Day Center

OSI-Bulgaria

October 2006 (on-going)

The youth we work with in impoverished Roma neighborhoods often do not receive even the most basic life skills instruction, -from cooking to appropriate social skills.  They also lack educational support, and in many cases their homes are so dire that they have not proper facilities to maintain adequate health, hygiene, and nutrition.  Furthermore, most all of these children lack the means and guidance to make constructive use of their free time; they also have no safe place to gather.
To address these needs, we developed the idea of establishing a "Day Center" in Dupnitza to provide a variety of extracurricular activities such as cooking classes, hygiene and health instruction, school tutoring, counseling, skills training such as computer literacy courses, and even just fun group activities.
Our Day Center was opened in October 2006 after then OSI-Bulgaria Liaison Jennifer Hee obtained a grant from US Peace Corps' "Small Project Assistance" (SPA) Program.  Mandatory matching funds were provided by OSI donor Connie Carlberg.  Our Bulgarian partner "Future for the Roma" association provided space for the center, utilizing rooms annexed to their office in the center of Dupnitza.  Creating the center required complete construction of a bathroom and kitchen, as well as the remodeling of a large common "study" room and a small computer room.  In October of 2007, current OSI-Bulgaria liaison Lindsay Saltsgiver obtained a grant from Rotary Club of Mandarin, Florida, to fund the continuation of the Day Center, including staff/instructor/psychologist salaries, and the visiting children's food provisions, medical care, clothing, and other needs.

Kitchen

A complete kitchen facility was constructed, plumbed, and furnished with all necessary appliances, sink and water heater, kitchen furniture, cabinets, and all cookware and supplies.  The kitchen is utilized for regular formal cooking classes, though also serves well as a means to feed kids who show up to the Day Center with an empty stomach!

New appliances

New sink & cabinet

Cooking students

Other Facilities

Our institutionalized children often do not learn basic hygiene and healthcare, and our Roma children often come from dire homes with no hot water, and in some cases with no running water at all.  The bathing and laundry facilities at the Center provide for these needs, and formal instructional sessions are provided as well for the kids.  Lessons are given in the large "common room" which is furnished with tables and chairs for group activities, as well as a brand-new TV.

Hall from entry

New boiler, bathing/toilet facilities

Instruction in the common room

Computer Room

A separate small room serves as the computer room with two brand-new Windows-based computers with all of the most popular and useful software programs and a high-speed Internet connection.  Formal computer classes are provided as a vocational training for our older kids, and the computers also serve as an educational and information resource.

Computer room

One of two new computer systems

Emilia and Kids

Acknowledgements

Donors:
$3526 - USAID, via US Peace Corps SPA grant
$3200 - OSI Donor Connie Carlberg
$5000 - Rotary Club of Mandarin, Florida, USA
Thanks to the above donors for making our Day Center dream come true!
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Orphan Sponsorship International is a US-registered 501(c)(3) charity