Dear Gordon, how are you and how is your family? What things concern you the most at present?
We are well, despite the challenges we had to face last year. But we were able to continue our work with hardly any interruptions. A major concern we have is that the Corona measures have had a bad effect on the poor and the average Bulgarian, and also on small and middle size business. Restaurants and hotels, as the whole of the tourist industry has suffered greatly and is suffering still.
How are you as a family and how is Bulgaria as a whole coping with the measures of the pandemic?
We managed to cope well and weren’t as badly affected by the measures as others. There were large and continuing protests against the measures and against the lack of federal aid. It’s a rather complex topic. Yet as elsewhere, some businesses were able to adjust and adapt and find other ways to continue business. Presently things are slightly better.
How does Heart for Bulgaria work?
In comparison with Zambia, where FCTrelief has a base and is working with children on a daily basis, Heart for Bulgaria is helping individual people and families in everyday life matters. We invest in them in order to help them gain a better future and to improve the quality of daily life.
Although Bulgaria has joined the EU in 2007 and much money has been donated for projects, and Bulgaria has paid a lot of money in membership fees, there was a big exodus on young, competent people. Most doctors are over the age of 50, pensions are low and corruption is destroying a lot and is hindering growth and prosperity. Bulgaria remains the poorest nation of the EU.
How is your work advancing? Which project is Heart for Bulgaria pursuing actively?
We are pleased with the work, within the framework of our possibilities and are looking forward to what is ahead. We are doing and moving a number of things (you may have a closer look at www.heartforbulgaria.org in German and English).
The main project had to be suspended due to the Corona restrictions. ‘Our Grannys’ are at present not allowed to work with the disabled children, yet they are on stand-by in case the situation changes.
A great joy in recent weeks was the successful Christmas project! It made a great impact and we are continuing to help people – winter is not fully over yet. Please read more on our website www.heartforbulgaria.org.
Are there set-backs? Why?
The Corona measures made the Granny Project all but impossible, yet we were seeking out ways to continue our work. We focused mainly on helping individual people and families in these difficult times with economic challenges.
Which new projects are planned for the future?
A support project that we wish to expand concerns a young girl. She has a very rare autoimmune disease. Some years ago, we supported her treatment in Germany; at that time, she was one of six children worldwide with that disease. Last year we re-established contact with the family and helped them not only through the Christmas Project, but also by sponsoring their daily needs with around 200 CHF per month. We are looking for sponsors, in case you have this on your heart.
We would also like to support two young athletes. Sport is important here and can help create a better future. The boys are the best in rowing and we are looking for sponsors in the amount of 110 CHF per month (or more), so that they can buy the appropriate food supplements. If we could gather more money, we could also help them with necessary equipment to advance their career and this way invest in their future. If anyone has contacts in the rowing sport and might want to contact potential sponsors, the family would greatly appreciate that.
What are your wishes for Heart for Bulgaria for 2021?
I wish that we can continue to help the right people. The needs are huge and we have to limit our work and seek to make the right decisions on whom to help and how. I hope that our work will continue and that we can continue to ‘provide opportunities and inspire hope,’ as our motto states – in order to create a better future!
What would you like to add?
Last but not least – as the highest priority – we wish to thank our sponsors! The help that we offer, modest as it might be, is making a big difference in the lives of precious people. Thank you very much!