A wonderful woman has passed away today – Yvonne, the wife of Dimi Panitza. She and Dimi were the founders of Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation and the Centres Faith, Hope and Love and “16+ Youth Day Care Centre. We are very grateful for all the love, the priceless help and support. She was a true inspiration for us.
Rest in peace, dear Yvonne!
We will not forget you!
The Alliance for Children and Youth has conducted a study in Sofia city as a part of the project Evaluation of the impact of NGO-activities in the social area.
The project is initiated and implemented by Alliance “Chance and protection” in Haskovo town, and the Alliance for Children and Youth is participating along with two other pilot organizations: Alliance “Gavroche” in Varna town and Alliance “Centre Maria” in Gorna Oryahovitsa town. Among the goals of the study were: to evaluate how the social work with people at risk is helping, how practically to apply the principles and procedures for understanding community’s opinion about the impact of social work, to strengthen the organizational stability by focusing on the strengths and weaknesses of the work in communities at risk. We believe that such an evaluation will help us to prioritize and optimize our work in the future.
20 years since starting the work of Crisis Centre Faith, Hope and Love.
The teams of the Crisis Centre and Centre for street Children “Faith, Hope and Love” organized a party to celebrate 20 years since the founding of the Centre “Faith, Hope and Love” by Dimi and Ivonne Panica in 1995. The Centre was created as a measure of dealing with the phenomenon children and youth on the street, which has been present since the end of the 1980s as one of the outcomes of the political and economical situation in the region.
For the occasion of the International Day of Elder People the Alliance for Children and Youth supported the campaign “Society for all ages” through the initiatives in its Centres: Crisis Centre and Centre for Street Children “Faith, Hope and Love”, Centre for social rehabilitation and integration 16+. The team of the Alliance also visited the Roma community in Filipovtsi quarter in Sofia.
We conducted group sessions with the children during which we read the Bulgarian folk tale “The Wisdom of old people” and they made origami cards with messages for their grandparents.
During the initiative we also conducted a brief survey with children, youths and people from the community in Filipovtsi quarter in which we sought to understand their attitudes towards their elders, with questions like: “At what age do you become “old”?”, “What can you learn from your elders?” We also had a public reading on the main square.
We concluded that most people feel that wisdom, traditionally associated with old age, is something that elder people can and should pass onto younger generations.
On the International Day of the Child the kids from the Centre Street Children “Faith, Hope and Love” and the Crisis Centre visited the Central Railway Station in Sofia, where a special train was composed for the Children’s festival. The train took the little enthusiasts to the chocolate factory in Svoge town.
There the children witnessed the process of manufacturing their favorite temptation. At the end of the day the participants were filled with positive emotions and last, but not least – they received plenty of their favorite delicacies. The event was realized with support from Direction “Social activities” of Sofia Municipality, Bulgarian State Railway, Mondelez Bulgaria Holding LTD and Alliance “Alphabeters”.
The initiative The Father’s Week which is a part of the National campaign “Be a Father” is officially starting this week. The aim of the campaign is to focus society’s attention on the benefits from the active participation of fathers in their young children’s life for creating a safe family environment and possibilities for balanced and adequate development of children. The team of Alliance for Children and Youth is participating in the initiative through the preparation and realization of the short movie Daddies +. The director of the film is Alexander Mollov.
The Alliance for Children and Youth is launching a new project named CHILDREN AND PARENTS TOGETHER. The project is supported by Tulip Foundation and OAK Foundation under the Faith in Children and Family Programme
To limit the placement in institutions of children from the districts of Lyulin, Serdika and Vrabnitsa in Sofia City.
To make parents take better care of children at risk in order to reduce the danger of placement in institutions.
To actively involve men and representatives of the communities in the three districts in childcare.
The Alliance for Children and Youth launched a new one-year project named EDUCATION FOR KNOWLEDGE AND POSITIVE CHANGE, funded by the Trust for Social Achievement.
Under the project:
• access will be provided to informal education and training for children, young people and parents;
• the target groups will be actively involved in the process of evaluation of project implementation and decision making, with the purpose to improve the activities;
• an enabling environment will be provided for networking with governmental and non-governmental organisations towards raising public sensitivity and responding adequately to the needs and problems of the project target groups.
Our team is convinced that achieving social integration is possible with the help of knowledge, education and training, and will therefore work actively to create and develop different educational opportunities for the children and young people at risk, and also for representatives of their families.
For those who are interested in learning more about…
Social street work methodology new educational tool OER Open Educational Resource.
OER is an innovative approach that can be used for teaching, learning or research, launched by Creative Commons. For who are willing to share, produce, create knowledge around issues linked with Social Street Work.
The team of Alliance for Children and Youth wish you merry holidays, filled with warmth and love!
For another year The Alliance for Children and Youth participated in the national campaign “Be a father” – we wanted to focus society’s attention on the important role of the father in his children’s life.
The aim of the campaign is to affirm the positive model for child rearing in the family, as well as in the schools and the society as a whole.
We visited the Roma communities with which we work closely, for an “Interview with chocolate”. We asked the children for their latest positive experience with their fathers, as well as the fathers for the positive experience and hardships that they share with their children in the process of rearing and education.
We took a family photo of everyone who wished and gifted them lately put in a frame.
Between 28th and 31st July there was a Summer camp in “The Cossack” complex near the Iskar reservoir. The children of The Crisis Centre “Faith, hope and love” participated in lots of games, barbeque, campfire and other fun activities. The “Iskar reservoir” beach was the most preferred place for play and rest.
On the International Father’s day – 21st of June – Alliance for Children and Youth has organized Sports Festival on the playground in Zaharna fabrika (literally – Sugar factory) quarter in Sofia. The final result of the game was 10 to 6 in favor of the red team. In the discipline “Pull the rope” the red team won again. Small children were also active participants – they jumped, painted and wrote letters to their fathers, grandfathers, uncles, cousins and friends. The local community and the Police also supported us. May all Bulgarian children be healthy and happy.
Alliance for Children and Youth has participated in bTV’s campaign Let’s clean Bulgaria in a day. Popular faces from the television screen, media volunteers, the team of the Crisis Centre “Faith, hope, love” and the children, currently staying at the Centre, cleaned the yard, painted benches and took care of the trees and flowers. The whole afternoon was cheerful and full of jokes and laughter. We are thankful.
The Alliance for Children and Youth has successfully realized the project “Education for knowledge and positive change”, thanks to the support of the Trust for Social Alternative, partners, donors, volunteers and interning students.
Fourteen children from communities at risk, aged 4 and 5, were included in an informal educational program, organized by the Alliance for Children and Youth, which lasted 9 months.
Due to the fact that the children are exposed almost solely to Roma language in their families and community, the greatest difficulty for them and challenge for the team was the communication and the mastery of basic words and expressions in Bulgarian language. At the end of the period there was a visible change and progress in the way children communicate – between themselves and with adults - and in their fine motor skills.
The children are admitted to preparatory group in school which they are currently regularly attending during the school days. The team of the Alliance for Children and Youth is going to track their school attendance and continue to support them and their families in the effort to avoid the risk of dropping out.
Excellent school children
The children we work with, who already go to school, got a prize for the efforts they make and for their desire to attend school classes every day! The children had fun with Winnie-the-Pooh, Fairy and Clown, but they also counted, made calculations and created words!
The event was held by KinetoFun party agency by way of charity and for free!
We look forward to our new exhibition Childhood with no address in June 2016.
The Alliance for Children and Youth has organized a Christmas holiday celebration for over 80 children and their parents.
We also invited the most energetic and cheerful Snow White we could dream about, accompanied by Santa-Claus. We organized wild games at the Centre for social rehabilitation and integration, during which we pulled rope, danced limbo and recited Christmas rhymes. We went through the whole spectrum of emotions – fear, sadness, joy – in emphatic games. The euphoria reached its peak, when we listened and danced to the biggest current hits.
We thank our friends from KINETOFUN wholeheartedly.
Open Letter from Тhe Alliance for Children and Youth to Bulgarian National Radio regarding their program “Horizon at noon” from 16.10.2015
The Crisis Centre “Faith, Hope and Love” does not write positive or negative statements that may influence juridical decisions.
It is unacceptable to spread defamations and unverified informational in a national program, in a state media, which has the trust of the Bulgarian audience to a great degree.
That is the case with The Crisis Centre. Due to specifics in the work the team cannot disclose information and data for the children, staying there. Nor do the specialists working there, have the right to make commentaries regarding the cases. That is the reason for the difficulty in effectively defending ourselves against offenses related to our professionalism. But must we assume that a lie told dozens of times can become truth? This is exactly what has been happening recently.
In their broadcast “Horizon at noon” on BNR, lead by Irina Nedeva, a defamation was stated that a social worker from The Crisis Centre “Faith, Hope and Love” (no name cited) asked for a bribe from Mr. Ibrahim Ahmed Elamin, in order a positive statement to be written for him, which in turn should influence the court room’s decision in Mr. Elamin’s favor. On the contrary, there is an official complain against Ibrahim Elamin for received threats, after which he was prohibited from visits to the Crisis Centre, where his son resides at the time.
We would like to emphasize that the Crisis Centre is not an institution and cannot therefore have any influence on the court room’s decisions. The institution which can decide whether should be placed with their families or in a safe a environment is the Department for Child Protection, under the Direction “Social Support”.
So we, would like to emphatically state, that a lack of knowledge is not a justification.
In the same broadcast there was a gross violation of the Law for Child protection: 11а. (2): “On the occasion that there had been undertaken measures for child protection, one should not openly discuss information about the child, without a written permission by the institution which undertook these measures in the first place.” There is also a violation of чл. 2.4.4. from the Ethical code of the Bulgarian media, namely: “We shаll not disclose the identity of children in a dire situation or children that have been a victim of violations of law.”
In a national media were broadcasted the personal information about a child, which is under a measure of protection. There is ongoing lawsuit against his parents for exercised violence against said child. His personal details can be found at the moment on the Internet website of the program.
Therefore we feel we should emphasize once more that this fact could have negative impact on the child’s future. Also, there were statements on the broadcast that were not double-verified with the social workers from The Crisis Centre. In this case the Ethical Code of Bulgarian media is violated once more regarding the need to offer the society exact and well verified information and in their commentaries they shall endeavor to offer varied opinions and perspectives. Except for the information, relayed from the parents, we didn’t hear a statement from the Department of Child Protection, nor from the institutions discussed in broadcast. In the manner in which the case was presented, the audience was not offered the chance to judge the reality of the situation.
We remain hopeful that this will be an isolated case and in the future the journalists interested in such problems will show different perspectives in search of the truth with the needed professionalism and exactness.
The Alliance for Children and Youth’s team shares the idea that the institutions are not the best place where a child should grow. We would like for all children to have their true family. But there are complicated cases and the society hasn’t yet found an adequate solution for such.
If every parent accepts and realizes the responsibility he bears for the life and the future of his children, there will be no need for the existence of such Centres and institutions.
There is no greater reward than being a parent and rearing your own child.
For a third year in a row, the Alliance for Children and Youth and the S.U.P.Е.R. Club, together with the Health and Future Association and THE MALL in Sofia, marked the World AIDS Day, 1 December, on the territory of the shopping mall.
The Alliance for Children and Youth, in partnership with the State Agency for Child Protection, held a conference on 22 March 2013 under the title The Road to Knowledge and Positive Change.
This conference gave the opportunity to experts, professionals in various fields and mediators to share their ideas and proposals for a more efficient and sustainable interaction aimed at providing opportunities for the appropriate development of children in risk, and particularly those from vulnerable groups. A publication of shared practices, which was developed by the Alliance for Children and Youth, was also presented at the conference
A year since the death of Dimitar Panitza
On 29.07.2012, a year was marked since the great Man and Patriot Dimi Panitza left this world!
Together with his wife Yvonne, in 1991 he founded the Free and Democratic Bulgaria Foundation and the social centers Faith, Hope and Love, and 16+ Youth Day Care Centre. Thanks to these centers, hundreds of children and young people got equal chance for a dignified life.
We will remember him by his extraordinary humanity, enormous energy for a change and sense of humor!
Thank you for everything, Dimi! We miss you so much!
Candle Light Memorial Day concert.
The concert was held by the Alliance for Children and Youth, S.U.P.E.R. Club and the HIV/AIDS Control and Prevention Programme of the Ministry of Health, funded by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, thanks to the partnership and kind assistance of Sofia Municipality and BG Radio.
The event will be joined by KRISKO, Go Weеk, Ivaylo Kolev, Medicus, Football and Chess Group, Sax-Trio Colors and many more performers all of whom feel compassion for those affected by HIV/AIDS.
Living with a virus, or with a disease, does not determine one’s very personality; it is not even recommended to name such people “HIV-positive” because this makes the stigma even more pronounced. Instead, the world is nowadays using the phrase “people living with HIV”.
Let us show more tolerance for them!
We are honoured to announce that Madam Margarita Popova, Vice-president of Republic Bulgaria has accepted to be Patron of the exhibition Childhood with no address.
The primary focus is on the fact, that the children who live and grow up in extremely hard conditions can also have their achievements and positive growth. Here we will see how with joy and enormous enthusiasm they participate in different educational programs because they feel calm, appreciated and significant.
The questions we pose: “Does the poverty has Childhood?” and “Have I a right to Childhood?”
The Alliance for Children and Youth has marked the International Day of Children, by organizing an exciting trip with steam-train for the children from the Faith, Hope and Love Centre for Street Children and the Crisis Centre.
The kids were charmed by the retro train that took them to Bankya town where the children enjoyed the fresh air, sun and the mineral bath water.
The trip was organized with the kind support of Direction “Social Activities” of Sofia Municipality, Bankya Municipality and Bulgarian State Railways.
Meanwhile, Centre for Social Rehabilitation and Integration gathered almost 70 children on the playground nearby. There was a football tournament for the “Orange devils” and the “Yellow fireflies”, as well baton plays drawings on the pavement and crafts for the smallest children.
There was a surprise for every child – a package with sweets and a symbolic present for the Children’s day.
The official opening of the exhibition “Childhood with no address”
Representatives of state, municipal and non-governmental organizations are being expected. The official statement of Madam Popova, Vice-president of Republic Bulgaria and Official patron of the event, will be announced in the hopes that more people will become engaged with the cause – happy children with better future ahead of them.
The legendary Bulgarian music group Atlas and the children from Drago Drums School are already supporters and will play at the event.
2013 © Alliance CHILDREN AND YOUTH