Our Baba Programme matches two young children living in institutional care with a mature woman who becomes a surrogate Granny to them.
The Programme is managed by a team of psychologists There are nearly 3,000 babies and young children living in institutional care in Bulgaria. Over 30% of the children are disabled. Many have been abandoned at birth. Once abandoned, their family rarely visit or reclaim them. For many children, their entire childhood will be spent in insitutional care. The institutions are bleak, unhomely places and staff at the institutions are often responsible for more than 20 children at a time.
Their duties include feeding, washing and dressing the children as well as carrying out other cleaning tasks so there is little time for individual attention or interaction. As a result children often spend their days lying in cribs or propped up on chairs with little communication or activities. As a result children spend long periods of the day in their cots within little stimulation or contact. This environment is very damaging to a child – they suffer emotional damage as well as physical and social delays in their development.
Help for children
We understand that a child’s need for care and stimulation is best met in a close, loving relationship. Our Baba Program helps to provide some individual attention to young children in institutional care. In the absence of a mother or family, a surrogate Granny, (or Baba as they are called in Bulgaria) is carefully selected and trained to serve as a primary carer for two chosen children. The Baba provides care and attention to the children individually, for four hours each day, five days a week and once a bond is established, the benefits to the children are soon evident.
Can I support?
Children who once lay in beds all day with dull expressions now jump with joy when they see their Baba arrive in the morning. They reach for toys to explore, and they babble and laugh. Even ‘hard to contact’ children who have been damaged by years of isolation, learn to trust and relax in the presence of a specially chosen Baba. You can support the Baba Programme by purchasing Baba gifts.