsible for more than 20 children at a time. Their duties include feeding, washing and dressing the children as well as carrying out other cleaning tasks so there is little time for individual attention or interaction. As a result children often spend their days lying in cribs or propped up on chairs with little communication or activities. This environment is very damaging to a child – they suffer emotional damage as well as physical and social delays in their development.

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The Bulgarian Abandoned Children Trust (TBACT) is charity dedicated to helping disabled and disadvantaged children in Bulgaria.

TBACT campaigns for an end to the use of institutional care for children in Bulgaria by raising awareness of the detrimental effects this type of care have on a child.  It funds projects that prevent abandonment, permanently close residential institutions for children and resettle children into family homes. It supports children who have suffered the damaging effects of institutional care and it helps the families of disabled children who are struggling to cope.

TBACT is running 2 projects:

1.  The Baba Programme matches two young children living in institutional care with a mature woman who becomes a surrogate Granny to them.

2.  Lobbying for the detrimental effects of institutionalisation to be recognised and for a national programme of closures to be implemented. TBACT has already funded specific closures projects and we will continue to support progress in this area.

People need to be made aware of what is happening. You can make donations through the TBACT page here or donate securely to the TBACT via my page

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