Bulgaria

How Covid-19 is affecting our work in Bulgaria

The state of emergency was extended until the end of June, but many of the restrictions have been lifted, and there are now no limitations to movement.  Cultural and entertainment events are now allowed, but under certain conditions, including social distancing.  The same applies to community centres, children's complexes, cultural centres, youth centres and school halls.  As of July, all extracurricular activities organised by legal entities, such as after school and Elder Clubs are now allowed under certain conditions, including social distancing.  So far, all universities and schools remain closed.

Family to Family and afterschool activities, Soup Kitchens, Street Mercy, Elder Care, and Senior Care projects and programs are carried out according to the updated legal requirements.  F2F activities follow their regular schedule and our Coordinators deliver families’ parcels to their homes.  All our Soup Kitchens function and continue to show care, at the same time providing our beneficiaries with warm meals prepared by outside catering companies.  As indoor gatherings are permitted officially, all coordinators started their regular Bible gatherings in their church premises, observing the limits on occupancy. The Elder Care coordinator is in constant communication by phone or internet with those responsible for all clubs for the disabled. After the easing of most of the anti-pandemic measures, these clubs restarted their activities with gatherings observing the limits of occupancy. Through the resumed Bible gatherings MWB continues to share the Gospel along with encouragement, comfort and any other help needed. Regardless of the easing of the anti-pandemic measures, our F2F coordinators still do not enter our beneficiaries’ homes.  We deliver to the door step monthly food and hygiene parcels for the families, and distribute packed food in like manner to our soup kitchens. The Street Mercy project is still in operation, but with the necessary distancing between the beneficiaries.  All of our projects have suitable premises for indoor Christian Input gatherings. 

Through our Street Mercy project, we continue to support the homeless in Sofia with a meal every day, of course, adhering to strict safety regulations.  Senior Care coordinators and volunteers with masks provide food and hygiene parcels and explain very carefully to the people the vital importance of staying at home as they are the most susceptible to any virus attack. It is very encouraging for the lonely beneficiaries to be assured that they are not forgotten.

Although anti-epidemic measures are easing, the situation in the summer will be uncertain. In this regard, our team decided not to hold the Summer Camps in the usual format, but to rather replace them with one-day camps.  In this way we will be able to reach many more children, i.e. all the children from our many different projects.  We are also planning to train volunteers who will supervise the one-day camps.  The Day-camps will be held in suitable premises e.g. partnering churches, community centres and public halls. There will be offered praise songs, Bible lessons, crafts, movies, etc. Games will take place outdoors.  Lunch, snacks, and refreshments will be provided during the camps.

Greetings from Sarkis

Sarkis Ovanesyan, MWB Bulgaria manager since 2008, said, "The motto of the recently begun first-ever Bulgarian Presidency of the EU is ‘United We Stand Strong’. Unfortunately, our nation is divided. Most people suffer from lawlessness, corruption, criminality. Every fifth Bulgarian lives in poverty, every third lives with material deprivation. 

"As a result of the despair in the nation, more and more Bulgarians (young students and workers) are leaving the country in search of a better life. Thus, the population in Bulgaria continues to decrease with one of the fastest rates in Europe. The number of people employed in Bulgaria is less than the number of those that work abroad.

"Only God who is seated over the sun on the throne has the power to change the situation and He says, 'I am making everything new!' These words are trustworthy and true. Indeed, our hope is directed to Him who is the only one who could change the lives of everyone and who can seat us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.

"Knowing this, Mission Without Borders in Bulgaria, through different projects, works to help and improve people’s lives, showing God’s love and giving them a hope. We praise God for His abundant blessings and mercies and we thank our supporters."

The poorest of the EU nations

When Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007, thousands of revellers celebrated on Sofia’s streets and there were high hopes for the nation’s future.

Sadly, over a decade later, Bulgaria remains the poorest of the EU nations, with 35% of the population living in poverty. Corruption, a weak judiciary and organised crime continue to hold the country back and hamper its economic prospects. The Centre for the Study of Democracy found that corruption in Bulgaria is at least three times higher than the EU average, with 150,000 bribes paid every month, across all sections of society.

The risk of poverty is much higher in rural areas and among the unemployed, but in-work poverty is also high. The average annual wage in Bulgaria was 1,949 euros in 2013 – the lowest in the EU. Life is often toughest among the Roma population, 40% of whom live below the poverty line. They face severe social and economic disadvantages, as well as widespread discrimination, with even the deputy prime minister convicted of hate speech in 2017. 

We work with families in southern Bulgaria, in Gotse Delchev and Krupnik and nearby villages, including many Roma, supporting them towards self-sufficiency. We provide educational and emotional support to vulnerable children in the hope of breaking the cycle of poverty.

In Sofia, there are many homeless people who have fallen through the cracks. Here we demonstrate the love of Christ through hot meals, shoes, clothes, medical care and sharing the gospel.

Sponsor a family in Bulgaria

130 families are supported in Bulgaria through our sponsorship programme

420 people living on the streets in Sofia regularly receive a hot meal thanks to our Street Mercy project

1,470 children were given a new backpack and school supplies to help support them with their studies

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