We’ve just returned from the Region Haskovo, Ljubimec, Bulgaria. This rural are is representative of rural areas in Bulgaria and even of rural areas in Eastern Europe in general.
Since 1990 there is a massive migration from the land due to a high unemployment rate. There is a lack of infrastructure (electricity, sewarage, electricity, etc.),
the buildings are out of repair, and the older people suffer from poverty (the average income for elder persons is about 50 Euro) and bad living conditions (no heating, no sanitary, no warm water supply).
We brought about 300 kg donations to the needy (clothing) and also we bought some basic food like rice, flour, sugar, oil etc. We donated some coffee and chocolate bars, too, which we paid with our own money, because it may be assumed as “luxury”.
We brought some warm clothing to needy children, too. First, we went to a primary school, and after that we visited a kindergarten. The children were so happy to receive our donations, and especially their eyes lit up when they received some toys and sweets. Most of the children are from Roma families, who a very poor and that’s why some of them hadn’t seen a bar of chocolate before. Education forms the basis for a brighter future, so we were very pleased to see these kids at school.
The buildings are in a very bad condition and urgently need to be renovated (damaged roofs, mouldy walls, very old windows, no heating, etc.), and also the teachers told us that they need some equipment (like computers, maps for teaching geography, etc.).
But we were very pleased to see that the children are treated with lots of love and that’s why they are still very happy and smiling all the time.
Benefit & Joy has a lot of work to do now: we will be back next year and bring more donations. Also we would like to help renovating both the school and the kindergarten, and we also will try to build a common room for elder people, where they can meet and receive a hot soup and a cup of tea. – We will give more detailed information on this later on.
In the following you can see some pictures taken during our trip, beginning with some impressions of the rural areas, followed by pictures taken in the primary school and in the kindergarten. It is obvious that he buildings need to be renovated. In our opinion the situation is untainable and it causes harmful effects on the children’s health.
Please notice: It is well known that pictures showing needy people can help to raise money. But in some cases it is simply not appropriate. When we provided the elder people with clothing and food, it was just a very intimate and also bitter situation, a lot of tears fell down. It’s almost impossible to put it in words. So we decided not to take any pictures. These old people, clothed in rags, being thankful for a little bit of food, should at least retain their dignity.