OSI-Bulgaria

From state-run orphanages to impoverished Roma communities, since 2001 OSI has fostered the development of Bulgaria's most vulnerable children, assuring they were not forgotten during a time of great change in their country.

In our latest effort, OSI is proud to parter with Bulgaria-based Cedar Foundation to provide individualized care for special-needs orphans.

For many decades in Bulgaria, it has been common practice for children with disabilities to be separated from their families and isolated in large, remote, state-run institutions.  In these orphanages, the children's individual needs are neglected, and they are completely excluded from society and denied proper care and the most basic opportunities to develop.  Far from fostering the child's development, such environments only augment their disability, and strengthen the stigmatization of them as incapable of integrating and contributing to society.

Since 2005, a remarkable charity called The Cedar Foundation has actively led the trend towards deinstitutionalization in Bulgaria, addressing government, educators, and civil society to change perceptions, remove stigmas, and foster the development of disabled children.  But Cedar has also made practical contributions to this effort, creating and managing homes for special needs children in Kyustendil and Kazanlak, with OSI sponsorship providing a means of providing for the children's individual needs, as well as augmenting the standards in the homes.

Kyustendil

In 2007, Cedar Foundation initiated the closure of a state-run orphanage for disabled children, located in the remote village of Gorna Koznitsa.  In the nearby town of Kyustendil, well-served with schools, health facilities, and other resources, Cedar Foundation designed and built a modern complex of small group homes which they named "Siyanie" (Radiance) as a reflection of the children's soon-to-be discovered capabilities.  Alas, in 2010 the Gorna Koznitsa institution was closed and 24 children and youth moved to Cedar's new "Siyanie" homes.  Besides the impact on these children, the success of this closure and transition helped give much-needed momentum to Bulgaria‚Äôs emerging political will to close institutions and protect the basic human rights of children with special needs.

Social, political, and economic development in Bulgaria has not come without cost however.  Prices have risen dramatically, and while these children now enjoy a modern home in a community able to serve their needs, in other respects Cedar Foundation constantly faces challenges that threaten their ability to create a truly family-type environment for these children.  In lieu of the state's Gorna Koznitsa orphanage, the government provides monthly funding for Siyanie homes, though as with Gorna Koznitsa this funding is barely adequate for the rudiments of food/utilities.  But
In Loving Memory
Evgeni
26 August 2000 - 13 April 2020
Forever in our hearts and in our home...
more significantly, since these children have special needs, each one of them requires individualized attention and support that only a high staff/child ratio can achieve. Adequately addressing each child's special needs also requires an abundance of medical and therapeutical care, and specialized transportation.  All of this is where OSI Sponsorship plays an important role, both as a consistent source of reliable funding for the homes, and as a means to serve each child's individual needs.

Excursions

We also wish for these children to have fun times, and to create happy memories for their futures!  Towardsd this end, below are special excursions that OSI has provided for our Kyustendil children.
Osogovo Summer Camp
July/August 2023
Our annual mountain summer camp...
Kambanite
1 June 2023
Early summer day-trip to Sofia...
Panichishte & Kraimorie Camps
July/August 2019
Our annual mountain and seaside summercamps...
Rupite
26 September 2018
Season's end day-trip to southwest Bulgaria...
Osogovo Mountain, Ravda Beach
August 2018
Annual summertime beach anc mountain holidays...
Rila Monastery
29 May 2018
Visit to one of Bulgaria's most important sites...
Resilovo & Nevestino
5 September 2017
End of summer outdoor day-trip...
Mountain & Seaside Holidays
August 2017
Week-long summer vacations...
Iglika
16 June 2017
Excursion to partake of our beautiful Bulgarian spring...
Tsari Mali Grad
21 September 2016
Outdoor excursion of history and nature...
Mountain and Seaside Camps
August 2016
Summer holidays in the mountains and at the seaside...
Rila Park in Dupnitsa
19 May 2016
Day trip to beautiful Rila Park near the town of Dupnitsa...
Commentary - Reflecting on the remarkable journey and unique virtues of our Bulgaria children...

Kazanlak

Using the Kyustendil homes as a model (see above), in 2014 Cedar Foundation partnered with the municipality of Kazanlak in central Bulgaria to create similar homes for institutionalized children.  The result is two separate homes, each housing 12 severely disabled children who were life-long residents of state institutions.  The homes were opened in 2015.  OSI sponsorship and projects helped the children adjust to their new environments, and continues to help sustain them today, as at Kyustendil, and to augment the facilities of the homes.
In Loving Memory
Ali
27 August 1996 - 23 July 2020
You continue to inspire...

Slatino Orphanage & Dupnitsa

Over the course of the new millenium's first decade, OSI saw our original Bulgaria children through remarkable change and development in their country, including Bulgaria's entry into the European Union.  Our original programs in Slatino and Dupnitza helped our initial core group of children grow and saw them through this sometimes painful transition for themselves. 

OSI's initial effort in Bulgaria, beginning in 2001, was at a government orphanage for 40 children in the village of Slatino, near Dupnitza, about 65km south of capitol Sofia.  Providing daily care for these children, with them we also endured the closure of the orphanage in 2005 and the scattering of the children to various orphanages, foster homes, and distant relatives' homes.  Our mission turned to helping each of these children through their difficult transition and into their new lives.

In 2003, OSI also began sponsorship of children at Dupnitza orphanage, in addition to a unique sponsorship effort for children living in impoverished families in the desperate "mahali", -Roma communities that surround Dupnitza.  OSI liaison Jennifer Hee established a 'Day Center' where our children from the orphanages and Roma communities could come for counseling, tutoring, independent living classes, leisure, or just for a shoulder to lean on.

Our Slatino and Dupnitza children have grown up and out of the program, though we remain very proud and communicatively involved with many of them.

Excursions & Projects

Below are special excursions and projects that OSI provided for our Slatino and Dupnitsa children.
Day Center
OSI-Dupnitsa | October 2006
Providing comprehensive support for disadvantaged youth...
SofiaLand
OSI-Dupnitsa | 8 September 2006
Day-trip to SofiaLand amusement park...
Summer Camp in Greece
OSI-Dupnitsa | 24-29 August 2004
A week at the Greek seaside at Camp Alexandra...
Mount Vitosha
OSI-Slatino | 21 August 2004
Excursion to Mount Vitosha near Sofia...
Mount Vitosha
OSI-Dupnitsa | 25 July 2004
Excursion to Mount Vitosha near Sofia...
SofiaLand
OSI-Slatino | 22 July 2004
Daytrip to SofiaLand amusement park...
Christmas in the Mountains
OSI-Dupnitsa | December 2003
Christmas festivities high in a snowy mountain lodge...
Veliko Tarnovo & Shipka
OSI-Dupnitsa | 22 July 2003
Excursion to historic and scenic Veliko Tarnovo and Shipka...

Personnel

Program Site Sponsor

Alok Pandya (USA)
Alok is a successful young entrepeneur who early in his career felt a desire to use his business success to impact the lives of disadvantaged children.  "It's the lives you impact and make better that really matters in this world." -Alok  OSI and our children are fortunate that Alok has chosen to make this difference with us.

Program Manager

Adriana Gotsova / Cedar Foundation (Bulgaria)
Adriana ("Adi") is one of the few administrative staff for Cedar Foundation, and overseeing OSI's sponsorships is one of her tasks, which she performs with a heart that puts the children first and foremost.  It's a demanding task which Adi somehow fits in with her many other responsibilities at Cedar.

Program Liaison

Nick M. Hindman
OSI president/founder Nick M. Hindman also serves as voluntary communicative liaison for our Bulgaria program.

Geography

Time & Weather in Bulgaria

Other OSI Program Sites

OSI-India
2009 -
  On-Going
OSI-Sri Lanka
2006 -
  On-Going
OSI-Russia
1999 - 2013