TBACT are delighted to announce their partnership with volunteer organisation CAST (Child and Adolescent Support Team).

CAST will be managing a rolling volunteer program in the Bulgarian social care homes supported by TBACT.

During 2008, TBACT hoped to organise a number of volunteering programmes in social care homes for children in Bulgaria. Due to factors, mainly out of our control, most of these programmes were cancelled or short-lived.  Only in one home, Kustendil, are volunteers, placed by TBACT in the summer, still working.  It’s a disappointing outcome to this particular part of TBACT’s work.’

The lack of staff us a familiar complaint by some of the Directors of Bulgaria’s 144 social care homes and it is the reason that many give for the lack of stimulation the children receive. 

With one carer to over 20 children, it is a sad fact, that even if the staff were inclined to give attention and care, there is precious little opportunity to do so.  As a result, the children suffer – repeated rocking, language delay and even self harming are clear indications of the lack of attention and stimulation they endure  – and this behaviour has been seen in every home that the TBACT team have visited this year.’

Volunteers

Therefore the need for dedicated, motivational volunteers to bring attention, affection and activity into the children’s lives is critical.  Consequently, securing volunteer placements in social care homes in Bulgaria next year will remain a key objective for TBACT. 

We are only too aware of the difficulties that can be encountered in organising this and so we have joined forces with a respected volunteer organisation; CAST, to help us implement our 2010 programme.  CAST are the international division of the Life Improvement for Everyone organisation and  have a wide range of experience in managing volunteers  across Europe including Romania and Belarus.  They bring a wealth of knowledge and understanding with them.  We are delighted they have agreed to spread their skills to Bulgaria. Their approach is very flexible, with placements lasting as little as 2 weeks right up to 3 months.

Our 2010 volunteer programme will focus on helping babies and children up to 7 years of age.  We are starting with one home to begin with and volunteers who are interested in taking part should contact CAST for application details. Their website is www.cast-uk.com

We would like to thank all of you who have already volunteered or wanted to volunteer but were unable, for your patience and continued support. We hope you will welcome this partnership and the opportunity it brings for us to all work together to make a real difference to the lives of Bulgaria’s abandoned children.